National School Choice Week
1/22/18 - 1/27/18
It is the time of year when bills are being passed and the Idaho legislature has just begun. This also means another year for the nationally celebrated School Choice Week! We as a Coalition are inviting everyone to come celebrate down at the Idaho State Capitol this week from 10:00AM- 1:30PM. We will be handing out cookies and information about how you can get involved with the Coalition. We are always looking for parents that want to help with our cause!
Follow these links for more information:
The Coalition of Idaho Charter School Families testified in front of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, January 15th at the Idaho State Capitol. Coalition Manager (Murphy Olmstead) spoke on behalf of our president, Tom LeClaire. The agenda for the Senate Education Committee was to have different stakeholders in Idaho answer a few specific questions for the upcoming year. One of the questions asked from the committee to the stakeholders was to see what the Coalition was doing differently from last year that enhances student growth & achievement? Mr. Olmstead explained the Coalitions objective for equal funding for charter schools as well as for virtual schools. This has been a continued effort from the Coalition and will remain consistent until it has been accomplished. The next item Mr. Olmstead suggested that the Coalition will do differently was to advocate more for a student-centered learning system that meets state and federal accountability measures. He explained that this change would present a more well-rounded picture of school performance.
The second question asked by the committee was to name something that the Coalition is not doing, that will enhance student growth and achievement? Mr. Olmstead reiterated the ultimate goal of the Coalition as followed; "we as a coalition will continue our advocacy for school choice, innovation in the classroom and adequate funding for virtual students. Our ultimate goal is to help parents find the right education model that fits the student and makes them successful". There has been a dual-track of measurement in Idaho for what is considered a "high-performing" charter school. These different regulations have been a burden for many virtual charter schools as head of schools are getting their time taken away from real education.
The final update from the Coaltiion of Idaho Charter School Families was to discuss the goal of traveling more to rural communities in Idaho. Mr. Olmstead discussed how this would enhance school growth and achievement by hearing from the smaller communities of Idaho. There are issues that need to be heard and the Coalition wants to represent each charter family in Idaho of what is working well for their student and what needs to be improved.
YBARRA OFFERS A SNEAK PREVIEW OF HER EDUCATION BUDGET PRIORITIES
Clark Corbin 01/22/2018
State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra said demonstrating a return on investment will be the theme of her budget presentation later this week.
Ybarra is scheduled to present her K-12 public schools budget request at 8 a.m. Thursday in front of the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. Ybarra said she focused her first term in office on implementing the 2013 Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education recommendations, and she’s well aware the stakes are high.
“That’s the theme of the budget, return on investment, or the stockholders’ report,” Ybarra said Monday.
When she takes her turn in front of JFAC, Ybarra will ask lawmakers to increase K-12 funding by 6.8 percent. The major initiative driving her budget is a request to increase funding for educators’ salaries and benefits by $46 million through the career ladder salary law. Another big budget driver for Ybarra is a request to increase the state’s investment in classroom technology by $8.6 million next year.
“One of the main asks will be the career ladder ask,” Ybarra said. “Again that was the No. 1 priority of all the stakeholders when we met, that we show our support for that.”
Even though Ybarra makes her budget presentation Thursday, she has been preparing the 2018-19 school budget since last year. In July, Ybarra’s staff met with the leaders of several education groups, which unanimously called for continued investment in teacher salaries. During that meeting, education groups also asked Ybarra’s deputies to increase funding for discretionary spending, a funding source that is sometimes called operations funding. Ybarra heeded their call, requesting the state increase its discretionary funding investment by $19 million next year.
One of the biggest differences between Gov. Butch Otter’s budget proposals and Ybarra’s is discretionary spending — Otter has not recommended any increased funding in that area.
“Preparation (for developing the budget) is all year long,” Ybarra said. “You have meetings with stakeholders, of course we meet with the governor’s office, then you need to sit down and sketch that out. It’s not something I would sit and do in a vacuum.”
The public schools budget presentation is one of the most closely watched and scrutinized hearings of the session because of the amount of money in play. Public school funding is the state’s largest expense each year, and accounts for about 48 percent of all general fund spending.
“As a matter of fact, Wednesday night I’m sure I will be up all night long excited,” Ybarra said.