Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra made the public schools support budget presentation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on January 26.
(Sup. Sherri Ybarra before JFAC on January 26. Screen grab via ‘Idaho in Session.’)
The budget request for schools for FY 2018 is $1.679 billion in state general funds, up 6.6% from FY ’17’s $1.574 billion. Listen:
Ybarra told the budget writing committee that the emphasis this year was on a return on investment. She said the budget was not about her, but about creating better opportunities for Idaho’s children. Listen:
Ybarra told the budget panel that she’s projecting an increase of 71% in student participation in advanced opportunities in 2017, and the budget request is for an additional $1 million, up to $7 million, for Advanced Opportunities. Ybarra said the program directly supports students in their efforts to be college and career ready.
“In 2016, there were 17,659 students who took advantage of the advanced opportunities,” Ybarra said, “including all dual credit participation, and all those students gained 95,337 credits, ultimately saving families across the state a tuition cost of over $7.1 million through funding programs for advanced opportunities.”
Ybarra also asked for more funding for literacy proficiency programs. “Idaho students have been improving their reading skills year after year,” she said. She’s asking for an increase of $2 million, up to $11,100,000.
Also included among the line items in the schools budget request is an $8 million increase for classroom technology, with an overall line item of $26 million.
“These students don’t see technology any more as a separate tool,” Ybarra told the lawmakers. “It’s completely integrated into their lives and everything that they’re doing.
“Technology alone isn’t going to improve student achievement,” Ybarra said. “It’s the combination of great teachers and leaders, working with that technology, to engage students in the pursuit of the types of learning that they need.”
The budget request includes $7 million for college and career advising; funding for wireless infrastructure; funding for information technology staff; and $3 million for an instructional management system.
The public school budget is the largest portion of the Idaho state budget.
Posted January 26, 2017