Log In
 
 
Join Now!
Forgot Your Password?
Join Us

K-12 Education Funding


The Common Interest Briefings:
K-12 Education Funding

Results

100 randomly assigned members of The Common Interest read the briefing materials that follow and then answered a questionnaire.

Because 82% and 69% of these members oppose JFAC’s and the Governor’s recommended level of funding for K-12 education as being too low, respectively, The Common Interest opposes these levels of funding.

Because 79% of these members support a one-month extension of the 1-cent sales tax, 73% support a three-month extension, and 73% support a four-month extension for purposes of increasing K-12 education funding, The Common Interest supports these extensions.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A FULL REPORT OF THE RESULTS

Executive Summary

Superintendent of Public Instruction Marilyn Howard recommends $1.05 billion in overall support for K-12 education (an 8.8% increase over the current year), Governor Kempthorne recommends $999 million (a 3.6% increase), and the Idaho legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) recommends $987 million (a 2.3% increase). JFAC’s recommendation will go to the House and to the Senate for floor votes.

Our briefing materials ask you to consider these recommended levels of overall support against several relevant benchmarks including the state’s estimate that enrollment in public schools will be 2.2% higher next year, Idaho’s rank of 45 th in the nation in per student funding, Idaho’s rank of 15 th in the nation in public school spending per thousand dollars of personal income, and achievement benchmarks showing that Idaho students perform about average on national standardized tests.

Our briefing materials also ask you to consider spending priorities within these overall budgets. Some of the largest differences are in recommended levels of funding for salaries, technology, and discretionary funds to school districts. Superintendent Howard recommends a 4.9% increase in state contributions for salaries over current funding, Governor Kempthorne recommends a 2.6% increase, and JFAC recommends a 2.0% increase (each percentage unadjusted for growth in enrollment). Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne both propose a 47.6% increase in funding for technology in schools over current funding, while JFAC recommends a 13.1% increase but allows schools to use these funds for remediation as well as technology. Superintendent Howard recommends a 29.6% increase in discretionary funds for school districts, JFAC recommends a 10.9% increase, and Governor Kempthorne recommends a 4.4% increase.

I. Introduction

As it does every year, the state government must decide how much financial support to provide for Kindergarten through 12 th Grade education next year. These briefing materials aim to provide you with information relevant to two questions:

  1. Is the overall amount that the state will spend on K-12 education too much, too little, or about right?
  2. Are the state’s spending priorities about right or should some aspects of the K-12 education budget be increased and others decreased?

A brief review of the budgeting process is in order. For K-12 education, Marilyn Howard, the popularly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and the head of the Department of Education, first makes a budget request. Governor Kempthorne then draws on that request, the requests of all other state agencies, information about the state’s economy, and revenue expectations to recommend a budget for each state agency that he submits to the legislature. The legislature’s Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) reviews the input from the state agencies, the Governor’s office, and its own staff as it considers the state budget. JFAC then establishes its recommended budget for each state agency. These JFAC recommended budgets go to the House and Senate for votes. If they do not pass the House and Senate, they go back to JFAC for modification. If the JFAC budgets are approved, they go to Governor Kempthorne who can approve or veto them. If he approves them, they become the budget for the next year for a given agency. If he vetoes a budget, it goes back to the legislature. The legislature can either modify a given agency budget to try to win the Governor’s approval or it can override the Governor’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

It will be helpful to recognize that you’re about to wade into the sometimes complicated discussions about education funding. We’ve made this as straightforward as we’re able, but the materials will certainly demand your full attention. It’s worth it: The state is profoundly affected by its education funding levels.

Before reading the briefing materials, you might find it helpful to review the questions you’ll be asked to answer. CLICK HERE TO GO TO QUESTIONNAIRE.

II. Overall Levels of Funding for K-12 Education

Marilyn Howard, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, recommends $1.05 billion in money for Kindergarten through 12 th grade education next year. Governor Kempthorne, recommends a smaller budget of $999 million because of revenue and budget constraints. The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) of the Idaho legislature, also noting revenue and budget constraints, recommends a budget of $987 million. JFAC’s recommendation will now go to the House and to the Senate for floor votes.

Is JFAC’s recommended K-12 budget too low, too high, or about right? Are Governor Kempthorne’s or Superintendent Howard’s recommended budgets more appropriate?

We will try to provide you with several benchmarks or comparisons for your consideration in answering these questions.

Comparisons to the Last Two Years

The first benchmark against which to measure next year’s proposed budgets are the K-12 budgets of the last two years. As summarized in Table 1, Superintendent Howard’s proposal increases funding 8.8% over the current year (2004-2005), Governor Kempthorne’s budget increases funding 3.6%, and JFAC’s budget increases funding 2.3%. The current year’s budget was a 2.3% increase over last year’s budget (2003-2004).

In comparing the recommended budgets to previous budgets it is important to note that enrollment in public schools is increasing. At the time that Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne established their recommendations, the state was estimating that enrollment next year would be 1.4% higher than this year. Since then, the state has revised its estimate, indicating that enrollment will be 2.2% higher next year than this year. This means that the state would need to increase K-12 funding by 2.2% to maintain the effective level of support provided last year, without factoring in inflation.

If one includes an adjustment for inflation (currently around 2% or 3%) as well as increased enrollment, then the state would need to increase funding for schools by around 5% to provide the same effective level of support as last year.

Table 1
Comparison of Proposed K-12 Budgets with K-12 Budgets for Last Two Years

Last Year

This Year

% increase of this year over last year

Proposed for Next Year

% increase of next year over this year

$943 million

$965 million

2.3%

Superintendent Howard:

$1.05 billion

8.8%
(not adjusted for increased enrollment)

Governor Kempthorne:

$999 million

3.6%
(not adjusted for increased enrollment)

JFAC:

$987 million

2.3%
(not adjusted for increased enrollment)

Source: FY 2006 Idaho Legislative Budget Book, p. 1 – 5. http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/Budget/publications/PDFs/LBB/FY2006/LBBFrame.htm

Comparisons to Other Areas of the State Budget

The second benchmark we provide is Governor Kempthorne’s budget recommendation for everything but K-12. (We do not provide a similar comparison of JFAC budgets because it has not yet set its recommended budgets for each agency.) Governor Kempthorne proposes a budget of $1.12 billion for everything but K-12. This is a 9.5% increase over last year, compared to the 3.6% increase that he proposes for K-12. Table 2 summarizes the proposed increases in various aspects of the overall budget compared to K-12.

As can be seen from that table, the increases for Health and Human Services and for Public Safety drive most of the increase in the rest of the budget. Both are large portions of the budget that are increasing significantly. With respect to the Health and Human Services budget, the increase is driven in large part by the rising costs of the state’s share of the federal Medicaid program, which pays for medical assistance for those with low income. With respect to the Public Safety budget, the increase is driven mostly by the increasing costs associated with housing the state’s rising prison population. Although reforms are being discussed that might address both of these critical pressure points in the budget, they provide little hope of relief in the short term.

Table 2
Comparison of Governor’s Proposed K-12 Budget with His Other Proposed Budgets

Budget Area

Last Year

This Year

% Increase of this year over last year

Proposed for

Next Year

% increase of next year over this year

K-12 Education

$943 million

$965 million

2.3%

$999 million

3.6%

Rest of State Budget Other than K-12

$1.05 billion

$1.12 billion

6.5%

$1.22 billion

9.5%

Education other than K-12

$347 million

$361 million

4.0%

$386 million

6.7%

Health & Human Services

$382 million

$429 million

12.3%

$483 million

12.6%

Public Safety

$181 million

$184 million

1.7%

$201 million

9.2%

Natural Resources

$37 million

$37 million

1.0%

$40 million

6.3%

Economic Development

$20 million

$21 million

6.1%

$24 million

14.4%

General Government

$81 million

$84 million

3.9%

$89 million

6.1%

Source: Source: FY 2006 Idaho Legislative Budget Book, p. 16. http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/Budget/publications/PDFs/LBB/FY2006/LBBFrame.htm

Comparisons to K-12 Support in Other States

As seen in Table 3, Idaho ranks 45 th among the 50 states in how much it spends on each student in public schools. However, Idaho also ranks 15 th in how much it spends on K-12 education as a proportion of the personal income of its residents (see Table 3). How can we be so generous in terms of how much each of us pays for K-12 education through taxes, and yet provide so little for each student? There are primarily two reasons. First, Idaho has lower levels of personal income than most states. Second, Idaho has a higher proportion of its population who are school age. In other words, relative to other states, Idahoans have fewer adults earning less but supporting more children. The effect of both factors can be seen by comparing the national average per capita income, which was $21,587 in 1999, with Idaho’s, which was $17,841, or 17% below the national average. See http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/16000.html

Table 3
Idaho Expenditure on K-12 Education Compared to National Averages

Idaho

National Average

Idaho’s Rank among the 50 States

K-12 Expenditure per Pupil

$5,923

$7,701

45th

K-12 Expenditure per $1,000 of Personal Income

$44.87

$25.91

15th

Source: U.S. Census Bureau (2004). 2002 Census of Governments: Volume 4, Government Finances. Data are from 2001-02. http://ftp2.census.gov/govs/school/02f33pub.pdf

Comparisons to Student Achievement in Other States

Student achievement can be measured in a variety of ways. One of the most definitive tests used to compare the academic achievement of students in different states is the National Assessment of Student Progress (NAEP). As seen in Table 4, Idaho tends to be at or slightly above average in its NAEP scores. Comparing Idaho’s per student expenditure (Table 3) with the achievement of our students (Table 4) indicates that we get a better bang for our educational buck than most states. While Idaho is well below the national average in terms of per student expenditure, it is about or slightly above average in achievement, as measured by NAEP.

Table 4
Idaho Student Achievement on the National Assessment of Student Progress (NAEP) Compared to National Averages

Idaho

National Average

Idaho’s Rank among the 50 States

% of 4th Graders Scoring At or Above Proficient in Reading

30%

30%

33rd

% of 4th Graders Scoring At or Above Proficient in Math

31%

31%

Tied for 28th

% of 8th Graders Scoring At or Above Proficient in Reading

32%

30%

Tied for 26th

% of 8th Graders Scoring At or Above Proficient in Math

28%

27%

Tied for 29th

Source: Education Week (January 6, 2005). See also: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/

Challenges to Funding K-12 at Higher Levels

Of course, decisions about how much to increase funding of K-12 education are necessarily made in the context of limited resources. If Idahoans wish to increase the funding for K-12 education over what the governor or JFAC have recommended, the additional dollars must presumably come from cuts to other areas of the budget, tax increases, or a combination of both. We’ll take a brief look at the budget cutting options and then the tax options.

It is challenging to find places to cut the budget right now in order to free up additional dollars for K-12 for three reasons:

  • Budget Pressures from Rising Health Care and Prison Costs: As discussed above, there appear to be few options in the short term for avoiding significant budget increases for healthcare programs, such as Medicare, and for rising prison populations. These budgets are such a large percentage of the overall budget—health and human services are 22% and public safety is10% of the total budget—that the large increases in these areas significantly constrain the budget cutting options.
  • Size of Public School’s Budget: The public school’s budget is such a large percentage (45%) of the overall state budget that it takes relatively large cuts elsewhere to provide a relatively small percentage increase in the public schools budget. Only 23% of the state budget is not in K-12 education, heath and human services, or public safety. A 5% decrease in these other areas would provide about a 2.5% increase in K-12 education funding.
  • Already Tight Budgets: The recent economic downturn and somewhat sluggish recovery mean that revenues still have not come up as significantly as desired. The pressure this has put on all areas of the budget for several years makes finding acceptable places to cut the budget more difficult than it otherwise would be.

Finding acceptable tax increases is also difficult. Increasing state income tax is not a likely option for the coming year, particularly with the legislative session already half over. The Idaho sales tax was increased from five cents on every dollar to six cents on every dollar two years ago as a temporary measure to deal with decreased tax revenue because of the economic downturn. The temporary 1-cent increase is set to expire at the end of June. It brings in more than $15 million in additional revenue per month. One source of revenue for additional K-12 funding would be to extend the 1-cent sales tax increase for some period of time.

As you think about what level of overall K-12 education funding you would prefer, it may be useful to consider whether you would prefer funding that does not necessitate budget cuts or higher taxes—funding at about the level that JFAC or the governor proposed. You might also consider whether you think higher levels of funding are appropriate and, if so, whether the additional funding should come from budget cuts in other areas, or tax increases, or some combination of both.

Please note that our review of the K-12 education budget focuses on the general fund portion of that budget, rather than on the dedicated funds and federal funds portion, because the general fund is the largest portion of the K-12 budget (71%) and the portion over which there is the greatest budgetary discretion. Links to supplementary materials are provided at the end, including links to information about dedicated and federal funds for the K-12 budget.

CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE IDAHO LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOOK GUIDE OF K-12 EDUCATION FUNDING AND GO TO PAGE 5

III. K-12 Funding Priorities

We now turn to the second question. Whatever overall amount you may consider appropriate for K-12 education funding, that amount must be divided among competing education priorities. As you review the superintendent’s, the governor’s, and JFAC’s budgets, you might ask yourself whether you think the spending priorities within each of these budgets are about right or whether you feel that some aspects of these K-12 education budgets should be increased and others decreased.

The differences in the superintendent’s, the governor’s, and JFAC’s recommended budgets, to a large extent, speak for themselves and demonstrate their differences in spending priorities. However, we offer here a brief discussion of the recommendations and the priorities they reveal.

We compare these differences in Table 5 which follows the discussion below.

Superintendent Howard

The budget recommendations proposed by Superintendent Howard and the State Department of Education are supported by the Public School Coalition. This coalition includes the Idaho Parent Teachers Association, the Idaho School Boards Association, the Idaho Association of School Administrators, and the Idaho Education Association (the teachers’ union). Superintendent Howard testified on behalf of her budget before JFAC in January. At that time, she outlined her top five spending priorities for the coming year:

  • Teacher, Administrator, and Support Staff Salaries: Superintendent Howard’s proposed budget includes a 3% increase in the contribution that the state makes to salaries for teachers, administrators, and classified staff. In her testimony before JFAC in January, she indicated that if revenue and budget constraints made a 3% increase infeasible, then at least a 1% increase would be one of her top three priorities. With the new estimates of next year’s enrollment will be 2.2% higher, rather than the 1.4% estimate that Superintendent Howard used when she set her budget, those increases would actually be less than 3% or 1%, respectively.
  • Discretionary Funds for School Districts: Superintendent Howard indicated that discretionary funds for school districts are another of her top three priorities. She proposes $27.1 million, a 29.6% increase in these funds over last year.
  • Technology: Superintendent Howard indicated that one-time funds for the school technology program are also one of her top three priorities. She recommends $12.4 million, a 47.6% increase.
  • Idaho Digital Learning Academy: Howard’s fourth priority is to add $450,000 to the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA) for a total of $900,000, a 100% increase. Howard considers an investment in the IDLA to be “about the most efficient and cost-effective way we can reach out with a rich curriculum to students who otherwise would have only basic coursework.” Howard’s increase in funding would include support for the development of on-line advanced placement (AP) courses.
  • Remediation: The 2001 federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that schools and districts make “adequate yearly progress” (AYP) in student achievement. Federal funding allows Title I schools to address failures in AYP. Title I is a program that provides federal dollars for schools with a high percentage of low income students. Although state policy holds non-Title I schools to the same standards, the state has not provided funds similar to those provided by federal Title I money. Superintendent Howard’s budget proposes $5.1 million in state funds to aid non-Title I schools in providing remediation for students not making sufficient academic progress. The state has not budgeted such funds this year. In her January testimony, Howard indicated this was her fifth highest spending priority.

Governor Kempthorne

Governor Kempthorne’s staff has communicated to The Common Interest that the Governor’s highest priority is to cover the statutory obligations that arise as student enrollments increase.

Beyond that, Governor Kempthorne’s priorities are:

  • Teacher, Administrator, and Support Staff Salaries: Like Superintendent Howard, Governor Kempthorne indicates that increasing the state’s contribution to salaries for teachers, administrators, and classified staff is one of his three highest priorities. His proposed budget includes a 1% increase in the contribution that the state makes (with the new estimates of next year’s enrollment will be 2.2% higher, not 1.4%, that increase would actually be much less than 1%).
  • Technology: Like Superintendent Howard, Governor Kempthorne indicates that one-time funds for the school technology program are one of his top three priorities. He recommends the same $12.4 million as Superintendent Howard, a 47.6% increase over last year.
  • Teacher Training: As one of his top three priorities, Governor Kempthorne also recommends $1 million for teacher training and assistance for special education students in mainstream classrooms. Superintendent Howard also recommends this level of funding. This new program received no funding last year.
  • Idaho Digital Learning Academy: Like Superintendent Howard, Governor Kempthorne indicates that his fourth priority is the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA). In communication with The Common Interest, Kempthorne’s staff applauded the IDLA’s success in providing classes for high school students who must make up credits or who have scheduling conflicts with courses required for graduation as well as its potential for offering advanced placement courses and summer school opportunities to students who would not otherwise have access to them. Governor Kempthorne’s budget proposes $450,000 for IDLA, the same amount as last year and half of the $900,000 that Superintendent Howard recommends.

Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC)

In setting its recommended K-12 budget on Monday, March 7, JFAC did not identify relative spending priorities. Table 5 catalogues the items on which JFAC’s recommendations differ from Superintendent Howard’s and/or Governor Kempthorne’s.

A few points are worth particular explanation or comment:

  • Teacher, Administrator, and Support Staff Salaries: Although Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne both indicate that increasing the state’s contribution to salaries for teachers, administrators, and classified staff is one of their three highest priorities, JFAC chose not to recommend any increase at this time. Their budget recommends $698 million, which is a 2.0% increase in funds in this category over this year. However, with the revised state estimates suggesting that enrollment will increase by 2.2% this year, the amount JFAC proposes would effectively be a decrease in the amount the state contributed to the salary for each teacher, administrator and classified staff member. JFAC has indicated that they may come back to this issue, if, after setting other agency budgets, they believe a recommendation for additional salary support is feasible and advisable.
  • Technology & Remediation: JFAC combines the technology budget with the budget for remediation. JFAC recommends $9.5 million for both, a 13.1% increase over this year’s funding for technology alone. JFAC has indicated that while some schools need substantial money for technology, others may not. JFAC’s budget allows schools to use these funds for technology or remediation. JFAC’s $9.5 million budget for both technology and remediation is $2.9 million less than the amount that both Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne recommend for technology alone. This funding level is one of the top three budget priorities for both the superintendent and the governor. Combined with her proposed $5.1 million for remediation, Superintendent Howard recommends $17.5 million for technology and remediation, $8 million, or 84%, more that what JFAC budgets for the two.
  • Discretionary Funds for School Districts: JFAC splits the difference between Superintendent Howard’s and Governor Kempthorne’s recommendations on how much discretionary money to provide to school districts. JFAC recommends $23.1 million, a 10.9% increase. Superintendent Howard recommends $27.1 million, a 29.6% increase in an area that is one of her three highest priorities. Governor Kempthorne recommends $21.8 million, a 4.4% increase in an area he does not mention as one of his top priorities.
  • Teacher Training: JFAC recommends no funding for teacher training and assistance for special education students in mainstream classrooms. Governor Kempthorne and Superintendent Howard both recommend $1 million. No funding was provided for this in the current year. $1 million was provided last year. Governor Kempthorne indicates that it is one of his top three priorities.
  • Idaho Digital Learning Academy: JFAC recommends the same amount for IDLA as Superintendent Howard—$900,000, a 100% increase over this year. Governor Kempthorne recommends $450,000, the same amount as this year. IDLA is the fourth highest priority for both Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne.

In the Table 5 we compare only those items that differ in the budgets proposed by Superintendent Howard, Governor Kempthorne, and JFAC. Definitions of terms used in the Table 5 follow.

Table 5
Comparison of Different Funding Priorities in the Proposed K-12 Budgets

Superintendent Howard

Governor Kempthorne

Joint Finance Appropriations Committee

Teacher, Administrator, and Staff Salaries

$718,207,700

(a 4.9% increase over last year)

$702,390,400

(a 2.6% increase over last year)

$697,958,200

(a 2.0% increase over last year)

Technology

$12,400,000

(47.6% increase over last year)

$12,400,000

(47.6% increase over last year)

NA

Remediation

$5,100,000

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

NA

Technology & Remediation

NA

NA

$9,500,000

(a 13.1% increase over last year)

Idaho Digital Learning Academy

$900,000

(a 100% increase over last year)

$450,000

(a 0% increase over last year)

$900,000

(a100% increase over last year)

Discretionary Funds for School Districts

$27,061,500

(a 29.6% increase over last year)

$21,783,400

(a 4.4% increase over last year)

$23,149,400

(a 10.9% increase over last year)

Teacher Training for Working with Special Education Students

$1,000,000

(no funding in current year, 0% increase relative to previous year)

$1,000,000

(no funding in current year, 0% increase relative to previous year)

$0

(no funding in current year, 100% decrease relative to previous year)

Idaho Student Information Management System (ISIMS)

$7,659,000

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

Beginning Teacher Support Program

$2,000,000

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

State Paid Employee Benefits

$135,195,700

(an 8.4% increase over last year)

$127,961,200

(a 2.6% increase over last year)

$126,161,700

(a 1.2% increase over last year)

College Entrance Exam Fees

$800,000

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

$0

(no funding in current year)

School Facilities Funding (Lottery)

$13,450,000

(a 51% increase over last year)

$8,450,000

(a 5.3% decrease over last year)

$8,922,500

(a 0% increase over last year)

Bond Levy Equalization

$5,000,000

(a 150% increase over last year)

$5,000,000

(a 150% increase over last year)

$4,527,500

(a 126% increase over last year)

Floor

$1,300,000

(0% increase over last year)

$0

(a 100% decrease over last year)

$395,000

(a 69.6% decrease over last year)

Source: FY 2006 Idaho Legislative Budget Book, p. 1 – 5. http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/Budget/publications/PDFs/LBB/FY2006/LBBFrame.htm

The following definitions are taken largely from the “Public Schools Budget Request: Fiscal Year 2006” submitted by Superintendent Howard. CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THIS DOCUMENT. These definitions should not only make the meaning of individual budget items clearer, but also enable you to compare this table to the actual budget documents provided by the superintendent, governor, and JFAC.

Teacher, Administrator, and Staff Salaries: The term used in the budgets is Salary-based Apportionment. This means “the amount of money [each school] district will receive from the state to apply to its own salary schedule.” As Superintendent Howard clarifies, “the 1994 Legislature created an experience and education index for instructional, administrative, and classified positions (Idaho Code, Section 33-1004C). This is not a salary schedule. The salary schedule for each district and charter school is determined by its local governing board. Rather, the index is a way to calculate each school district’s salary-based apportionment.”

Technology: “Funding to purchase, install, and replace equipment, to train personnel, and to incorporate new applications into teaching, reporting, and accountability.”

Remediation: This is referred to as Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Mitigation in the budgets. In her discussion of remediation, Superintendent Howard explains that Idaho state policy imposes the same sanctions on failing non-Title I schools as on failing Title I schools (schools with a large percentage of low income students). Title I schools, however, receive federal funds to respond to the needs of struggling students: “No mechanism exists to fund the sanctions for non-Title I schools. This allocation will support school choice, supplemental services, and remediation for an estimated 17,000 low performing students in non-Title I schools subject to the sanctions in FY2006, based on existing AYP data, but at a lesser amount per student ($300).”

Techonology & Remediation: Although Superintendent Howard and Governor Kempthorne budget for technology and remediation separately, JFAC offers a combined budget for these items.

Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA): “The Idaho Digital Learning Academy…provides educational choice within the Idaho public schools by adding a statewide computerized on-line learning environment available to all Idaho secondary students, regardless of income, geographic location, status (for example, confined to a juvenile facility), or educational level. The IDLA offers a combination of remedial courses, enhanced electives, and courses for the gifted and talented, most designed and delivered by Idaho certificated teachers and aligned to state student achievement standards, and others brokered with other virtual learning environments from throughout the country that are matched to Idaho’s standards.”

Discretionary Funds for School Districts or State Discretionary Funds: “[This] determines how much unrestricted funding will be available to meet ongoing expenses including heat, lighting, textbooks, health benefits, insurance, special education, specialized staff, and any discretionary needs.”

Teacher Training or Least Restrictive Environment: “For many years, Idaho has supported an integrated focus on the needs of special education students who are placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in public schools. The funds have been used for teacher training, classroom aides, and intervention efforts for these students.”

Idaho Student Information Management System (ISIMS): “The 2004 Idaho Legislature established ISIMS, a centralized computer mediated data system where public school information is stored, accessed and analyzed (Idaho Code, Sections 33-1001.7, and 33-1002(2)(k)), to be made available to and used by all Idaho school districts (Idaho Code, Section 33-102A(2)). Funds requested will support the continuation of a phased in, Department administered, appropriately scaled, functional level of operation and implementation of the system.” ISIMS was previously funded by the Albertson’s Foundation.

Beginning Teacher Support Program: “[Idaho] law…requires districts to offer programs of support for new teachers—reviewed and approved by the State Department of Education—that incorporate administrative and supervisory support, mentoring, peer assistance, and staff development. Funding to implement this program was not appropriated for the previous two fiscal years, although the statutory requirement still exists.”

Although the superintendent’s, the governor’s, and JFAC’s budget for the following items differently, we do not discuss these items at length because they have not been identified as among the highest priorities.

State Paid Employee Benefits: “Directly determined by salary-based apportionment is the allocation of benefits (retirement and Social Security) to be paid by employers on behalf of employees (Idaho Code, Section 33-1004F). The state provides funding to districts to cover employer-paid Social Security and retirement costs associated with salary-based apportionment.”

College Entrance Exam Fees: “Under this proposal each school district will receive funds to pay for one examination used by post secondary schools (ACT, SAT and Compass) for each high school junior….Funds not used for this purpose would be used to help pay expenses for courses that would qualify for college or technical school credits for high need students in grades 11 and 12….Support also would be provided to train up to 50 teachers to teach Advanced Placement courses.”

School Facilities Funding (Lottery): “The Legislature has authorized lottery dividends and interests to be used to acquire, purchase, or improve public school sites, and to purchase school buses.”

Bond Levy Equalization: “This category was created by the 2002 Legislature (Idaho Code, Section 33-906A and 33-906B) to provide for all or a portion of the interest of school construction bonds based on factors associated with the ability of communities to support bonded indebtedness: district adjusted market value per support unit, county unemployment rate, and county per capita income.”

Floor: “In the past, Idaho law protected school districts from undue adverse impacts by providing a ‘floor’ of support (Idaho Code, Section [33-1003B] 33-1003A). This protection was amended in FY1996. The amended floor assures each district will receive no less than 90 percent of its previous year’s base support, excluding one-time funding.”

IV. Supplementary Information

The Idaho Legislative Budget Book provides extensive information about the budget and the budget process. Go here to read it: http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/Budget/publications/PDFs/LBB/FY2006/LBBFrame.htm

Since funding of salaries is one of the most important differences in the proposed budgets, you may want examine any of several sources of perspective on this issue:

Go here to visit the Idaho Digital Learning Academy: http://idla.k12.id.us/

Go here to read Superintendent Howard’s testimony before JFAC: http://www.sde.state.id.us/Dept/documents/2005JFACPresentationA.htm

CLICK HERE TO READ SUPERINTENDENT HOWARD’S PUBLIC SCHOOLS BUDGET REQUEST

Go here to see Governor Kempthorne’s budget documents and resources: http://gov.idaho.gov/CD2005/Index.htm

Go here to read the testimony of Rod Lewis, Chair of the State Board of Education before JFAC: http://www.idahoboardofed.org/meetings/minutes/2005/01-24-05/ROD_JFACpresent-Jan05.ppt

CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES OF THE IDAHO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

Go here to see the Idaho Education Association’s Legislative Guide: http://www.idahoea.org/legis.htm

CLICK HERE TO LEARN ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES OF THE IDAHO PARENT TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Go here to read more about the National Assessment of Student Progress (NAEP) and how Idaho does on it: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/

Go here to find additional information from the Idaho State Department of Education: http://www.sde.state.id.us/Dept/

Go here to find additional information from the State Board of Education: http://www.idahoboardofed.org/

Go here to find additional information from the Idaho Education Association: http://www.idahoea.org/

Go here to find additional information from Education Week: http://www.edweek.org/ew/index.html

Go here to find additional information for the U.S. Department of Education: http://www.ed.gov/index.jhtml

Go here to find more resources from the National Education Association: http://www.nea.org

Discuss this issue now on our online discussion forums



Your Solution.Net Web Development