From the Coeur d’Alene Press From the Spokesman-Review

Saturday - Monday, March 16 - 18, 2013
From the Coeur d’Alene Press
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For the kids
From the Spokesman-Review
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Eye on Boise: Private school tax break plan heads to House vote
Idaho public schools take fresh hits in Legislature (Editorial)
From the Moscow Pullman Daily News
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Moscow Middle school announces high honors honor roll
Weippe girl headed to D.C. for big bee
The cost of repairing schools sure does add up (Editorial)
Learning through reading Idaho history
From the Lewiston Tribune
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In the schools
Weippe girl is headed to D.C. for the big bee
Budget cuts deal blow to Head Start
Religious school donations could get a break
House clears way for open teacher talks
From the Idaho-Press Tribune, Nampa
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Otter must back up his claims on education (Commentary)
A COMMUNITY UNITED: Idaho Environmental Education Association brings
science education to students across the state
Business praise College of W. Idaho's impact
House panel OKs break for religious ed donations
From the Idaho Statesman
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With new program, BSU hopes to give students a start in business
Panel introduces new teacher paid leave bill
From the Twin Falls Times-News
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Hansen School District to Discuss Next Steps After Levy Failure
Real-world jobs: Businesses Praise College of Western Idaho’s Impact
It’s Going Around: Cold Viruses Invade Schools, Businesses
From the Idaho State Journal
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Panel introduces new teacher paid leave bill
ISU Faculty Senate seeks role in drafting new faculty constitution
House panel Oks break for religious education donations
From the Idaho Falls Post Register
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Business praise College of W. Idaho’s impact
Some good education news to celebrate – (Commentary)
Crunch time
Panel backs tax credits for scholarship donations
From the Idaho Business Review
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No New Education Stories Posted Online Today
From the Idaho Education News
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House Ed introduces five new bills
ISBA Capitol Notes
Gov. Otter should share polling data
From the Coeur d’Alene Press
For the kids
By Bill L Bulley and Alecia Warren - Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Alex Knoll loves his school, Lutheran Academy of the Master in Coeur d'Alene.
So much so, that the 8-year-old stood calmly in front of the state's Tax and Revenue Committee
on Friday and spoke on House Bill 286.
"I want everybody to know they can chose to come to my school," said the son of Brian and
Anne Knoll of Coeur d'Alene.
House Bill 286 would allow individuals and corporations in Idaho to make a donation to a
scholarship granting organization, Sen. Bob Nonini, Coeur d'Alene, said.
The author of the bill, Nonini said it has taken three years to get the legislation off the ground.
"Those donations then are dollar-for-dollar tax credits to an individual and dollar-for-dollar tax
credits for a corporation," he said.
The aim, Nonini said, is for the scholarship groups to then help families offset the cost of tuition
at private schools.
"I've always been a believer in choice in education," Nonini said. "I've found it's tough for a
number of people to get their children into private schools because of the tuition cost."
HB 286 was passed by the committee and will be considered in the House next week.
Alex's father, Brian Knoll, was proud of his son for testifying before legislators on behalf of
children in Idaho. He called it inspiring and humbling.
HB 286, he said, is important to Idaho families.
It will give parents the financial opportunity to send their children to a school where their needs
can be met, he said.
"It's all about school choice," said Knoll, who helped his son prepare his 4-5 minute talk, but left
the decision to speak up to him.
Alex said he wasn't nervous.
"No, I felt OK," he said.
No surprise to his dad.
"He's blessed with the gift of not letting things like that get to him," Knoll said.
Shelly Matthews, principal of Lutheran Academy of the Master, also spoke to the committee.
"Currently we penalize hard-working middle-class citizens who have found a school outside of
the free public system that fits their child's needs," she said. "They're penalized because now they
can't afford tuition on top of all their tax dollars spent."
Matthews said she knows of families who have children who could be best served by a private
school, including LAM, but can't afford the tuition.
Idaho must stay focused on giving parents the options to make more choices for the education of
their children.
"Why are we penalizing these hard-working people who just want a program that works best for
their family."
Matthews called on legislators to make history in Idaho.
"Take the opportunity to truly make legislation that will be life-changing for children now," she
said. "A month for a child struggling is like a year for you and I. Kids can't keep waiting."
From the Spokesman-Review
Eye on Boise: Private school tax break plan heads to House vote
By Betsy Z. Russell – Posted: March 17, 2013
BOISE – Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, says he believes his bill to provide $10 million a
year in tax credits for scholarships to private schools would prompt 2,622 Idaho students to
transfer from public to private schools, plus another 465 kindergartners to enroll in private rather
than public schools.
“That’s a total savings to the state budget of $3.3 million,” Nonini told the House tax committee
Friday, saying each child who switches “will accrue a $4,251 savings into the state budget.”
House Bill 286 would grant the tax credits to corporations or individuals who donate to
organizations that provide the scholarships.
Nonini calculated that public schools would get $11 million less in state funding through the
average daily attendance formula due to the switch, though that would be offset by an estimated
$8 million in tax credits, his calculation for how much of the $10 million is likely to be used.
Committee members had lots of questions about Nonini’s calculations but finally voted 12-4 in
favor of the bill Friday. That moves it to the full House.
Nonini also presented an attorney general’s opinion that said the idea behind the bill “has
provoked and likely will continue to provoke substantial litigation,” but said the state would
defend the law as constitutional if it were passed. “I can’t control if there’s challenges or not,”
Nonini told the committee. “There’s not any state money going into a transfer,” and all private
schools, religious and nonreligious, would receive equal treatment, he said.
The Idaho Constitution has strict prohibitions against state funding for religious schools.
Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, citing the same attorney general’s opinion, said it also
suggests that “the transfer of funds is essentially an artful dodge to allow sort of a shell with
respect to support of religious schools.”
Among those testifying in favor of the bill was Chris Finch, principal of Genesis Prep Christian
Academy in Post Falls. “Many, many families, month after month, week after week, come to our
schools” and would like to enroll their students, he said, “but are not able to afford the tuition. …
Fifty-two percent of students receive some sort of discount, some sort of tuition assistance. …
But we can’t do it all. We have to subsidize those costs by paying our teachers less.”
Alex Knoll, an 8-year-old student at LAM Christian Academy in Coeur d’Alene, dressed in a
dark-blue suit, told the committee, “I am blessed to go to a school that allows me to learn and
experience things that I might not be able to experience in other schools. My classmates and I are
way ahead of most other kids in our area.”
Speaking against the bill were representatives of the Idaho Association of School Administrators,
the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Education Association, all of whom said the
bill would take state money away from the state’s already cash-strapped public schools. Paul
Stark, general counsel for the IEA, also raised questions about whether the bill would violate the
Idaho Constitution.
‘Last best offer’
Legislation to revive one of the most controversial pieces of voter-rejected Proposition 1 – letting
Idaho school districts unilaterally impose contract terms if negotiations with their local teachers
unions don’t lead to an agreement by June 10 – cleared the House last week on a near-party-line
vote. House Bill 260, which passed on a 55-14 vote and now heads to the Senate, would allow
school districts to impose their “last best offer” if no agreement is reached by that date.
“This legislation would require that both parties negotiate in good faith,” Rep. Julie VanOrden,
R-Pingree, told the House. The bill has a one-year expiration date to allow lawmakers to study
the results.
Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said, “I tell you … the real problem with this bill, and several
others, is that we have seen a systematic disinvestment in K-12 education, and that is why our
school boards are grasping for straws, looking for a leg up, and in so many ways are taking it out
on what is their largest expense, the employees.”
Tribe tax bill passes
House Bill 140, the bill brought by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe on behalf of all of Idaho’s Indian
tribes to clarify that reservation property owned by tribal governments isn’t subject to county
sales taxes, has passed the Senate on a 33-2 vote. It now heads to the governor’s desk. Sen. Jim
Rice, R-Caldwell, the bill’s Senate sponsor, said, “It’s something that should’ve been done long
ago. It promotes unity.”
The only two “no” votes came from Sens. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Dan Schmidt, DMoscow. The bill earlier passed the House, 64-3.
Idaho public schools take fresh hits in Legislature (Editorial)
Posted: March 16, 2013
Unbowed by the defeats of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 last November, Idaho lawmakers have
renewed their efforts to undermine public school education.
Legislative committees this week voted to: allow school districts to impose contract terms on
teachers; fund charter school building costs; and, most insidiously, create a $10 million tuition
fund for private schools.
An attorney general opinion quoted by Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, quite accurately
characterized the fund as “an artful dodge to allow sort of a shell with respect to support of
religious schools.”
And, as if to underscore that intent, two of the witnesses who testified for HB 286 were from
Christian academies in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. One complained his school was
subsidizing other costs by paying teachers less. Isn’t that the story of public education in Idaho?
The “dodge” here is using the credits as an alternative for vouchers, which would not pass
constitutional muster. The tax benefits do not go directly to parents, but to individuals or
companies that receive tax credits for contributions to organizations that provide scholarships to
private schools, religious or not. Credits have already been adopted in 17 states where advocates
cloak them as “school choice” measures. Not surprisingly, many of these states, like Idaho,
spend the least amount of money per pupil.
Indeed, Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, promotes his bill as a cost-savings measure, as if any
more “costs” could or should be squeezed out of an already grossly underfunded school system.
But handing state money – forgone revenues – to an estimated 3,000 students will have little, if
any, effect on the cost of educating the 263,000 other K-12 students. No school capital or
operating costs will be trimmed, and taking one student out of a classroom will not reduce total
salaries, although the remaining students might get more individual attention.
As even its supporters concede, unless the Legislature comes up with more money, the same
applies to helping charter schools and their building costs. And the charter schools get an
upgrade public schools could envy: a 10 percent boost if the state school budget increases 3
percent. The teachers might want a piece of that.
Instead, a bill that would give school districts the power to impose their best contract on teachers,
a la the rejected Proposition 1, has passed the House and moved on to the Senate. Legislators are
trying to fund raises for teachers this year, but the target remains below expenditures in 2009.
The money for teachers is overdue, but there is no need to act on the other measures until an
education task force created by Gov. Butch Otter can finish its work. Committee support for
Nonini’s bill suggests the task force start with a simple statement that Idaho remains dedicated to
a quality public education for all students.
The fundamental problem, as Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston said, “is that we have seen a
systematic disinvestment in K-12 education.”
Meanwhile, Idaho school district voters approved more than $100 million in levies this week to
backfill for missing state dollars. The Legislature needs to stop digging.
From the Moscow Pullman Daily News
Moscow Middle school announces high honors honor roll
Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:00 am
Moscow Middle School recently announced its high honors honor roll for students who earned a
3.66-4.0 GPA.
The sixth-graders on the high honors honor roll are: Nadine Abdel-Rahim, William Adams,
Jackson Alexander, Kayla Atwell, Cadin Baldwin, Aidan Barnhart, Brynn Bell, Sierra Bowles,
Samuel Brehm, Hannah Broyles, Courtney Buchert, Annika Buehler, Samuel Caisley, Joseph
Capawana, Maesen Carlson, Ari Carter, Emily Catt, Mariah Coley,
Michael Connors, Carson Corgatelli, Mattias Cornwall, Eric Dearien, Marcus Delusa, Elizabeth
Dreesmann, Samantha Eng, Rachel Freeman, Claire Garner, Kaneeta Groce, Gracee Gropp,
Alexander Haeder, Cole Hansen, Ashley Hanson, Paige Hanson, Harrison Hathaway, Cameron
Hiatt, McKinsey Hill, Cayson Howard, Jacob Hutchinson, Jill Ingram, McKenna Jacobs,
Theodore Jessup, Megan Jung, Jeremy Kappler, Jailyn Knott, Yu-Shang Lin, Selma
Marteinsdottir, Storm Matossian, Kyrin McFarland, George Meyer, Grace Mikolajczyk, Joseph
Miller, Matthew Miller, Sophia Minden, Brenna Modine,
Derek Mortensen, Max-Florian Mortimer, Carson Murray, Britton Needham, Micah Nelson,
Camille Niehenke, Kieran Northcutt, Bjorn Pellmyr, Grace Pennington, Isaac Prestwich, Gabriel
Quinnett, Makena Rauch, Dane Rennaker, Benjamin Russell, Emma Sattler, Samantha
Schwager, Zach Schwager,
Evan Seegmiller, Calvin Shearer, Nilesh Shrestha, Jaxon Skinner, Josiah Smith, Brooke
Spurgeon, Zachary Squires, Mariah Suquet-Lyle, David Taylor,
Megan Thomson, Mackenzie Vogt, Claire Wallace, Mark Wetzel, Kieran Wilder, Tristan Wilson
and Erin Worth.
The seventh graders on the high honors honor roll are: Jazmin Baldwin-Wood, Anna Bales,
Kaitlyn Brebner, Anna Bunzel, Sierra Burnette, Joseph Celebrezze, Grant Clary, Sofia
Cornelison, Maia Cousins, Lucas Dorschel, Helen Ehret, Madison Engberg, Corey Franklin,
Samuel Gomulkiewicz, Shelby Gresch, Hannah Heaton, Rachel Hill, Jillian Hohnholz, Brad
Hope, Matthew Huber, Daniel Johnson, Kathleen Kitchel, Nicholas Kitchel, Matthew Konen,
Jacob Krous, Alexandria Linskey, Caleb Lyon, Ashton Martin, Bryden Mattoon, Brooklyn
McCurry, Allison McIlroy, Amir McKenzie, Kylan Medina,
Gracey Meyer, Reese Miller, Claire Mullin, Ashley Murphy, William Murphy, Taylere Murray,
Hannah Nielsen, Ethan Odberg, Abrianna Ogden, Fiona O'Murphy, Nicholas Pancheri, Avery
Pierce-Garnett, Aurora Pierzchanowski, Bryce Poplawsky, Samuel Preston, Katherine Reagan,
Emma Reeder,
Sadie Ringo, Ian Rowley, Maya Salada, Josephine Sanford, Annika Sheneman, Sophia Sivula,
John Smith, Shane Spence, Ashlie Spickler, Brooke Staszkow, Gary Stedman, Cooper Stephens,
Daniel Stevens, Jenna Stubbers, Caleb Stucki, Connor Sullivan, Dylan Tanner, Casey
Terwilliger, Tia Vierling,
Zachary Watson, Sheridyn Weller, Lena Werner, Zahn White, Brook Whiteley, Kassidy Woody,
Jenna Woolley, Simone Wulfhorst and Lauren Zuba.
Weippe girl headed to D.C. for big bee
By Kerri Sandaine, Lewiston Tribune Staff Writer – Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
An eighth-grader from Weippe correctly spelled "babushka" and "mariachi" to win first place at
the Inland Northwest Regional Spelling Bee Saturday in Lewiston.
Erin Sellers, the 13-year-old daughter of Michelle and Bill Sellers, will now represent the region
at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in 72 days. She and 16 other
students, ranging in age from fourth grade to eighth grade, competed in the event on the LewisClark State College campus.
Sellers, a student at Timberline schools, was up against 13-year-old Maria (Rika) Ilagan of
Orofino in the seventh and final round. Ilagan, the daughter of Karen and Lito Ilagan, was
disqualified on the word "colloquial."
"I've been in a lot of spelling bees against Rika," Sellers said after collecting her trophy. "We
play sports against each other. I was glad she was the last one up there with me. I really wanted
to win, but if I had to lose, I would rather lose to Rika than someone else."
Ilagan said the words got more difficult as the competition progressed.
"I got kind of nervous," she said.
This year's regional spelling bee lasted about an hour. Some of the words that tripped up spellers
were "kitsch," "megalopolis" and "bratwurst." The three judges held up green cards when words
were spelled correctly and red cards when there was a mistake.
"It went fast," said Sellers, who took third place as a sixth-grader. "We didn't get to the challenge
words, and I studied those a lot."
When she is not studying her spelling list, Sellers enjoys writing and participating in basketball,
volleyball and track. She has never been to D.C. and is looking forward to her trip to nationals.
Travel and accommodations are provided for the winner and a chaperone. The top four spellers
at the regional level received trophies and other prizes, and all of the participants were awarded
certificates and medallions.
Third place went to Andrew Thompson, son of Cara and Scott Thompson of Clarkston.
Thompson is an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School. Kaleb Johnson, the eighth-grade son of
Jennifer Johnson-Leung and Fok-Yan Leung, was the fourth-place winner. He attends Moscow
Middle School. The fifth-place winner, Riley Vogt of Moscow, was one of three fourth-graders
in the competition.
The 28th Inland Northwest Regional Spelling Bee was sponsored by St. Joseph Regional
Medical Center, Lewis-Clark State College and the Lewiston Tribune. Denice Strohmaier, an
educator at Asotin Elementary School, pronounced each word for the young spellers. She has
performed those duties at the regional bee for 19 years
The cost of repairing schools sure does add up (Editorial)
By Lee Rozen – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Pullman school district voters have passed a $53.5 million bond issue to build a new high school
and add elementary classrooms for a growing student population.
Come May, Moscow school district voters will be asked to approve a $10.8 million bond for
maintenance of bathrooms, roofs and boilers and technical upgrades to classrooms, particularly
labs.
A study out this week shows that all over the country districts are finding that schools built 40
years ago for the postwar Baby Boom bulge are showing their age, much like the boomers.
In 1995, a government study said schools nationwide needed $112 billion to bring them into
good repair. So, since then, schools have spent $211 billion, according to the study by the Center
for Green Schools.
So, things ought to be better than good, right? Well, no.
The center estimates schools should have spent $482 billion. That's because technology that
worked in 1995 at the very start of the Web age is insufficient today. And who worried about
security then? Not to mention energy-efficiency. To get on top of the problem, $542 billion will
need to be spent over the next 10 years, say the Green Schools folks, about $5,450 for each
student in each school district.
For the relatively well-off schools here, that isn't nearly as bad as it sounds. It is about $14
million for Pullman, for instance, which is already spending $53.5 million. For Moscow, it's
$12.6 million (and it might spend $10.8 million), about $1.7 million for Troy or Garfield-Palouse
and $900,000 for Colton.
For inner-city school districts with thousands of students in 100-year-old buildings, the cost
would be much higher and more traumatic. And for colleges with elegant but crumbling
buildings from that same era well, the University of Idaho has been estimating its deferred
maintenance needs at around $200 million for seven years.
So, the problem is real and not all of it can be handled locally. Maybe it's time to create a corps
of young workers, give them real world work experience upgrading schools and pay for it from
funds not spent fighting wars or building a couple or 10 of the next generation fighter-bombers.
That might work.
Learning through reading Idaho history
By Chris Sokol – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
President Abraham Lincoln signed the congressional act that created the Idaho Territory on
March 4, 1863. President Benjamin Harrison signed the document that established Idaho as the
43rd state in the Union on July 3, 1890. The eventful 27-year existence of the Idaho Territory is
the focus for the community book discussion series "Let's Talk About It: Idaho at 150" that
concludes Wednesday in Moscow.
Five books touching on Idaho history are featured in the series. The first, "Buffalo Coat," is a
novel by Moscow's own Carol Ryrie Brink (1895-1981), who also won the Newbery Prize for
her young adult novel "Caddie Woodlawn." Discussion of "Buffalo Coat" was led by
Washington State University English instructor Paula Coomer on Jan. 15. First published in 1944
(and still in print with WSU Press), "Buffalo Coat" is a fictionalized account of events in
Moscow around the turn of the 20th century. The story follows the rivalries of several doctors in
the community of Opportunity (Brink's own grandfather was also a doctor who was shot to death
in town) and the struggle by different factions to deal with recurrent typhoid outbreaks. Those
who attended this event were able to see and touch a real "buffalo coat" such as the doctor wore
in the novel, courtesy of the Latah County Historical Society.
The second book in the LTAI series, "A Victorian Gentlewoman in the Far West" by Mary
Hallock Foote (1847-1938), was addressed Jan. 30 by Ron McFarland of the University of Idaho
English department. In the 1880s, Foote came from the East with her engineer husband to the
Boise River Canyon. She recorded her experiences as well as her ambivalence toward the West
in this book. Foote was also an illustrator and wrote short stories and sketches.
"Thousand Pieces of Gold" by Ruthanne Lum McCunn was featured at the third LTAI event Feb.
7, led by Coomer. This book is a fictionalized version of the life of Polly Bemis (1853-1933), a
young Chinese woman who came to the Warren mining district of Idaho in the late 19th century.
Not to be taken too literally as the true story of Bemis, this book nonetheless provided a lively
springboard for discussion of what her life must have been like in the anti-Chinese culture of the
time.
Barbara Meldrum, professor emeritus in the UI Department of English, steered the fourth event,
about the memoir "Home Below Hell's Canyon" by Grace Jordan (1892-1985). The Jordan
family - Len, Grace and their three children - lived a simple, family centered life on a sheep
ranch at Kirkwood Bar on the Snake River from 1933 until the early 1940s. Len served as
governor of Idaho from 1950 to 1954. Grace was a journalist, taught English and journalism at
several Idaho universities, and wrote several books.
If you haven't yet managed to get to any of the events in this series, you are invited to attend the
final program, which will be 7 p.m. Wednesday at the UI library. The book to read for discussion
is "We Sagebrush Folks" by Annie Pike Greenwood (1879-1956), first published in 1934.
Arriving at the new Minidoka Irrigation Project in southern Idaho with her husband, Greenwood
fell in love with the area but was less enthralled with the adverse effects of the frontier on
women.
This LTAI series was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of
Museum and Library Services, the Idaho Humanities Council, US Bancorp and the Friends of the
Moscow Library. Thanks to a generous loan from the Idaho Commission for Libraries, multiple
copies of all five books are available through any branch of the Latah County Library District.
Contact me at (208) 882-3925, ext.16 for more information.
From the Lewiston Tribune
In the schools
Posted: March 18, 2013
Lincoln Middle School
presents spring concert
Lincoln Middle School students from Clarkston will have a spring band concert at 7 p.m. this
evening at the Clarkston High School auditorium.
The concert will feature the seventh- and eighth-grade bands and jazz band along with select solo
and ensemble groups, as well as recognition of all-state and solo ensemble participants.
The event is free and open to the public.
Clarkston elementary
schools are out early
All Clarkston elementary schools will release early at noon starting today as well as Tuesday and
Wednesday in order for conferences to take place in the afternoon.
Parent-teacher group
meets at Highland
Highland Elementary in Clarkston will have a parent-teacher organization meeting from 6 to 7
p.m. Tuesday in the Highland Library.
Culdesac kindergarten
screening is Tuesday
CULDESAC - The kindergarten round-up and screening for children wanting to enter
kindergarten in the Culdesac School District will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Culdesac
School.
Appointments for additional days and times can be made by calling (208) 843-5413, ext. 136.
Parents will need to bring the child in question, a copy of the child's birth certificate and also a
copy of the child's shot records. No exceptions will be made.
Lewiston DECA students
compete in Boise
Lewiston High School DECA students competed at the state level DECA competition March 7-9
in Boise.
Out of the 78 students who attended the state conference, 41 students qualified for the
International Career Development Conference in Anaheim, Calif., April 24-29. To be eligible as
a national qualifier, students would have to qualify in the top three for role play events and top
two in prepared events.
Role play events are characterized by business scenarios that can be undertaken by either
individuals or teams. Students are given roughly 10 minutes to prepare a solution to the given
situation. Students also prepared events where students wrote a paper and gave a visual
presentation.
The following students placed in the respective categories as follows:
Principles of Business Management and Administration - 2, Hailey Kirk; 3, Sebrina Mortensen.
Principles of Finance - 1, Alden Brereton. Principles of Hospitality and Tourism - 1, Kaylin
Sienkiewicz. Principles of Marketing - 1, Henry Hill. Business Law and Ethics Team Decision
Making Event - 3, Shantel Uppendahl and Kendra Schlader. Buying and Merchandising Team
Decision Making Event - 3, Addison Travis and Korina Manske. Hospitality Services Team
Decision Making Event - 2, Drew Melton and Max Thomas. Marketing Communications Team
Decision Making Event - 2, Emily Wren and Alexandria Cromer. Sports and Entertainment
Marketing Team Decision Making Event - 2, Tanner Dickeson and Keaton Ridinger. Travel and
Tourism Team Decision Making Event - 2, Cesar Garcia and Garret Manske. Accounting
Applications - 1, Jerica Kingsbury. Apparel and Accessories Marketing - 2, Leah Uptmor.
Business Finance - 3, Chase Van Boyen. Business Services Marketing - 3, Alex White. Food
Marketing - 3, Ashley Schlangen. Human Resources Management - 1, Elijah Mainini; 3, Alex
Bayless. Marketing Management - 3, Lindsey Osborne. Quick Serve Restaurant Management - 1,
Mikayla Scharnhorst; 3, Ryan Joersz. Retail Merchandising - 1, Jennifer Nguyen. Sports and
Entertainment Marketing Operations Research Event - 1, Madison Chounard, Jaydee Smith,
Holly Zander. Community Service Project - 2, Mikayla Scharnhorst and Jesse Maldanado.
Creative Marketing Project - 1, Ashley Schlangen, Elijah Mainini, Jenna Hatfield.
Entrepreneurship Promotion Project - 1, Hannah Hill and Lindsey Osborne. Public Relations
Project - 1, Kali Bowen, Kristin Michael, Darby Keane. Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan - 2,
Amber Rietz and Melissa Thompson. Entrepreneurship Participating Event-Independent - 1,
Jennifer Nguyen. Entrepreneurship Growing Your Business - 2, Samantha Hubbard and Paige
Bailey. International Business Plan Event - 1, Cesar Garcia and Garret Manske. Fashion
Merchandising Promotion Plan - 1, Addison Travis, Korina Manske, Kendra Schlader.
Spring Jazz Concert
is Thursday at LHS
Music students at Lewiston High School will present their annual Spring Jazz Concert at 7 p.m.
Thursday at the LHS auditorium.
The event is free and open to the public.
Freshmen orientation
set at Moscow High
MOSCOW - Students who will be freshmen this fall may attend an orientation program from
6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Moscow High School's auditorium.
Incoming students will have a chance to get acquainted with administrators, faculty, policies,
schedules and classrooms.
Deary High seeking
sponsors for grad party
DEARY - Deary High School is seeking sponsors for Project Graduation to throw a night of
entertainment for the 33 graduating seniors on graduation night.
The celebration planned for May 25 is designed to provide a safe and sober environment for the
graduates on a night that statistically has resulted in many deaths involving alcohol and/or
driving.
Sponsors can donate cash, gift certificates and merchandise. All contributions must be received
by the school by April 15.
Weippe girl is headed to D.C. for the big bee
By Kerri Sandaine – Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013
An eighth-grader from Weippe correctly spelled "babushka" and "mariachi" to win first place at
the Inland Northwest Regional Spelling Bee Saturday in Lewiston.
Erin Sellers, the 13-year-old daughter of Michelle and Bill Sellers, will now represent the region
at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in 72 days. She and 16 other
students, ranging in age from fourth grade to eighth grade, competed in the event on the LewisClark State College campus.
Sellers, a student at Timberline schools, was up against 13-year-old Maria (Rika) Ilagan of
Orofino in the seventh and final round. Ilagan, the daughter of Karen and Lito Ilagan, was
disqualified on the word "colloquial."
"I've been in a lot of spelling bees against Rika," Sellers said after collecting her trophy. "We
play sports against each other. I was glad she was the last one up there with me. I really wanted
to win, but if I had to lose, I would rather lose to Rika than someone else."
Ilagan said the words got more difficult as the competition progressed. "I got kind of nervous,"
she said.
This year's regional spelling bee lasted about an hour. Some of the words that tripped up spellers
were "kitsch," "megalopolis," and "bratwurst." The three judges held up green cards when words
were spelled correctly and red cards when there was a mistake.
"It went fast," said Sellers, who took third place as a sixth-grader. "We didn't get to the challenge
words, and I studied those a lot. "
When she is not studying her spelling list, Sellers enjoys writing and participating in basketball,
volleyball and track. She has never been to D.C. and is looking forward to her trip to nationals.
Travel and accommodations are provided for the winner and a chaperone. The top four spellers
at the regional level received trophies and other prizes, and all of the participants were awarded
certificates and medallions.
Third place went to Andrew Thompson, son of Cara and Scott Thompson of Clarkston.
Thompson is an eighth-grader at Lincoln Middle School. Kaleb Johnson, the eighth-grade son of
Jennifer Johnson-Leung and Fok-Yan Leung, was the fourth-place winner. He attends Moscow
Middle School. The fifth-place winner, Riley Vogt of Moscow, was one of three fourth-graders
in the competition.
The 28th Inland Northwest Regional Spelling Bee was sponsored by St. Joseph Regional
Medical Center, Lewis-Clark State College and the Lewiston Tribune. Denice Strohmaier, an
educator at Asotin Elementary School, pronounced each word for the young spellers. She has
performed those duties at the regional bee for 19 years
Budget cuts deal blow to Head Start
By Kevin Gaboury – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
Local Head Start programs are bracing for cuts due to sequestration, the automatic across-theboard spending reductions to all federal agencies.
Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program Executive Director Dorlan Hergesheimer told the
organization's policy council members Friday the program could see as much as $200,000 in
budget reductions this year, leading to less classroom time at the region's early childhood
education centers.
The policy council is made up of representatives from each community in the region with a Head
Start center, including Lewiston, Riggins, Weippe, Grangeville, Craigmont, Moscow, Orofino,
Clarkston and Kamiah. The cuts will affect all the centers, Hergesheimer said, which are
overseen by the central office in Lewiston.
"There will be a 5 percent impact on all Head Start programs across the country," he said. "We
received a formal notice from the national office, but they had not given us any real direction on
how to respond."
Because staffing expenses make up approximately 80 percent of the agency's budget, it was
decided the best way to save money would be to cut back on actual classroom time,
Hergesheimer said. This means shortening the current program year and delaying next year's
start date.
Programs will end two weeks early May 2 and resume Oct. 14, three weeks later than usual. The
move will affect both Head Start and Early Head Start programs, but not Washington's Early
Childhood Education Assistance Program, Hergesheimer said.
Early Head Start serves pregnant women and children ages birth to 3 and their families,
Hergesheimer said, while Head Start serves 3- and 4-year-olds and their families. The programs
provide comprehensive education, health and nutrition and parenting services to low-income
children and their families.
Head Start and other early childhood programs serve approximately 485 families in the region
each year.
"This is a real backward step for us," Hergesheimer said of the cuts. "It's painful. Kids and
families will be affected."
Approximately 60 to 70 staff will also be laid off early, but will be hired back to their positions
in the fall. The program employs teachers as well as people with backgrounds in social work.
They will be able to collect unemployment before the programs start up again in the fall,
Hergesheimer said.
The direct effect of the cuts on children and families will be less time with staff in class.
"We have kids a relatively short period of time," Hergesheimer said. "We work more closely
with parents than the regular school system."
The proposal was unanimously approved by policy council members Friday. It will also need to
be approved by the Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program's board of directors before it goes into
effect.
Religious school donations could get a break
Associated Press – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
BOISE - A House committee on Friday backed giving tax credits to those who donate to private
and religious school scholarships, saying it will promote school choice for people who don't
think the traditional public classroom is right for their kids.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 12-4 to offer tax credits - a sum deducted
from the total a taxpayer owes the state - on money people and companies direct to scholarship
funds that are meant to benefit students attending private schools.
The House will now debate the measure.
The bill would provide tax credits worth up to $10 million each year, enough for scholarships for
about 3,000 students annually. Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini, the measure's
sponsor, said this could actually save Idaho money in the long run, because reducing public
school enrollment would also cut Idaho's per-student funding obligation.
Among those who testified at the meeting for the measure was Shelly Matthews, founder of
LAM Christian Academy in Coeur d'Alene.
The 13-year-old Lutheran-affiliated, kindergarten-through-fifth grade school is at the mercy of
the economy, she said. When it's in the doldrums, some parents don't have the resources to pay
the $4,500 tuition and are forced to look elsewhere.
"When the numbers go down, when the economy is difficult, our numbers go down, and we have
to adjust our budget," Matthews said. "This is a kind of bill that could help those parents."
Foes included the Idaho Education Association, which argued that the tax credits would just
funnel tax dollars to religious schools.
Schools that lose students to private or religious-based competitors might no longer bear the
financial burden of educating them, but they continue to face unyielding fixed costs such as
buses, maintenance and repairs, said Paul Stark, the teachers union's top lawyer in Idaho.
"The net effect is, the funds of the state are reduced, and the funds of the private schools are
increased," he said. "For a public school, there's no savings whatsoever."
Just one Republican, Rep. Neil Anderson of Blackfoot, opposed the measure.
A rancher, he compared the potential shift in funding to the everyday reality he experiences on
his spread in southeastern Idaho: If he has 98 cows, instead of 100, he still faces roughly the
same costs. Hay costs run about the same for the slightly smaller herd, and the tractor still needs
gas.
"The more we take money from them, the more they come to resemble a ghost town," Anderson
said, of public schools. "We ought to work on sustaining our communities. Let's take care of our
town - not abandon it in favor of the one over the ridge."
This proposal is similar to one Nonini introduced in the waning days of the 2012 Legislature and
is being promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, as well as a separate private foundation
linked to the late Milton Friedman and the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange
Council.
Nonini, an insurance agent, said it's been crafted carefully to avoid Idaho's strict constitutional
prohibitions against using public funding to support religious institutions.
House clears way for open teacher talks
Associated Press – Posted: March 16, 2013
BOISE - A bill requiring open negotiations during teacher contract talks has unanimously
cleared the House.
The House voted 61-0 Friday to make collective bargaining talks public and require school
districts to post notices of all upcoming negotiating sessions.
The bill would also make all meeting minutes and contract offers subject to state open records
laws.
Both the Idaho Education Association teachers union and the Idaho School Board Association
support the idea of open talks.
The legislation represents a rare point of agreement between school boards and the state teachers
union, which have butted heads on several other bills introduced this session that resurrect
portions of the "Students Come First" laws voters dumped at the polls last November.
The bill has already passed the Senate and now heads to the governor.
From the Idaho-Press Tribune, Nampa
Otter must back up his claims on education (Commentary)
By Travis Manning - Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
My hat is off to Gov. Butch Otter for establishing a task force last fall, after the defeat of
Propositions 1, 2 and 3, to spearhead substantive recommendations for improving public
education in Idaho. This working group has met several times already and will hold public
meetings this summer and fall to discuss education reform issues statewide, finalizing
recommendations before the 2014 legislative session.
For his efforts, the governor deserves a pat on the back and a thank-you. This working group is
doing now what Superintendent Tom Luna, the governor and legislative leaders should have
done three years ago — a year before they steamrolled their sweeping reform package through
the Legislature, without stakeholders, and against a vast public outcry.
Otter’s education committee is the type of group that makes democracy shine (despite it being a
bit stacked with “his people”) and is the type of democracy in action the state of Idaho needs and
deserves. True stakeholders engaged in civil discourse, involving the public, carefully
researching the issues and working prudently and deliberately to ascertain best practices for
improving schools in Idaho is important work.
However, Otter receives a goose egg in the area of transparency as it relates to an exit poll he
mentioned back in December regarding the 2012 referendum election results.
On Dec. 5, Otter spoke at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual conference. He reported at
that time that he had seen an exit survey funded by Education Voters of Idaho, run by John
Foster, a former Dem-turned-GOP insider. Otter said, according to the reporting of The Idaho
Statesman’s Dan Popkey, “We got back some very good numbers that I think we can rely on,”
and, “There were parts and pieces of every one of those (laws) that folks did want.”
Unfortunately, the good citizens of Idaho have not seen what Otter and other legislative leaders
have seen, so they are unable to judge for themselves the validity of this alleged data, data that is
apparently being used to document public opinion and guide public policy — like the slew of
education bills mirroring many parts of Proposition 1 currently circulating through the Capitol.
Mr. Foster has not responded to my emails, nor has he publicly released their alleged data. I
personally heard a Canyon County legislator back in January also publicly cite Otter and the EVI
poll. EVI is the same group that funneled undisclosed donors last fall to the Yes for Idaho
Education campaign, saying the money came from concerned Idaho parents. After a court order,
it was revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars actually came from big out-of-state donors like
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg who donated $200,000, requested by Lori Otter.
So back in February, Common Sense Democracy did an FOIA request with Otter seeking
documentation of this alleged poll. The response from the governor’s office: “After reviewing
your request and conducting due diligence, the Office of the Governor does not have any public
records responsive to your request.”
In truth, Otter made a claim at the Associated Taxpayers conference that neither he nor his staff
can substantiate in any way, shape or form.
As a teacher, I help my students write effectively. I teach them when drafting an essay, for
example, that they need to guide their essay with a series of claims, evidence and warrants.
Unfortunately, Otter could take a lesson from Idaho kids.
I would hate for the Idaho Legislature to be misled by invalid or flawed polling data and to think
they have justification for again steamrolling voters.
* Travis Manning is Executive Director of The Common Sense Democracy Foundation of Idaho
and can be reached at [email protected]
A COMMUNITY UNITED: Idaho Environmental Education Association brings science
education to students across the state
By Mike Butts – Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
TREASURE VALLEY — The Idaho Environmental Education Association is a nonprofit dedicated
to educating Idaho students about the natural world that surrounds them. IdEEA connects with
educators across Idaho, providing them with the resources to promote environmental literacy.
IPT: What is the IdEEA’s mission or goal and how do you accomplish it?
IdEEA: The Idaho Environmental Education Association (IdEEA) is the only nonprofit
organization in Idaho with the singular, express purpose of advancing environmental literacy and
education. We believe the well being of Idaho’s communities, economies and environments are
woven together. After all, the environment is where we live!
IdEEA’s four core services support and promote the activities of all educators working to clarify
our understanding of the natural world and our role in it:
Connect educators with a variety of resources, tools, and expertise in environmental education
Engage stakeholders and elected leaders to build support for environmental literacy
Serve as Idaho’s partner with the North American Association for Environmental Education
Deliver essential services to all environmental educators and supporters
IPT: What is the history of the IdEEA?
IdEEA: IdEEA was founded over 30 years ago in Caldwell by teachers and agency personnel
interested in education and our local environments. Early members were instrumental in
developing well-known curricula, including Project Learning Tree (trees/forests), Project WET
(water/watersheds) and Project WILD (wildlife). Environmental education is a unifying theme
across the curriculum and promotes inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving and active
learning. With its interdisciplinary, science-based approach, environmental education teaches
how to think, not what to think.
IPT: How do you raise money? How do you use that money?
IdEEA: In addition to memberships and financial contributions from foundations and sponsors,
IdEEA hosts the successful, two-day, Idaho Environmental Education Conference, a professional
development conference held annually in Boise. Now in its 13th year, it attracts well over 100
Idaho educators each year who leave inspired, connected and empowered to make a difference in
their communities.
Over the years, IdEEA has secured significant grant funding to lead a number of key statewide
initiatives, including the Greater Yellowstone EIC School Network (2001-2007) which identified
and supported 12 model EE schools, enrolling over 1,700 students of which 21 percent were
ethnic minorities. Since 2009 IdEEA has spearheaded Idaho’s environmental literacy efforts,
hosting the state’s first strategic planning meeting with key stakeholders and leading
development of Idaho’s first environmental literacy plan in partnership with diverse partners,
including the Idaho Department of Education, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Idaho Forest Products
Commission, University of Idaho and others. Currently IdEEA is working with education and
environmental partners to build support leading to implementation of the Idaho Environmental
Literacy Plan.
IPT: What can local residents do to help IdEEA?
IdEEA: Research shows that math, science, social studies and language arts linked to the natural
world improve student achievement and environmental literacy. In one national study of 40
schools, 92 percent of students taught this way academically outperformed peers in traditional
programs. Parents can help IdEEA by encouraging their school district to increase the number of
courses that consider the local culture, history, and environment and support their own children’s
participation. In addition they can promote the value and number of classroom activities that
increase environmental literacy through environmentally focused projects and field trips.
The Treasure Valley is a “treasure trove” of terrific environmental learning opportunities for
classrooms and family outings, such as the Boise WaterShed, Foothills Learning Center and MK
Nature Center, which help make learning fun.
Residents can support IdEEA’s work by attending, and encouraging others to attend, the Idaho
Environmental Education Conference held each March. Lastly IdEEA actively seeks volunteers
from around the state with diverse skills and interests to serve on our board of directors and
committees.
Business praise College of W. Idaho’s impact
By Bill Roberts, Idaho Statesman – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Jason Rush tinkered with a spark plug on an ATV at Carl's Cycle in Boise,
where he works tuning engines, checking transmissions and changing oil.
"I like wrenching," said Rush, 30.
Rush's day starts at 7:30 a.m. with classes in small-engine and power-sports repair, one of the
College of Western Idaho's professional-technical programs. By 1 p.m. he's working in Carl's
maintenance shop as a paid intern. Often he doesn't leave until 7 p.m. "Makes for a long day," he
said.
When he finishes at the community college in May, the former Marine infantry corporal, who saw
action in Iraq, will step into a full-time job at Carl's, where a typical starting wage is $10 an hour.
Rush's story is being repeated at many businesses in the Treasure Valley. But four years after CWI
opened, it's hard to say how well the two-year college is really doing. Business leaders praise it and
students flock to it, but information on the college's impact is scarce.
CWI lacks reliable data showing the kinds of wages students earn after leaving school or the types of
industries that are employing them.
An under-qualified workforce remains a problem in Idaho, holding down wages and leaving some
high-paying jobs begging for local applicants.
In an informal survey of hundreds of participants at a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce lunch in
January, people cited workforce development as the No. 1 problem for businesses, even more so than
the much-hated personal property tax, whose proposed repeal is among the top issues in this year's
legislative session.
Voters in Ada and Canyon counties created CWI in 2007 and imposed a property tax on themselves
to help pay for it. Voters were promised a school that would help improve Valley residents' training
and skills.
Boise State University President Bob Kustra was an early advocate. He wanted to relieve his growing
university of providing community college education and training on his increasingly crowded
campus.
CWI promised affordability, too. It charges students $136 per credit hour, about half of what Boise
State charges.
Students responded. Enrollment, which started at 1,200 in January 2009, swelled to more than 9,000
last fall.
Programs such as small-engine and power-sports repair enrolled 1,200 people when they were still
part of Boise State. At CWI in Nampa, they have nearly 1,800.
Enrollment figures don't count students taking noncredit courses. There were nearly 6,800 of those in
2012. Some were sent by employers seeking to improve performance. Others were people hoping to
get in on the ground floor of the health industry by taking short-term classes in certified nursing
assistance or emergency medical technician training.
The school is still finding its way. For its biggest private benefactor, that's OK.
"After only four years, they should still be making adjustments and continuing to innovate," said
Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
The foundation has spent millions of dollars encouraging Idaho high school graduates to continue
their educations and has donated millions more to CWI, including $13 million to renovate the old
Sam's Club store near CWI's main campus for vocational training.
Some business leaders credit CWI President Bert Glandon with responding quickly to demands. "I
think he does about 10 people's worth of work every day," said Clark Krause, executive director of
the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, the economic development arm of the Boise chamber.
MacMillan said the professional-tech programs work with industry partners to see that the college
meets business needs.
CWI, like other Idaho community colleges, sends surveys to former vocational students and relies on
them to report their status.
In 2012, three-fourths of the 382 professional-technical students who completed programs in 2011
responded. Just over half said they were working in the fields for which they were trained.
Glandon says that's not good enough. If classes are to meet community needs, the figure should be
closer to 80 percent, he said.
CWI also tracks students in general education when they go on to other colleges to earn four-year
degrees. Just over half go to other colleges. Officials don't know what happens to the rest.
"(The) community would love to have specific, vetted information," Glandon said.
At Western States Equipment, a Caterpillar sales and service business headquartered in Meridian,
with locations in five states, the technician bay is stocked with CWI graduates from the diesel
mechanics program. They work on bulldozers, front-end loaders and other heavy equipment.
In the past year, the company hired four CWI students for the shop at 500 E. Overland Road. Over
the past several years, the company has hired 10 to 12.
The Meridian shop has 40 heavy-equipment mechanics, and the starting wage is $15 to $18 an hour.
"CWI students have exceeded our expectations compared to students hired from other programs,"
said Cameron Pickett, employment coordinator.
The students have a depth of training that comes in part from taking classes at the Micron ProfessionTechnical Education Center (the Micron Foundation, which donated $2.5 million, won naming rights
because the Albertson Foundation, which donated five times as much, declined them.)
The center houses state-of-the-art equipment for many vocational programs. "(It's) close to what is
actually out in the industry," Pickett said.
Students are trained on diagnostic software for a variety of the products Carl's sells, including
Polaris, Honda and Suzuki, said Curtis Bjerke, the dealership's service manager. "Hopefully (the
school) will start using it more," he said.
The State Board of Education and the Idaho Department of Labor are working on a project, funded
by a $3 million federal grant, to get better information on what happens to students after college.
The goal: Track students into the workplace and learn about their careers, while protecting individual
privacy.
Idaho's tracking system could tell where students go, what industries they are in and what kind of
wages they make, said Gabriel Reilly, an Idaho Department of Labor senior researcher.
Idaho is one of about 20 states working on the tracking — called a longitudinal data system — that
will eventually follow students from kindergarten into their jobs.
Information could guide schools in what occupations have the most demand and what wages students
can expect to earn.
Georgia has had a similar data warehouse for a dozen years showing what students in its 25 technical
colleges earned as they entered school and what they earned afterward. Reports help the state set
educational policy and provide schools and taxpayers with a return on investment for the money they
put into educating students, said Andy Parsons, assistant commissioner of data and research for
Georgia's technical college system.
Georgia's plan is limited. It doesn't show the salaries and jobs of people working out of state.
Idaho's system, still in development, is expected to be running by 2015
 House panel OKs break for religious ed donations
Associated Press – Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A House committee has backed a measure that would give tax credits to those
who donate to private and religious school scholarships.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 12-4 on Friday to approve the bill, which would
provide tax credits of up to $10 million.
Committee members say the tax credits would promote school choice for people who don't think the
traditional public school classroom is right for their kids.
One Republican, Rep. Neil Anderson of Blackfoot, opposed the measure. Other foes included the
Idaho Education Association, which argued that the credits would just funnel tax dollars to religious
schools.
The House will now debate the measure.
Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini, the measure's sponsor, says the proposal could actually
save Idaho money by reducing public-school enrollment.
From the Idaho Statesman
 With new program, BSU hopes to give students a start in business
By Bill Roberts – Posted: March 18, 2013
Boise State University expects to spend more than a half million dollars over the next two years
in a program to help entrepreneurial students lay the groundwork for launching businesses.
The pilot project could spur economic development in the Treasure Valley, the university
said.Boise State's new Venture College, which will start this fall, is a noncredit and
extracurricular program that will pair about 15 students with local business mentors and Boise
State employees to shepherd students' visions for starting businesses into reality. Some of those
students could get a chunk of the $30,000 a year that Boise State is prepared to inject into their
businesses.Whether they succeed or fail, the students would not have to repay the money,
university officials said. The university would not receive any ownership in a company.The
money will come from revenue associated with university research grants and contracts, not
public funds, officials said.Boise State's Venture College is one way the school can help
encourage startup businesses, university President Bob Kustra said. "If a city can't figure out how
to grow its own (businesses), I don't think there is a future for it in the 21st century," he
said.Venture College is similar to programs at Boise State that help faculty turn research into
business prospects. But the college is aimed at students - regardless of their major - who have an
idea that could lead to creating jobs, said Kevin Learned, Venture College director. "We will
work with them to help them do the planning to launch their businesses," Learned said.Learned
co-founded a successful computer-based accounting-system company 30 years ago and is the
former president of the College of Idaho. Today he is an angel investor who invests in
startups.Ed Zimmer, former CEO of the ECCO Group in Boise, which makes emergency
lighting, will be the associate director of Venture College.A committee of local business people
called Venture College Angels will review students' plans and award university money to those
with viable business proposals, Learned said.Venture College has been under discussion for two
years. It grew out of a chance encounter between a Boise State art student and Mark Rudin, vice
president of research and economic development. The student told Rudin that he would like to
start a foundry.At the same time, Kustra said he was interested in finding ways a student could
earn a degree and still work toward launching a business.The program did not need approval of
the State Board of Education because it is not part of the academic program, Kustra said.Learned
said the program will take about 15 students a year. They need to come with plenty of ambition
and good ideas. Students will go through an admission process that includes writing a paper and
interviews."Out of our 20,000 students, a very small handful will find this compelling," Learned
said.The college's budget is $260,000 per year.If the pilot succeeds, university officials say the
number of students could increase to 50, and the university would look for federal grants and
other money to operate it.The application deadline for fall is April 12.
 Panel introduces new teacher paid leave bill
The Associated Press – Published: March 18, 2013
BOISE, Idaho — Idaho lawmakers have agreed to debate whether teachers under criminal
investigation or in jail should be paid for their time away from the classroom.The House
Education Committee introduced legislation Monday that would pay teachers placed on
involuntary leave.
The bill includes slight tweaks to a separate measure sponsored by the Idaho School Board
Association that makes certain cases of involuntary leave unpaid.Boise Democrat Rep. Janie
Ward-Engelking said the revised bill offers a compromise by placing the teacher's earnings in an
escrow account until the investigation is resolved.Districts would recoup the funds if the
employee is found guilty, but the teacher would get a check if a judge or jury concludes they're
innocent.
From the Twin Falls Times-News
Hansen School District to Discuss Next Steps After Levy Failure
By Andrew Weeks – Posted March 18, 2018
HANSEN• The Hansen School District remains undecided about how to proceed after a
proposed supplemental levy failed to pass last week.
“I’m not ready to talk about it,” Superintendent Susan Scherz told the Times-News on Friday.
She’s hoping board members will have a better grasp of the situation after they meet tonight,
March 18.
The district asked voters to pass a two-year, $190,000 supplement levy that would help maintain
its staff, salaries and benefits. But feelings were mixed in the community, she said. The levy
would have cost taxpayers $17.60 per year for every $10,000 in home value.
Voters rejected the proposed levy 51 percent to 49 percent.
Staffing cuts are a possibility, Scherz told the Times-News after the ballots were counted March
12. But, she continued, she wants to do everything she can to avoid such measures.
The district has 29 teachers and around 370 students.
Hopefully, she said, today will provide some answers
Real-world jobs: Businesses Praise College of Western Idaho’s Impact
By Bill Roberts Idaho Statesman – Posted: March 16, 2013
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Jason Rush tinkered with a spark plug on an ATV at Carl's Cycle in
Boise, where he works tuning engines, checking transmissions and changing oil.
"I like wrenching,'' said Rush, 30.
Rush's day starts at 7:30 a.m. with classes in small-engine and power-sports repair, one of the
College of Western Idaho's professional-technical programs. By 1 p.m. he's working in Carl's
maintenance shop as a paid intern. Often he doesn't leave until 7 p.m. "Makes for a long day,'' he
said.
When he finishes at the community college in May, the former Marine infantry corporal, who
saw action in Iraq, will step into a full-time job at Carl's, where a typical starting wage is $10 an
hour.
Rush's story is being repeated at many businesses in the Treasure Valley. But four years after
CWI opened, it's hard to say how well the two-year college is really doing. Business leaders
praise it and students flock to it, but information on the college's impact is scarce.
CWI lacks reliable data showing the kinds of wages students earn after leaving school or the
types of industries that are employing them.
An under-qualified workforce remains a problem in Idaho, holding down wages and leaving
some high-paying jobs begging for local applicants.
In an informal survey of hundreds of participants at a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce lunch
in January, people cited workforce development as the No. 1 problem for businesses, even more
so than the much-hated personal property tax, whose proposed repeal is among the top issues in
this year's legislative session.
Voters in Ada and Canyon counties created CWI in 2007 and imposed a property tax on
themselves to help pay for it. Voters were promised a school that would help improve Valley
residents' training and skills.
Boise State University President Bob Kustra was an early advocate. He wanted to relieve his
growing university of providing community college education and training on his increasingly
crowded campus.
CWI promised affordability, too. It charges students $136 per credit hour, about half of what
Boise State charges.
Students responded. Enrollment, which started at 1,200 in January 2009, swelled to more than
9,000 last fall.
Programs such as small-engine and power-sports repair enrolled 1,200 people when they were
still part of Boise State. At CWI in Nampa, they have nearly 1,800.
Enrollment figures don't count students taking noncredit courses. There were nearly 6,800 of
those in 2012. Some were sent by employers seeking to improve performance. Others were
people hoping to get in on the ground floor of the health industry by taking short-term classes in
certified nursing assistance or emergency medical technician training.
The school is still finding its way. For its biggest private benefactor, that's OK.
"After only four years, they should still be making adjustments and continuing to innovate,'' said
Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
The foundation has spent millions of dollars encouraging Idaho high school graduates to
continue their educations and has donated millions more to CWI, including $13 million to
renovate the old Sam's Club store near CWI's main campus for vocational training.
Some business leaders credit CWI President Bert Glandon with responding quickly to demands.
"I think he does about 10 people's worth of work every day,'' said Clark Krause, executive
director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, the economic development arm of the Boise
chamber.
MacMillan said the professional-tech programs work with industry partners to see that the
college meets business needs.
CWI, like other Idaho community colleges, sends surveys to former vocational students and
relies on them to report their status.
In 2012, three-fourths of the 382 professional-technical students who completed programs in
2011 responded. Just over half said they were working in the fields for which they were trained.
Glandon says that's not good enough. If classes are to meet community needs, the figure should
be closer to 80 percent, he said.
CWI also tracks students in general education when they go on to other colleges to earn fouryear degrees. Just over half go to other colleges. Officials don't know what happens to the rest.
"(The) community would love to have specific, vetted information,'' Glandon said.
At Western States Equipment, a Caterpillar sales and service business headquartered in
Meridian, with locations in five states, the technician bay is stocked with CWI graduates from
the diesel mechanics program. They work on bulldozers, front-end loaders and other heavy
equipment.
In the past year, the company hired four CWI students for the shop at 500 E. Overland Road.
Over the past several years, the company has hired 10 to 12.
The Meridian shop has 40 heavy-equipment mechanics, and the starting wage is $15 to $18 an
hour.
"CWI students have exceeded our expectations compared to students hired from other
programs,'' said Cameron Pickett, employment coordinator.
The students have a depth of training that comes in part from taking classes at the Micron
Profession-Technical Education Center (the Micron Foundation, which donated $2.5 million,
won naming rights because the Albertson Foundation, which donated five times as much,
declined them.)
The center houses state-of-the-art equipment for many vocational programs. "(It's) close to what
is actually out in the industry,'' Pickett said.
Students are trained on diagnostic software for a variety of the products Carl's sells, including
Polaris, Honda and Suzuki, said Curtis Bjerke, the dealership's service manager. ``Hopefully (the
school) will start using it more,'' he said.
The State Board of Education and the Idaho Department of Labor are working on a project,
funded by a $3 million federal grant, to get better information on what happens to students after
college.
The goal: Track students into the workplace and learn about their careers, while protecting
individual privacy.
Idaho's tracking system could tell where students go, what industries they are in and what kind of
wages they make, said Gabriel Reilly, an Idaho Department of Labor senior researcher.
Idaho is one of about 20 states working on the tracking — called a longitudinal data system —
that will eventually follow students from kindergarten into their jobs.
Information could guide schools in what occupations have the most demand and what wages
students can expect to earn.
Georgia has had a similar data warehouse for a dozen years showing what students in its 25
technical colleges earned as they entered school and what they earned afterward. Reports help
the state set educational policy and provide schools and taxpayers with a return on investment for
the money they put into educating students, said Andy Parsons, assistant commissioner of data
and research for Georgia's technical college system.
Georgia's plan is limited. It doesn't show the salaries and jobs of people working out of state.
Idaho's system, still in development, is expected to be running by 2015.
It’s Going Around: Cold Viruses Invade Schools, Businesses
By Julie Wootton – Posted: March 16, 2013
TWIN FALLS • Around the Magic Valley, the sounds of sneezing, coughing and nose blowing
are common these days.
For some schools and businesses, illnesses have affected absentee rates among students and
employees.
So what’s going around right now?
At Minidoka Memorial Hospital, administrator Carl Hanson said there have been more viral
infections treated at the hospital than last year.
“That’s probably the most common aliment we’ve seen,” he said.
Hanson said there haven’t been a lot of flu cases.
At Target, store manager Jeremy Judd said there has been an uptick in employee illnesses since
the end of January or early February.
“We have seen an increase as a store,” he said about the Twin Falls location.
But Judd said it’s pretty typical for this time of year and “not really that different” from past
years.
Target provides free flu shots to employees, which he said helps reduce the number of sick days.
“We’ve been able to curb a lot of that illness,” he said.
Judd said the larger impact for the store over the past few months has been an increase in
pharmacy and over-the-counter cold medicine sales.
In the Twin Falls School District, cold viruses have led to more student and employee absences.
“Our absenteeism has been up this year,” Superintendent Wiley Dobbs said.
At most schools, attendance has dropped about
1 percent due to student illnesses compared with the same time last year.
“That’s pretty substantial to see it dip that much,” Dobbs said.
Attendance rates are still high — around 94 to 95 percent at most schools — but that’s lower
than usual.
Dobbs said there has also been a 1 or 2 percent drop in employee attendance.
There’s a “very good” employee attendance rate overall, he said, so “we know they’re sick if
they’re not coming.”
Despite the uptick in absences, the Twin Falls School District hasn’t been affected as much as
when the H1N1 flu virus was going around a few years ago.
“We’re not quite to that decline in attendance, but we’re getting pretty close,” Dobbs said.
Since Idaho’s public schools receive state funding based on average daily attendance numbers,
absences affect the amount of money school districts receive.
Twin Falls School District administrators are looking into the possibility of appealing to the
Idaho State Department of Education for “extenuating circumstances,” Dobbs said.
That’s due to the “illnesses that have really hit our community pretty hard,” he said.
A few years ago when student absences increased due to H1N1, the Twin Falls School District
appealing and recovered some of the lost funding.
So what’s being done to help students and employees stay healthy?
People are being encouraged to wash their hands, Dobbs said. There’s hand sanitizer throughout
school buildings.
And he said the message from schools is to stay home when you’re sick
From the Idaho State Journal
Panel introduces new teacher paid leave bill
Associated Press – Posted: Monday, March 8, 2013
Idaho lawmakers have agreed to debate whether teachers under criminal investigation or in jail
should be paid for their time away from the classroom.
The House Education Committee introduced legislation Monday that would pay teachers placed on
involuntary leave.
The bill includes slight tweaks to a separate measure sponsored by the Idaho School Board
Association that makes certain cases of involuntary leave unpaid.
Boise Democrat Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking said the revised bill offers a compromise by placing the
teacher's earnings in an escrow account until the investigation is resolved.
Districts would recoup the funds if the employee is found guilty, but the teacher would get a check if
a judge or jury concludes they're innocent.
ISU Faculty Senate seeks role in drafting new faculty constitution
By Debbie Bryce – Posted: Monday, March 18, 2013
POCATELLO — Despite being told that it will not lead the process of creating a new faculty
constitution, the Idaho State University Faculty Senate is trying to play a part in drafting the
document that will outline the faculty’s role in university governance.
Senate Co-Chairwoman Sarah Knudson said the senate’s biggest challenges will be operating
within the guidelines of the ISU administration and meeting the needs of faculty members.
The Faculty Senate was informed last month by the ISU administration that the senate would not be
leading the effort to create a faculty constitution. Rather, ISU’s colleges would be in charge. A
proposed constitution from the ISU administration has been provided to each starting point to debate
what kind of document ISU should have.
The Faculty Senate, however, is trying to facilitate discussion on the faculty constitution by
working to develop a website where faculty can review and upload information regarding the
constitution.
The Faculty Senate held an executive/closed-door session last week to discuss proposed revisions
to the faculty constitution drafted by the preceding Provisional Faculty Senate and approved by
ISU’s faculty, but rejected by ISU President Arthur Vailas.
“We have called for executive session more often than usual,” said Knudson, who previously
served on the senate from 2008 to 2010. “Some people are concerned about how their quotes would
be perceived by faculty and when we want to talk freely, we call for executive session.”
David Alexander, an attorney for ISU, said the Faculty Senate does not have to comply with state
open meeting laws because it serves as an advisory board, not a decision-making body.
The Faculty Senate meets again at 4 p.m. today in the Rendezvous Center’s Room 301 and it’s
likely the constitution will again come up.
The Faculty Senate has members elected from each ISU college by each college’s faculty. There
has been some confusion expressed by senators and faculty in recent months about the role and
authority of the senate. Knudson said the senate oversees curriculum, research and other issues
related to academics.
The senate’s mission statement says: “Serving as the voice of faculty at ISU, the Faculty Senate
shapes policy and procedure concerning the issues of primary and fundamental responsibilities of the
faculty. Working with all constituent groups on campus in the spirit of shared governance, the
Faculty Senate and Senate leadership strive to make the university environment conducive to cuttingedge research, innovative creative activities and scholarship, outstanding teaching, and meaningful
university and professional service for the faculty.”
In the past, councils and committees from each ISU college have reported to the Faculty Senate,
but today those groups report to ISU’s administration.
Last year, ISU’s faculty voted 201 to 98 to approve the constitution drafted by the Provisional
Faculty Senate, a group formed at the direction of the State Board of Education for the specific
purpose of creating a constitution. Vailas rejected this document, which was modeled after Boise
State University’s constitution.
Vailas instead secured State Board of Education approval of a governance plan that his
administration crafted. Vailas has now provided that plan with a number of modifications to each of
ISU’s seven colleges as a possible constitution option.
While the Faculty Senate will not be leading the effort to create a faculty constitution, its
individual members will be part of the groups within each of their individual colleges that will work
under the direction of each college’s dean to create a draft constitution.
Phone calls to ISU Interim Provost Barbara Adamcik were not returned regarding the process of
how an eventual constitution would be created from the colleges’ draft constitutions.
“We could end up with seven constitutions,” said Knudson, referring to the potential that each ISU
college will submit its own constitution.
Faculty Senate member Jeff Meldrum said points of contention regarding the constitution include
the percentage of faculty votes needed to pass resolutions and the role of faculty in the governance of
the university.
“I don’t see these as insurmountable problems,” Meldrum said.
In recent years there has been conflict between Vailas and ISU’s faculty. This friction resulted in
faculty no-confidence votes against the Vailas administration, which prompted Vailas and the State
Board to disband the Faculty Senate in 2011.
The Provisional Faculty Senate was created in 2012 to develop a faculty constitution. But when
the document was completed, it was rejected by Vailas. This group was disbanded by the State Board
in April 2012. The current Faculty Senate was elected in fall 2012.
The State Board of Education said there is no deadline for ISU to have a new faculty constitution
in place.
House panel Oks break for religious education donations
Associated Press: Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A House committee on Friday backed giving tax credits to those who donate
to private and religious school scholarships, saying it will promote school choice for people who
don’t think the traditional public classroom is right for their kids.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 12-4 to offer tax credits — a sum deducted
from the total a taxpayer owes the state — on money people and companies direct to scholarship
funds that are meant to benefit students attending private schools.
The House will now debate the measure.
The bill would provide tax credits worth up to $10 million each year, enough for scholarships for
about 3,000 students annually. Coeur d’Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini, the measure’s sponsor,
said this could actually save Idaho money in the long run, because reducing public school enrollment
would also cut Idaho’s per-student funding obligation.
Among those who testified at the meeting for the measure was Shelly Matthews, founder of LAM
Christian Academy in Coeur d’Alene.
The 13-year-old Lutheran-affiliated, K-through-5th grade school is at the mercy of the economy,
she said. When it’s in the doldrums, some parents don’t have the resources to pay the $4,500 tuition
and are forced to look elsewhere.
“When the numbers go down, when the economy is difficult, our numbers go down, and we have
to adjust our budget,” Matthews said. “This is a kind of bill that could help those parents.”
Foes included the Idaho Education Association, which argued that the tax credits would just funnel
tax dollars to religious schools.
Schools that lose students to private or religious-based competitors might no longer bear the
financial burden of educating them, but they continue to face unyielding fixed costs such as buses,
maintenance and repairs, said Paul Stark, the teachers union’s top lawyer in Idaho.
“The net effect is, the funds of the state are reduced, and the funds of the private schools are
increased,” he said. “For a public school, there’s no savings whatsoever.”
Just one Republican, Rep. Neil Anderson of Blackfoot, opposed the measure.
A rancher, he compared the potential shift in funding to the everyday reality he experiences on his
spread in southeastern Idaho: If he has 98 cows, instead of 100, he still faces roughly the same costs.
Hay costs run about the same for the slightly smaller herd, and the tractor still needs gas.
“The more we take money from them, the more they come to resemble a ghost town,” Anderson
said, of public schools. “We ought to work on sustaining our communities. Let’s take care of our
town — not abandon it in favor of the one over the ridge.”
This proposal is similar to one Nonini introduced in the waning days of the 2012 Legislature and is
being promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, as well as a separate private foundation linked to
the late Milton Friedman and the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council.
Nonini, an insurance agent, said it’s been crafted carefully to avoid Idaho’s strict constitutional
prohibitions against using public funding to support religious institutions. He has an opinion from the
Idaho attorney general that concludes the proposal may avoid those pitfalls, though the top state
lawyer’s office concedes it still could be subject to significant litigation.
“I can’t do anything about controlling lawsuits, if somebody doesn’t like Idaho law,” he said, on
why such threats should be no impediment to the state passing his bill.
Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, a lawyer and an opponent of the bill, said that while using the
mechanism of a tax credit may not be unconstitutional on the face of it, a judge could still conclude
its effect is to shift public money to religious institutions.
Beyond the courts, however, Burgoyne said it was wrongheaded to direct tax policy to benefit
religious institutions, at the expense of Idaho’s traditional education system.
“Our destiny is with our public schools,” he said.
From the Idaho Falls Post Register
Business praise College of W. Idaho’s impact
By Bill Roberts – Posted: March 18, 2013
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - Jason Rush tinkered with a spark plug on an ATV at Carl's Cycle in
Boise, where he works tuning engines, checking transmissions and changing oil.
"I like wrenching," said Rush, 30.
Rush's day starts at 7:30 a.m. with classes in small-engine and power-sports repair, one of the
College of Western Idaho's professional-technical programs. By 1 p.m. he's working in Carl's
maintenance shop as a paid intern. Often he doesn't leave until 7 p.m. "Makes for a long day," he
said.
When he finishes at the community college in May, the former Marine infantry corporal, who
saw action in Iraq, will step into a full-time job at Carl's, where a typical starting wage is $10 an
hour.
Rush's story is being repeated at many businesses in the Treasure Valley. But four years after
CWI opened, it's hard to say how well the two-year college is really doing. Business leaders
praise it and students flock to it, but information on the college's impact is scarce.
CWI lacks reliable data showing the kinds of wages students earn after leaving school or the
types of industries that are employing them.
An under-qualified workforce remains a problem in Idaho, holding down wages and leaving
some high-paying jobs begging for local applicants.
In an informal survey of hundreds of participants at a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce lunch
in January, people cited workforce development as the No. 1 problem for businesses, even more
so than the much-hated personal property tax, whose proposed repeal is among the top issues in
this year's legislative session.
Voters in Ada and Canyon counties created CWI in 2007 and imposed a property tax on
themselves to help pay for it. Voters were promised a school that would help improve Valley
residents' training and skills.
Boise State University President Bob Kustra was an early advocate. He wanted to relieve his
growing university of providing community college education and training on his increasingly
crowded campus.
CWI promised affordability, too. It charges students $136 per credit hour, about half of what
Boise State charges.
Students responded. Enrollment, which started at 1,200 in January 2009, swelled to more than
9,000 last fall.
Programs such as small-engine and power-sports repair enrolled 1,200 people when they were
still part of Boise State. At CWI in Nampa, they have nearly 1,800.
Enrollment figures don't count students taking noncredit courses. There were nearly 6,800 of
those in 2012. Some were sent by employers seeking to improve performance. Others were
people hoping to get in on the ground floor of the health industry by taking short-term classes in
certified nursing assistance or emergency medical technician training.
The school is still finding its way. For its biggest private benefactor, that's OK.
"After only four years, they should still be making adjustments and continuing to innovate," said
Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.
The foundation has spent millions of dollars encouraging Idaho high school graduates to
continue their educations and has donated millions more to CWI, including $13 million to
renovate the old Sam's Club store near CWI's main campus for vocational training.
Some business leaders credit CWI President Bert Glandon with responding quickly to demands.
"I think he does about 10 people's worth of work every day," said Clark Krause, executive
director of the Boise Valley Economic Partnership, the economic development arm of the Boise
chamber.
MacMillan said the professional-tech programs work with industry partners to see that the
college meets business needs.
CWI, like other Idaho community colleges, sends surveys to former vocational students and
relies on them to report their status.
In 2012, three-fourths of the 382 professional-technical students who completed programs in
2011 responded. Just over half said they were working in the fields for which they were trained.
Glandon says that's not good enough. If classes are to meet community needs, the figure should
be closer to 80 percent, he said.
CWI also tracks students in general education when they go on to other colleges to earn fouryear degrees. Just over half go to other colleges. Officials don't know what happens to the rest.
"(The) community would love to have specific, vetted information," Glandon said.
At Western States Equipment, a Caterpillar sales and service business headquartered in
Meridian, with locations in five states, the technician bay is stocked with CWI graduates from
the diesel mechanics program. They work on bulldozers, front-end loaders and other heavy
equipment.
In the past year, the company hired four CWI students for the shop at 500 E. Overland Road.
Over the past several years, the company has hired 10 to 12.
The Meridian shop has 40 heavy-equipment mechanics, and the starting wage is $15 to $18 an
hour.
"CWI students have exceeded our expectations compared to students hired from other
programs," said Cameron Pickett, employment coordinator.
The students have a depth of training that comes in part from taking classes at the Micron
Profession-Technical Education Center (the Micron Foundation, which donated $2.5 million,
won naming rights because the Albertson Foundation, which donated five times as much,
declined them.)
The center houses state-of-the-art equipment for many vocational programs. "(It's) close to what
is actually out in the industry," Pickett said.
Students are trained on diagnostic software for a variety of the products Carl's sells, including
Polaris, Honda and Suzuki, said Curtis Bjerke, the dealership's service manager. "Hopefully (the
school) will start using it more," he said.
The State Board of Education and the Idaho Department of Labor are working on a project,
funded by a $3 million federal grant, to get better information on what happens to students after
college.
The goal: Track students into the workplace and learn about their careers, while protecting
individual privacy.
Idaho's tracking system could tell where students go, what industries they are in and what kind of
wages they make, said Gabriel Reilly, an Idaho Department of Labor senior researcher.
Idaho is one of about 20 states working on the tracking - called a longitudinal data system - that
will eventually follow students from kindergarten into their jobs.
Information could guide schools in what occupations have the most demand and what wages
students can expect to earn.
Georgia has had a similar data warehouse for a dozen years showing what students in its 25
technical colleges earned as they entered school and what they earned afterward. Reports help
the state set educational policy and provide schools and taxpayers with a return on investment for
the money they put into educating students, said Andy Parsons, assistant commissioner of data
and research for Georgia's technical college system.
Georgia's plan is limited. It doesn't show the salaries and jobs of people working out of state.
Idaho's system, still in development, is expected to be running by 2015.
Some good education news to celebrate – (Commentary)
Posted: March 18, 2013
Those who have lamented Idaho's support for public schools have to be encouraged by the
modest 2.2 percent budget increase state budget writers recommended last week.
While it's still just a recommendation at this point, the Idaho Joint Finance-Appropriations
Committee has earned a solid reputation in recent years as being thorough and deliberate in its
budgeting, and its recommendations are seldom modified by any significant amount. If that holds
up this year, teachers would stand to see a well-deserved raise, with the first-year minimum
increasing from $30,500 to $31,000.
The Idaho Legislature has been ripped pretty hard in recent years, especially by the Idaho
Education Association - the state's teachers' union - over funding cuts to education. It's good to
see lawmakers finally restoring some of that.
It's also encouraging to see the community support for the Nampa School District, as nearly
three-fourths of those who voted in Tuesday's levy election cast their ballots in favor of the plan
to restructure existing bond debt to free up $4.3 million. While voters still remain justifiably
skeptical as to whether the district has made the necessary reforms and put in the necessary
safeguards to fully right the ship, the vote of confidence on Tuesday is an indication that the
public has confidence things are headed in the right direction.
Another solid indication of community support is the people who stepped up and provided the
funding necessary to allow Nampa's high schools to hold their graduations in the Idaho Center.
The district had scrapped that idea and planned to hold the ceremonies at the individual high
schools, but Above and Beyond Health & Absolute Home Health of Canyon County, Nampa
High School Booster Club and Nampa High School teacher Jim Kusterer pitched in to the tune of
$9,800, and the Idaho Center and city of Nampa will take care of the rest by splitting the $5
parking fees.
Much is expected of today's school system - a little too much in some quarters. Educators are too
often asked to be parents as well. It's tough, challenging work, and any positive news we can
send their way is always good.
Crunch time
By Christina Lords – Posted: March 17, 2013
BOISE -- Michaelena Hix has worked 13 years to develop the school curriculum for area
students.
In the coming months, the Bonneville Joint School District 93 curriculum director faces new
challenges as Idaho readies for the full enactment of the Common Core State Standards. The
changes are the biggest curriculum shifts facing students -- and teachers -- in years.
"(Teachers must) have a lot of support to implement the Common Core if we're going to do it the
way it needs to be implemented," Hix said.
The standards, which must be taught in classrooms by the 2013-14 school year, aim to develop
more rigorous college- and career-ready standards and assessments in math and English through
interdisciplinary learning.
Assessments based on the standards begin the following school year.
Idaho is one of 47 states adopting the standards.
Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, said the Legislature wants to do more to support teachers.
Thompson is a member of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, which approved $3.75
million for professional development for the Common Core this year.
Since 2009, Thompson has worked on the Common Core provisions at the national level as a
member of the Council for State Governments.
Thompson said misconceptions abound about where funding comes from for the standards.
"There probably could have been a lot better of a job (done) communicating to the public," he
said. "I know the general public in Bonneville County thinks this is driven by the federal
government ... it is not. It's a state-driven initiative. It's not tied into federal funding."
Idaho needs more comprehensive learning standards, he said, to keep its students competitive
with their counterparts around the world.
Last year, Thompson joined the council's Deeper Learning Focus Group, which includes 26
lawmakers and school administrators across the country who are encouraging adoption of the
standards nationwide.
"We have to invest in our teachers in order for them to be successful," he said. "We have to give
them the tools to let them be successful, and that comes down to funding."
Not everyone is on board with the effort.
Critics question the motivation of those advocating for the Common Core and point to what they
see as an unholy alliance between politicians; corporate college testing services, such as the
ACT; and textbook publishers, such as McGraw-Hill.
The critics also argue that there's no proof Common Core standards will improve education.
Marion Brady, a Cocoa, Fla.-based educator and author who has written many opinion columns
on the topic for The Washington Post, wrote in an Aug. 21 column: "They named their
handiwork the Common Core State Standards to hide the fact that it was driven by policymakers
in Washington, D.C., who thus far shoved it into every state except (Alaska, Nebraska and
Texas).
"This was done with insufficient public dialogue or feedback from experienced educators, no
research, no pilot or experimental programs -- no evidence at all that a floor-length list created
by unnamed people attempting to standardize what's taught is a good idea."
Time and money
The changes aren't without challenges.
Hix's biggest test is finding the time -- and money -- for training for teachers.
"We don't want drive-by professional development," Hix said. "We want professional
development that is ongoing."
Idaho Falls School District 91 Assistant Superintendent Trina Caudle agreed.
Caudle cited the need for more flexible spending for the district's discretionary dollars. That
flexibility would allow the district more opportunities for professional development and more
funding for up-to-date texts and materials critical to Common Core.
"Since 2008 and 2009, we've had about $8 million lost from our district in state funding," Caudle
said. "What happens is we have to cut that money from somewhere, and part of the process is we
cut our curriculum funding."
As lawmakers decide how to spend the lion's share of the state's general fund -- the public
schools budget -- members of the Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee on March 8 set aside
funding for the 2013-14 school year, specifically for professional development throughout the
state.
The nearly $1.31 billion K-12 budget for the 2013-14 school year -- a 2.2 percent increase from
this year's appropriation -- includes $21 million in block grants to provide teachers with more
development time.
Up to 40 percent of that $21 million will go to professional development for districts around the
state. The rest can be used by local districts to decide how to determine bonuses or pay-forperformance efforts.
That's on top of the $3.75 million professional development line item through Common Core,
Thompson said.
Getting to the core
Skyline High School English teacher Kristina Batalden, who has been a teacher in the district for
18 years, said the standards already have become commonplace among her language arts peers.
"We feel very comfortable using Common Core ... because we've been doing it for two years
now," she said. "I have noticed at other schools that it is a surprise for them, which surprises me,
because we've been using (the standards) for so long."
District 93 also has started using the Common Core teachings in some classes.
Because Common Core requires integration of multiple subjects to problem-solve, Caudle said,
teachers need more prep time learning how to teach that new material.
"Instead of covering a multitude of concepts," Caudle said, "the Common Core reduces the
number of concepts we teach, and we teach them more deeply. Not only does a student
understand an algorithm, they understand when to use it and when to apply it."
Batalden said District 91 teachers are prepared for the changes because they've already had
training. Batalden was able to join other teachers in Boise for a weeklong session about the
Common Core nearly two years ago.
"For teachers, it's hard to make giant change," she said. "They need time to wrap their brain
around it ... we rewrote the curriculum and had to share that with our peers. Our other teachers
who weren't able to go to Boise weren't as ready for the change.
"That's why professional development time helps so much. It makes it concrete for the teacher."
The standards also encourage teachers to step away from outdated textbooks and encourage
students to learn from primary and secondary sources, including online resources, Caudle said.
"It's all about getting our students to a higher plateau of learning," Thompson said. "It's all about
critical thinking. It's all about thinking outside the box and not just coming to an answer, but
asking why is that the answer."
The use of technology and nonfiction-based reading materials encourage students to learn
concepts that will prepare them for college or the workplace, both Caudle and Hix said.
Under the standards, children in fourth grade should be reading nonfiction and fiction at a 50/50
ratio, Hix said. By the time they're in high school, that ratio shifts to 70/30.
"We know that with college and workplace demands, people are pushing for a shift for more
complex texts," Hix said. "That has to happen for our country to stay competitive globally. ... If
our county wants to stay economically strong, we have to have a stronger educational system.
That's what Common Core does."
How to pay for it
A breakdown of the $3.75 million in state funding for the Common Core State Standards in the
2013-14 school year:
English language arts and literacy: $280,000
Mathematics: $280,000
Curriculum mapping, unit planning: $1.5 million
Building capacity, regional support: $1.34 million
Higher education partnerships: $300,000
Communication and publications (booklets and pamphlets to inform parents, teachers and
administrators): $50,000
On the internet
Idaho's Common Core State Standards:
www.corestandards.org
Panel backs tax credits for scholarship donations
By John Miller – Associated Press – Posted: March 16, 2013
BOISE -- A House committee on Friday backed giving tax credits to those who donate to private
and religious school scholarships, saying it will promote school choice for people who don't
think the traditional public classroom is right for their kids.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 12-4 to offer tax credits -- a sum deducted
from the total a taxpayer owes the state -- on money that people and companies direct to
scholarship funds that are meant to benefit students attending private schools.
The House will now debate the measure.
The bill would provide tax credits worth up to $10 million each year, enough for scholarships for
about 3,000 students annually. Coeur d'Alene Republican Sen. Bob Nonini, the measure's
sponsor, said this could actually save Idaho money in the long run because reducing public
school enrollment would also cut Idaho's per-student funding obligation.
Among those who testified at the meeting for the measure was Shelly Matthews, founder of
LAM Christian Academy in Coeur d'Alene.
The 13-year-old Lutheran-affiliated, K-through-5 school is at the mercy of the economy, she
said. When it's in the doldrums, some parents don't have the resources to pay the $4,500 tuition
and are forced to look elsewhere.
"When the numbers go down, when the economy is difficult, our numbers go down, and we have
to adjust our budget," Matthews said. "This is a kind of bill that could help those parents."
Foes included the Idaho Education Association, which argued that the tax credits would just
funnel tax dollars to religious schools.
Schools that lose students to private or religious-based competitors might no longer bear the
financial burden of educating them, but they continue to face unyielding fixed costs such as
buses, maintenance and repairs, said Paul Stark, the teachers union's top lawyer in Idaho.
"The net effect is, the funds of the state are reduced, and the funds of the private schools are
increased," he said. "For a public school, there's no savings whatsoever."
Just one Republican, Rep. Neil Anderson of Blackfoot, opposed the measure.
A rancher, he compared the potential shift in funding to the everyday reality he experiences on
his spread in eastern Idaho: If he has 98 cows instead of 100, he still faces roughly the same
costs. Hay costs run about the same for the slightly smaller herd, and the tractor still needs gas.
"The more we take money from them, the more they come to resemble a ghost town," Anderson
said of public schools. "We ought to work on sustaining our communities. Let's take care of our
town -- not abandon it in favor of the one over the ridge."
This proposal is similar to one Nonini introduced in the waning days of the 2012 Legislature and
is being promoted by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, as well as a separate private foundation
linked to the late Milton Friedman and the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange
Council.
From the Idaho Business Review
No New Education Stories Posted Online Today
From the Idaho Education News
House Ed introduces five new bills
By Clark Corbin – Posted: March 18, 2013
Working quickly Monday, the House Education Committee introduced five new bills – and fasttracked two to skip full hearings.
All of the bills received bipartisan, unanimous support, and none of the education stakeholders in
attendance signaled any opposition.
The two fast-tracked bills were offered by Jason Hancock, deputy chief of staff for the Idaho
State Department of Education.
One is a change of a code reference to online courses, necessitated by the repeal of the Students
Come First laws.
The second allows school districts to have flexibility with two-thirds of the money from the
state’s school facilities maintenance match program. Hancock described the bill as a one-year
policy move that needs to be reauthorized annually. He said the two-thirds portion would first be
reduced by the amount of money needed to cover a district’s plant facilities levy or safety issues
brought up in an official inspection.
Additionally, the flexibility to use two-thirds of that money for discretionary spending is
decreasing this year; districts once had flexibility for the entire amount.
Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, suggested fast-tracking the bills, since
legislative leaders are hoping to adjourn the session this month.
Committee members sent the bills to the House’s second reading calendar, skipping the normal
committee hearing process.
House Education approved three other bills that are likely to come back for hearings:
University governance. Committee members introduced a rewritten version of House
Bill 282, giving the State Board of Education “exclusive authority and responsibility” for
expenditures, human resources, land use, insurance coverage and purchasing for Idaho
universities.
Boise State University representative and former House Speaker Bruce Newcomb said the bill
would bring the University of Idaho under the authority of the state board, not the Board of
Regents.
“The purpose of this bill is to put us all (on) the same status, level the playing field for all of the
university system so (every institution) has the same rights and same status under the state
board,” Newcomb said.
The tweaked bill would not become law until 2014. It also contains a “sunset clause” that will
make it expire on June 30, 2016.
Escrow accounts. Rep. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, introduced a bill designed to pair with
House Bill 259. Ward-Engelking’s bill puts a teacher’s pay into an escrow account when a
teacher is placed on unpaid leave due to a court order. If the teacher is found not guilty or
charges are dropped, the money in that escrow account would go back to the teacher once a
substitute has been paid.
“In this country we have a presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Ward-Engelking said.
Teacher evaluations. Deputy Superintendent of Education Nick Smith pushed a bill relating to
teacher evaluations and Idaho’s waiver for federal No Child Left Behind laws. The bill would
require every teacher receive an annual evaluation, including two observations.
ISBA Capitol Notes
By Karen Echeveria – Posted: March 18, 2013
What is Happening With the FY13 Fix to Reimburse School Districts for the Funds Lost With
the Repeal of the Props
HB65 passed the House and has been on hold in the Senate Education Committee for couple of
weeks. This past week we met with stakeholders to discuss possible amendments to the
bill. The amendments centered around how technology can be used and some criteria for pilot
programs. After discussions with the stakeholders, Education Chairs, and Superintendent Luna,
it is my belief that this bill will also move forward without amendments.
While there were some good discussions around technology and pilot programs, we believe this
is better done in separate legislation for next year. It is late in the session and we don’t want
anything to hold up this very important funding bill. We lobbied to have it move forward it its
current form and to deal with these other issues next year.
I believe we will see this bill on the Senate Education agenda this week where we will stand in
full support of the bill.
K12 Public Education Budget
There have been some questions about the K12 public education budget. Not everyone is in
favor of the bill. There are concerns that the $12 million placed on the grid should actually go
into the Public Education Stabilization Fund (PESF). The bill will go to the House Floor first
but, to my knowledge has not yet been printed.
Prior to the bill being presented to JFAC, we worked with stakeholders and Superintendent Luna
to get as many increases to the budget as possible. While we would like to see more dollars
placed in discretionary funds, we received assurances that the legislature will look at those funds
next year. For this year, most of the funding has been focused on refunding the grid to the
greatest extent possible.
In my 20 years of working with the legislature, I have never seen a budget bill that was not
passed. So, despite the objections, I believe the education budget as approved by the Joint
Finance Appropriations Committee will pass. We believe it is a good budget for school
districts. It contains:
An overall 2% increase in funding
Both steps on the grid that were previously frozen have been funded
The 1.67% that was previously reduced has been reinstated
There is a slight increase in discretionary fund
In addition, there are some one time monies that will be distributed. Those dollars are the
Governor’s recommendation for education reform and were supported by Superintendent
Luna. Here is a breakdown of those funds.
$21 million for Differential Pay (Pay for Performance)
40% can be used for Professional Development for Common Core
School districts do not have to apply for these dollars
Plans will be created at the school district level
$13.4 million will be expended or distributed for various technology items
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AND LABOR BILLS
HEADING DOWN THE FINAL STRETCH
Below is a breakdown of the bills that are currently moving forward and that are related to our
Resolution #3. The three bills that we started on the House side are moving through very
smoothly. They passed out of the House Education Committee and have passed on the House
Floor. They are all headed to the Senate Education Committee for debate, discussion, and a vote.
The four bills that we started in the Senate, as well as the Charter School bills got caught up with
some discussions about the FY14 budget and the FY13 “fix it” bill (HB65). There were some
legislators who are hoping to amend both of the budget bills and the labor and charter bills were
being held in an effort to find some sort of consensus.
We worked very hard this past week to make sure that we got all these bills moving. It is getting
late in the session and we need to make sure we get them through both chambers. I remain
confident that we will still be successful.
So What Are the Final Bills and Where Are We in the Process?
Below I have listed the pieces of legislation and where we are in the process
HB163 – Electronic Signatures
To provide for the orderly business operations for school districts and public charter schools with
regard to setting dates certain for confirmation of personnel employment status at a time so as to
allow for the board’s full consideration in setting the school’s annual fiscal budget. To provide
for the cost saving and time saving process of allowing for electronic delivery of standard
contracts to professional employees while still assuring receipt of the electronic delivery prior to
taking negative action for non-response. Every contract return in email version saves local
districts the certified mail cost which is currently $5.75.
Status: LAW
HB259 – Unpaid Leave
To provide for the orderly operation of district business in association with the financial
limitations public schools face, to set out the requirements for voluntary and involuntary leaves
of absence.
Status: This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.
HB260 – Last Best Offer and Mediation
To continue to allow for a mediation process in the event the parties are not able to come to
agreement but to clarify that any such mediation be completed no later than June 10 of each year.
To provide for a negotiations process between school personnel while at the same time providing
clarification and detail to the process necessary to allow districts to have finality to costs prior to
the conclusion of the annual budgeting process, allowing for the orderly operation of district
business. In an effort to collect good data on the effectiveness of the imposition of a last best
offer, a one year sunset clause is included.
Status: This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.
HB261 – Reduction in Force and Seniority
To provide for orderly business operations for public school districts and public charter schools
when faced with the need to reduce professional personnel and allowing for such to be done
without incurring additional costs and expenses when already strained financial resources of a
public school have resulted in the need to engage in a staffing reduction. To provide that when
considering a reduction in professional personnel, seniority cannot be the only factor used. To
provide that a school district may set out policy for the equitable recall of those individuals who
were subject to the reduction in force in an effort to collect good data on the effectiveness of the
use of other criteria in addition to seniority when implementing a reduction in force, a one year
sunset clause is included.
Status: This bill has passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.
SB1098 – Open Negotiations
To provide for a negotiations process that is open to the public.
Status: This bill has passed both the House and Senate Floors and is headed to the Governor.
SB1147 – One Year Agreement/Evergreen
To provide for the orderly operation of public school district and public charter school business.
To provide for a one year duration of all agreements with regard to salaries, benefits, and any
items with a direct or indirect cost to the school district’s budget, and to allow for a two year
duration of all agreements with regard to other items between a public school district or pubic
charter school and the professional personnel of the district, consistent with the timing of and
duration of the fiscal year of the school.
Given the timing and duration of such agreements, the fact-finding process, and expensive
advisory process, is neither cost-effective nor timely. In an effort to collect good data on the
effectiveness of one-year agreements, a one year sunset clause is included.
Status: This bill had an initial hearing in Senate Education last week and will be voted on
Monday.
SB1148 – Reducing Salaries
To provide for the orderly operation of district business in association with the financial
limitations public schools face, allowing for uniform application of an increase or reduction of
salary for professional personnel or for the uniform application to lengthen or shorten the
contract for professional personnel. To set out the date of July 1 as the last date that all contracts
must be distributed. To provide for the issuance of letters of intent if the school district chooses.
To allow for a single informal review should the length of term or salary be reduced. In an effort
to collect good data on the impacts and effectiveness of giving local school boards this ability, a
one year sunset clause is included.
Status: This bill had an initial hearing in Senate Education last week and will be voted on
Monday.
SB1149 – 50% + 1 and Majority Ratification
To provide for a negotiations process whereby there is assurance of majority representation, if
requested by the local school board; and to provide for majority ratification, confirming good
faith activities by both parties, allowing for the orderly operation of district business.
Status: This bill is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.
SB1150 – De Novo Hearings
To limit the impact of costly litigation of employment disputes based upon state statutory claims
while retaining due process rights and a teacher’s right to sue for federal and other such
applicable claims.
Status: This bill is scheduled to be heard on Wednesday.
Competing Business Personal Property Tax Bills
This past week, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee had two open meetings. Many
people testified on both sides of this issue, but most testified in favor of the bill that the
Association of Counties, Association of Idaho Cities, and the Idaho School Boards Association
had submitted. Unfortunately, the Committee did not vote on either of these bills.
Instead, new legislation is being drafted with more amendments. It is my understanding that it
will be printed in House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and go back to the House
Revenue and Taxation Committee later that week for more discussion and hopefully a vote by
the Committee.
USE IT OR LOSE IT
I know many of you have been concerned about the current use it or lose it provision. The IASA
did get HB275 printed this last week. This bill keeps the provision in place that allows school
districts to hire 9.5% fewer teachers than they are eligible to hire. This bill also has a one year
sunset clause. The purpose of the sunset clause is to see if the Governor’s Education Task Force
addresses this issue. If they do not, we will most likely rewrite this legislation to allow for a
phase out of no lower than 5%. This bill has passed the House Education Committee and is
currently on the House Floor.
UPDATE ON THE JOKI LAWSUIT
Last week the court heard a number of pending motions in Dr. Joki’s lawsuit. This included a
Motion to Dismiss for the State Defendants (i.e. The Idaho Legislature, the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction, etc). During this hearing, the Judge ruled in favor of the State Defendants
and dismissed the claims against them. What this means is that the causes of action that were
being pursued against the state (as opposed to the various school districts) no longer exists. The
Court found that there was no causal link between school districts who charged fees and the
state. The second cause of action, which Mr. Huntley indicated was about funding for school
facilities, was dismissed due to the failure of Dr. Joki to follow the statutory requirements to file
a constitutional claim against the state. Even if those prerequisites had been followed, the court
indicated that it would throw the case out anyway because it was not pled properly. It is fair to
state that the hearing’s argument was the first time anyone knew that this second cause of action
had anything to do with school facilities.
Dr. Joki and Mr. Huntley have stated on a number of occasions that the state and not the school
districts was the true target. During the hearing, comments to the contrary were stated, leading
us to believe that it is unlikely that Dr. Joki and Mr. Huntley will stop the action against the
schools and appeal the dismissal of the state defendants.
Good news for a number of the school district defendants did come out of this hearing. Mr.
Huntley was pressured by the Court and consented to dismiss out all of the school districts that
had not yet been served in the lawsuit So, for the lucky approximately 50 Districts who have
not been formally served the lawsuit, they have been dismissed out of the case. The schools
dismissed from the School Consortium have received or will specifically receive notice that they
are no longer part of this lawsuit.
On April 1st there is another round of hearings scheduled before the Court. These hearings will
relate to the first round of attempt to dismiss additional school defendants from the suit as well as
our attempt to prevent Dr. Joki from certifying his lawsuit as a class action. Given comments
made by the Court during the hearing of last week, we have hope that there will be an additional
dismissal of school districts from the lawsuit.
OTHER LEGISLATION
HB0065 – FY13 Funding from SCF
This legislation brings back the $30.1 million in funding for FY13 that was lost in the repeal of
Students Come First.
Status: Passed the House Floor and is headed to the Senate Education Committee.
Note: I believe this bill will be heard in Senate Education and that it will move through without
any edits.
HB72 – Charitable Contributions to School Foundations
Under current Idaho Code Section 63-3029A, voluntary donations to qualified higher education
institutions, elementary or secondary institutions and specified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations
located in Idaho receive an income tax credit for charitable contributions. In order to take
advantage of these credits, many eligible entities are required to form separately governed
nonprofit foundations that are tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3). This
amendment would establish a mechanism through the Idaho Community Foundation whereby
small organizations would have the option to deposit their funds into a dedicated account. This
dedicated account would be established to exclusively support the charitable purpose that would
otherwise qualify the donor for the tax credit.
Status: LAW
HB0084 – Clarifies Procedures for Inspection After Building Deemed Unsafe
This legislation deals with those school districts that have a building that has been deemed
unsafe by the Division of Building Safety but the school district is still unable to get a bond
passed. It clarifies several issues. This legislation would amend section 33-909, Idaho code to
specify that all approved projects remain under the purview of the panel until finalized. These
changes will eliminate any jurisdictional conflicts with local agencies by specifying the Division
of Building Safety’s responsibility in regards to inspection and issuance of certificates of
occupancy.
Status: LAW
HB205 – Repealing the Freeze on the Grid for Education Credits
This legislation deals with the frozen movement on the state’s funding grid for educator salaries
for those educators who earned additional college credits applicable to FY11. SB 1184 (2011)
previously repealed this freeze. The repeal of SB 1184 through Proposition 3 reinstated the
freeze. This legislation reinstates the repeal of the freeze, which will allow school districts to
receive full state funding for actual college credits earned by their professional educator
employees.
Status: This bill was put on hold for several days in the Senate Education Committee but is
scheduled for a hearing on Monday. There will likely be friendly amendments to this bill.
HB206 – Facility Funding for Charter Schools
This legislation includes the financial components of the recommendations made by a group of
stakeholders that met and examined Idaho’s charter school laws from June 2012 through
February 2013. The two recommendations with fiscal impact include a new requirement that
charter schools pay an authorizer fee to the entity that authorized their charter and oversees their
performance. The purpose of this fee is to help defray the authorizer’s cost of providing
oversight, and in defraying such costs, to encourage more school districts to act as authorizers for
charter schools.
The second recommendation with a fiscal impact involves the creation of a state facilities
funding stream for charter schools. Currently, charter schools have no discrete, identified source
of revenue to pay for their facility costs. School districts pay for facilities through voter
authorization of bond and plant facility levies. In addition, school districts have received state
subsidies for bond levy repayment costs since FY04. Charter schools, lacking these sources of
revenue, must divert state funds intended for employee salaries and operating costs to pay for
facilities.
The state facilities funding created for charter schools by this legislation is pegged to a
percentage of the average amount of facility levy funds being raised by school districts, on a per
student basis.
For FY14, the distribution would be equal 20% this amount. For FY15, this percentage would
increase to 30%. After this, the percentage would increase or decrease in 10% increments, based
on triggers built around the level of increase or decrease in the public schools appropriation. The
percentage is limited to a low of 20% and a high of 50%.
Status: This bill has passed the House Floor and had a partial hearing in the Senate Education
Committee. It is scheduled to be heard again on Monday.
HB218 – School Bond Amortization
A number of provisions in the Idaho Code governing issuance of school bonds need to be
updated, modernized and made consistent with other provisions of Idaho Code. The legislation
eliminates obsolete provisions. It also replaces vague language with objective measures of when
a school district’s bond amortization plan requires the approval of the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction, and specifically limits bond amortization to no more than 30 years. The
legislation eliminates conflicting provisions relating to refunding/refinancing bonds, and makes a
technical correction for refunding bonds relating to compliance with the State bond guaranty
program under Chapter 53 of Title 33, Idaho Code.
Status: This bill passed the House Floor and the Senate Education Committee and it is headed
to the Senate Floor.
HB221 – Charter School Oversight
This legislation includes the governance and oversight components of the recommendations
made by a group of stakeholders that met and examined Idaho’s charter school laws from June
2012 through February 2013. The major recommendations in this legislation are as follows:
1.) Eliminate notices of defect.
2.) Require periodic renewals of all public charter schools.
3.) Create performance contracts for charter schools.
4.) Create a process that allows school-district authorized charter schools to become LEAs.
5.) Allow the State Department of Education to reduce the front-loading of charter school
funding if notified by the school’s authorizer that the school is fiscally unsound.
6.) Provide for procedures upon dissolution of a charter school.
7.) Allow additional authorizers (Colleges & Universities and certain approved 501(c)(3)
organizations).
8.) Establish standards and oversight for 501(c)(3) organizations that wish to become charter
school authorizers.
9.) Allow for direct approval of public charter schools by Colleges & Universities and approved
501(c)(3) organizations, while maintaining the law’s current school district notification and
feedback procedures.
10.) Reform the qualifications and appointing authorities for members of the Public Charter
School Commission, to better align Idaho law with best practices.
Status: This bill has passed the House Floor and will be heard in the Senate Education
Committee on Monday. There will likely be friendly amendments to this bill.
HB224 – Contract Transition
This legislation clarifies that the employments contracts signed by educators for the 2012-2013
school year will continue to be governed by the laws that existed at the time the contracts were
entered into. While the state’s legal guidance to school districts has been that this is already the
case, this legislation provides greater certainty, and in doing so, seeks to prevent unnecessary
lawsuits.
Status: This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on
the Senate Floor.
HB225 – Flooring Protection Clarification
This legislation clarifies which version of Section 33-1003, Idaho Code is current law. After the
repeal of SB 1108 (2011) through Proposition 1, the Attorney General’s Office has written that
the version established separately and more recently by HB 603 (2012) takes precedence over the
2010 version of the statute. The published version of Idaho Code, however, does not recognize
the changes brought about by HB 603 in 2012, and show Section 33-1003 reverting to its 2010
version after the repeal of SB 1108. This legislation clarifies that it is the version passed in HB
603 by the 2012 Legislature that is the current version of Section 33-1003. HB 603 (2012)
established a self-funded, 97% ADA funding protection for Idaho school districts, starting in
FY13. This replaced the 97% state funded ADA funding protection that was put in place for one
year only for FY12.
Status: This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on
the Senate Floor.
HB226 – Alternative School Funding
This legislation provides a way to calculate support units for the Idaho Youth Challenge
program. Under the state’s current laws and rules, the State Department of Education would be
unable to recognize all of the students who attend the program, due to its accelerated, cohortbased approach to education.
Status: This bill passed the House Floor and Senate Education Committee and is currently on
the Senate Floor.
HB227 – Tax Credits
This bill provides a credit on state income taxes to individuals and corporations that make
donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s) that provide scholarships to qualified K12 students attending approved schools.
FISCAL NOTE
The bill provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship
granting organizations (SGO’s). For individuals, the credit is equal to the full amount of the
donation. For corporations, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation up to 50% of the
corporate taxpayer’s total state tax liability. The total amount of credits is limited to $10 million
in each fiscal year. If the cap is reached, the cap will automatically increase according to the
increase in the consumer price index. There are restrictions on which students qualify for
scholarships under the program. Eligibility is limited to students who:
a.) have household incomes less than 150% of the maximum income that can be earned to
qualify for the national free and reduced price lunch program (185% of the federal poverty
level), and
b.) attended a public school in the preceding semester, are entering kindergarten or first grade, or
are starting school in Idaho for the first time, and
c.) reside in Idaho and attend a school located in Idaho while receiving an educational
scholarship.
Projected state savings: $3,350,672
Projected local savings: $2,490,900
Projected savings overall: $5,841,572
Status: This bill has been held and a new bill has been printed.
HB275 – Use it or Lose It
This legislation allows Public Schools use it or lose it flexibility in staffing certificated
positions. A district may employ nine and one-half percent (9.5%) fewer positions without a
reduction in the number of funded positions being imposed.
Status: This bill has passed the House Education Committee and is currently on the House
Floor.
HB286 – School Vouchers
This bill provides a credit on state income taxes to individuals and corporations that make
donations to scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s) that provide scholarships to qualified K12 students attending approved schools.
FISCAL NOTE
The bill provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that make donations to scholarship
granting organizations (SGO’s). For individuals, the credit is equal to the full amount of the
donation. For corporations, the credit is equal to the full amount of the donation up to 50% of the
corporate taxpayer’s total state tax liability. The total amount of credits is limited to $10 million
in each fiscal year. If the cap is reached, the cap will automatically increase according to the
increase in the consumer price index. There are restrictions on which students qualify for
scholarships under the program. Eligibility is limited to students who:
a.) have household incomes less than 150% of the maximum income that can be earned to
qualify for the national free and reduced price lunch program (185% of the federal poverty
level), and
b.) attended a public school in the preceding semester, are entering kindergarten or first grade, or
are starting school in Idaho for the first time, and
c.) reside in Idaho and attend a school located in Idaho while receiving an educational
scholarship.
Projected state savings: $3,350,672
Projected local savings: $2,490,900
Projected savings overall: $5,841,572
Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the
House Floor.
HB295 – Calculation of Education Support Units
This legislation restores the ability of the State Department of Education to calculate support
units to the nearest hundredth, rather than the nearest tenth. This ability was lost through the
repeal of S1184 and related laws through Proposition 3, which caused a reversion to Idaho’s
2010 version of Section 33-1002. Calculating to the nearest hundredth allows funding to more
accurately follow each student.
Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the
House Floor.
HB307 – Use of Funds Related to 1.67% Placed Back on the Grid
Reductions in state funding for salary-based apportionment during the FY10-FY12 period caused
school districts to reduce the number of certificated instructional positions, reduce the number of
contract days, or a combination of the two. This legislation directs that the additional 1.67% in
salary-based apportionment funds that will be distributed to school districts as a result of the
removal of the “5th factor” shift in salary-based apportionment be utilized in FY14 either to
increase the number of certificated instructional positions or number of contract days, as
compared to FY13, or a combination of the two.
Status – This bill has passed the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and is headed to the
House Floor.
HCR003 – Cursive Writing
This is a concurrent resolution, not a statutory change. This concurrent resolution requests that
the State Board of Education commence rulemaking to provide that cursive handwriting be
taught in the public schools of the State of Idaho.
Status: ADOPTED
SB1005 – Prohibits SBOE from Passing Online Requirement
This legislation establishes a prohibition on the establishment of online class requirements for
high school graduation by the State Board of Education or the State Department of Education
without the express authorization of the Idaho Legislature.
Status: WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD
SB1026 – Signatures for Referenda
While this legislation is not education related, if passed, it will have an impact on any referenda
that may be brought forward in the future. This legislation addresses the balance between urban
and rural voters in the question of qualifying initiatives or referendums for the ballot. It would
require collecting signatures of not less than 6% of registered voters in each of at least 22 Idaho
legislative districts, provided that the total number of signatures equals at least 6% of the number
of registered voters in the state.
Status: This bill was pulled and rewritten in a new form.
SB1028 – Mastery Advancement Program
This bill would end the pilot phase for the Mastery Advancement Program, removing language
limiting the availability to school districts and the duration of the program.
Status: LAW
SB1054 – High School Reading Requirement
This bill would require all high school students to read Atlas Shrugged before graduating. The
sponsor indicates that in an age when personal responsibility is waning, this high school
graduation requirement will stimulate debate.
Status: WILL NOT BE HEARD
SB1055 – Posting Information on the District Website
This legislation reinstates requirement that school budgets and master labor agreements be
posted on a district’s website.
Status: This bill passed both the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor for
signature.
SB1056 – Denying Enrollment for Convicted Felons
This legislation would require the School Board to deny enrollment at any of its schools to
anyone who has been imprisoned for one year or more, unless five years or more have elapsed
since their pardon. We have strong reservations about this bill and the requirement that all
students remain in school. In addition, the Department of Corrections also has concerns about
this legislation
Status: THIS BILL WILL NOT BE HEARD
SB1057aa – Instructional Staff Time Allowance to Visit Parents
The purpose of this bill is to facilitate kindergarten teachers visiting with parents to help
strengthen the working relationship between the teacher, the parents or guardians, and the
student.
Status: This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.
SB1085 – School Counseling Act
This legislation would direct that Idaho schools provide, on a full time basis, a ratio of one (1)
school counselor per three hundred twenty-five (325) students, as well as providing for an
experience and education multiplier to determine counselors’ salaries.
Status: THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD
SB1086 – Education Class Sizes
This legislation would establish a maximum number of students assigned to each teacher, with
these limits being eighteen (18) students per class for grades K through 3, twenty-two (22)
students per class for grades 4 through 8, and twenty-five (25) for grades 9 through 12.
Status: THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD
SB1087 – Academic Progress for Driver’s Licenses
Proof of attendance in school has been a requirement for obtaining a driver’s license for
applicants under the age of 18. This bill would also require applicants to provide proof that they
are making satisfactory academic progress. The express intent of this bill is to provide an
incentive for improving student learning.
Status: THIS BILL DID NOT PASS THE SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE SO IS DEAD
SB1088 – School District Consolidation
This legislation provides for a protocol to identify districts that would see financial savings by
consolidating services, as well as providing for incentives to encourage consolidation.
Status: THIS BILL WILL LIKELY NOT BE HEARD
SB1089 – Teacher Early Retirement Incentive Program
This legislation repeals the Early Retirement Incentive program for teachers. This program
distributes bonuses to teachers who are at least age 55 and are retiring before age 63 and before
reaching their PERSI Rule of 90. The bonuses are paid over the summer, after completion of
their teaching duties. The program was originally established in 1996 as a way to encourage the
retirement of teachers who did not wish to receive technology training and incorporate
technology into instruction. All remaining teachers have long since received this training, and it
has been a requirement in Idaho teacher preparation programs for many years. It has been
claimed that this program saves the state money by encouraging more higher paid, veteran
teachers to retire and be replaced by younger, lower paid teachers. However, Idaho’s actual
experience has shown that the number of teachers retiring early has remained essentially
unchanged during the most recent two years, in which the program was repealed, as compared to
the previous five years. Thus, the program does not appear to have functioned as an incentive to
encourage more teachers to retire, but rather, as an extra bonus to those who would have retired
regardless. This legislation ensures that these scarce dollars remain in the classroom, as they
have been in FY12 and FY13, and are not diverted to pay bonuses to those who are no longer
teaching.
Status: This bill passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.
SB1090 – Financial Emergency
Amends Idaho Code § 33-552 “Financial Emergency” by lowering two separate requirements for
a local school district to declare a financial emergency, should financial conditions exist that
would require the district to reduce personnel costs. Requires that the Reduction in Force (RIF)
decisions, which are at the sole discretion of the board of trustees, not be made solely on
seniority or contract status; further requires school districts to adopt policies establishing the
methods to recall individuals who have been part of a RIF.
Status: This bill was passed the Senate Education Committee and is headed to the Senate Floor.
SB1091a – IDLA Funding
This legislation creates a stable, long-term funding formula for the Idaho Digital Learning
Academy (IDLA), establishes a portal for online classes, reestablishes the dual credit for the
early completers program and makes technical changes to the “8 in 6″ legislation.
Status: This bill was amended and passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the
Governor.
SB1092 – Increased Funding for Math and Science Teachers
This legislation reinstates ongoing formula-driven funding for school districts and public charter
schools to meet the state’s increased high school graduation requirements for math and science
courses, which start with the Class of 2013. SB 1184 (2011) previously provided this funding to
hire additional math and science teachers, or pay for the necessary online math and science
classes, at local school district discretion. The repeal of SB 1184 through Proposition 3
eliminated this funding for schools.
Status: This bill passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.
Karen’s Note: It was interesting that that the IEA testified against this bill in both the Senate and
the House. We are unclear what the motive was, but they indicated that they would prefer to
wait for the Governor’s Education Task Force to make recommendations.
SB1093 – Transportation Funding
This legislation codifies the Legislature’s approach to budgeting for public school pupil
transportation costs and discretionary funds, which has been in place for FY11, FY12 and FY13.
Under this approach, intent language was included in the appropriation bill which set aside the
provisions of Section 33-1006, Idaho Code, reduced pupil transportation reimbursements by $7.5
million, and transferred the savings to state discretionary funds for public schools. This
legislation eliminates the need to continue setting aside Idaho Code through intent language by
moving that language into Idaho Code.
Status: This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Education Committee and is currently on
the House Floor.
SB1097a – Educating Out of State Students
This legislation will prevent Idaho school districts from having to use Idaho taxpayer funds to
educate out-of-state students who are placed in Idaho group homes.
Status: This bill was amended and passed the Senate and House Floors and is headed to the
Governor.
SB1098 – Open Negotiations
To provide for a negotiations process that is open to the public.
Status: This bill passed the Senate Floor and House Floors and is headed to the Governor.
SB1133 – School Security Plans
Intent of this legislation is to bring the complimentary core competencies of Local School Boards
and Local Law Enforcement together to create, then continuously measure and improve the
effectiveness of, the security and safety measures in Idaho’s K-12 Schools and transportation
systems.
Having a much better understanding of the available resources within the local districts, the
County Sheriffs, or their designees, will work with the local School Boards in creating, training
to, and measuring the effectiveness of, individual school security and safety plans. To ensure
continuous improvement, these plans will annually be measured for effectiveness, have
student/staff training held, identify issues and corrections to those issues made. These measures
will then be reported annually to the State Department of Education, securely (FOUO), to act as
a central repository of measure for school safety and security that are to be used in the case of an
incident, as well as a repository for lessons learned that can be used in other Districts.
The results of all metrics regarding school security and safety are added to and will be exempt
from Freedom of Information Act Requests in accordance with ID code 9-340B (Records
Exempt from Disclosure).
Status: This bill passed the Senate Floor and is headed to the House Education Committee.
OTHER ISBA LEGISLATION
Funding – Resolution #1
This resolution contains many elements – all related to funding of public education in some
way. Below is a breakdown of the pieces we are currently working on:
Bringing Back Use it or Lose it on a Permanent Basis
This bill passed the House Education Committee and is currently on the House Floor. While we
had hoped to have a permanent bill, this bill will have a one year sunset. There is an expectation
that the Governor’s Education Task Force will address this issue. We will continue to support
this legislation.
Lottery Funds and Building Maintenance
One of the elements found in our Resolution #1 was to move the Lottery Funds back into
building maintenance rather that allowing it to be used as discretionary funds. While the
Governor’s proposed budget did make that change, Superintendent Luna’s budget proposal
contained one-quarter of the replacement dollars. He indicated that if approved, he will ask for
full replacement next year. We will support the Superintendent’s budget on this issue.
Charter School Oversight – Resolution #2
As previously indicated, we were able to come to agreement with the IASA, SDE, the Charter
School Network, and the Charter School Coalition. There are definitely parts we like and parts
that we don’t particularly care for. I always say that when both parties like some and don’t like
some that it is probably a good piece of legislation. That is the case here.
We agreed to print two bills. One bill will have all the charter school oversight language in it
(we like this part) and the ability for multiple authorizers (not so crazy about this). The second
bill will contain funding that will go to authorizers (we like this part) and funding to charter
schools for facilities (again, not so crazy about this). Both bills have been printed. HB206 and
HB221.
There will be a net fiscal impact because of the facilities funding piece, but we feel that we
struck as good a deal as we could. We agreed to support the oversight bill and remain quiet on
the facilities funding bill.
PERSI Retirement for Employees in Four Day School Weeks – Resolution # 5
We have had several meetings with PERSI and have discussed the issue with superintendents in
four day school weeks. Because this is a rule amendment and not a legislative issue, we have a
little more time to complete this. We do believe that PERSI is making some assumptions that
may not be accurate and thus affecting the retirement of four day school week employees. Once
the legislature has slowed down, we will pursue this more fully.
Increasing Supplemental Levies to Three (3) Years – Resolution #7
This legislation would allow school districts to run a supplemental levy for 1, 2, or 3
years. Currently, the maximum length of time for a supplemental levy is two years. We have
had this resolution before and have been unable to find a sponsor for the legislation. The
Boundary County School District is currently working to find a sponsor.
Non-Certificated Personnel Grievance – Resolution #8
Both the Kellogg and Meridian school districts have agreed on language on this bill. This
legislation may be sidelined for this year. We have a lot on our plates and aren’t sure we can get
this done this year. We will hold this for next year.
Link to Legislation:
If you want to view the actual language of any piece of legislation, click here.
 Gov. Otter should share polling data
By Travis Manning – Posted: March 18, 2013
My hat is off to Gov. Butch Otter for establishing a task force last fall, after the defeat of Props
1, 2 & 3, to spearhead substantive recommendations for improving public education in
Idaho. This working group has met several times already and will hold public meetings in April
to discuss education reform issues statewide, finalizing recommendations before the 2014
legislative session.
For his efforts, the governor deserves a pat on the back and a thank you. This working group is
doing now what Mr. Luna, the governor, and legislative leaders should have done three years ago
— a year before they steamrolled their sweeping reform package through the Legislature,
without stakeholders, and against a vast public outcry.
Gov. Otter’s education committee is the type of group that makes democracy shine (despite it
being a bit stacked with “his people”) and is the type of democracy in action that the state of
Idaho needs and deserves. True stakeholders engaged in civil discourse, involving the public,
carefully researching the issues, and working prudently and deliberately to ascertain best
practices for improving schools in the state of Idaho, is important work.
However, Gov. Otter receives a goose egg in the area of transparency, as it relates to an exit poll
he mentioned back in December regarding the 2012 referendum election results.
On December 5, 2012, Gov. Otter spoke at the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho annual
conference. He reported at that time that he had seen an exit survey funded by Education Voters
of Idaho (EVI), run by John Foster, a former Dem-turned-GOP insider. Gov. Otter said,
according to the reporting of The Statesman’s Dan Popkey, “We got back some very good
numbers that I think we can rely on,” and, “There were parts and pieces of every one of those
[laws] that folks did want.”
Unfortunately, the good citizens of Idaho have not seen what Gov. Otter and other legislative
leaders have seen, so are unable to judge for themselves the validity of this alleged data, data that
is apparently being used to document public opinion and guide public policy — like the slew of
education bills mirroring many parts of Proposition 1 currently circulating through the Capitol.
Mr. Foster has not responded to my emails, nor has he publicly released their alleged data. I
have personally heard a Canyon County legislator back in January also publicly cite Gov. Otter
and the EVI poll. EVI is the same group that funneled undisclosed donors last fall to the Yes for
Idaho Education campaign, saying the money came from concerned Idaho parents. After a court
order, it was revealed hundreds of thousands of dollars actually came from big out-of-state
donors like NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg who donated $200,000, requested by Lori Otter.
So, back in February, Common Sense Democracy did an FOIA request with Gov. Otter seeking
documentation of this alleged poll. The response from the governor’s office: “After reviewing
your request and conducting due diligence, the Office of the Governor does not have any public
records responsive to your request.”
In truth, Gov. Otter made a claim at the Associated Taxpayers conference that he, nor his staff,
can substantiate in any way, shape or form. As a teacher, I help my students write effectively. I
teach them when drafting an essay, for example, that they need to guide their essay with a series
of claims, evidence, and warrants. Unfortunately, Gov. Otter could take a lesson from Idaho
kids.
I would hate for the Idaho legislature to be misled by invalid or flawed polling data and to think
they have justification for again steamrolling voters.