Governor signs strategic planning bill

Touting it as a first step to implementing his education task force recommendations, Gov. Butch Otter signed a law Tuesday establishing school strategic plans.

House Bill 521 will require every school district or charter school to complete a strategic plan based on student improvement. The concept of an annual strategic plan was one of 20 task force recommendations, approved in August.

“As I said in my State of the State address, this is among the recommendations from my task force that speaks directly to the importance of meeting local needs while aligning with our statewide objectives, and to the importance of accountability as we responsibly invest in Idaho’s future,” Otter said in a Tuesday news release.

At a cost of $326,000 — or a $2,000 reimbursement for every school district or charter school — the strategic planning bill carries a modest pricetag.

In the closing days of the session, lawmakers will consider a K-12 budget with big-ticket items based on the task force recommendations: restoring $35 million in district “operational funding” cut during the recession, and a $15.8 million leadership premium program that launches the state on the creation of a $253 million teacher career ladder.

Here’s the Otter news release:

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed House Bill 521 today, laying the foundation for developing and implementing strategic plans to improve student performance in Idaho’s public schools. It is one the first of the recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Education to become law.

HB 521 was sponsored by Rep. Wendy Horman, a former school board member, and was overwhelmingly approved by both chambers of the Idaho Legislature. “This bill and others related to task force recommendations demonstrate the governor’s and the Legislature’s commitment to education,” she said.

“As I said in my State of the State address, this is among the recommendations from my task force that speaks directly to the importance of meeting local needs while aligning with our statewide objectives, and to the importance of accountability as we responsibly invest in Idaho’s future,” Gov. Otter said.

Among the bill’s requirements:

  • School districts and public charter schools will develop and maintain strategic plans that focus on improving student performance, in collaboration with stakeholders including students, parents, educators and the community as appropriate.
  • Strategic plans will be data-driven by student outcomes, include clear and measureable targets for improving those outcomes, have a clear vision and mission, and include indicators for monitoring performance.
  • Strategic plans for the 2014-15 school year will be adopted by Sept. 1, and will be reviewed and updated each year thereafter by Aug. 1.
  • School boards will continuously monitor progress toward goals stated in the strategic plans, and that progress will be used in evaluating district superintendents or administrators of public charter schools.
  • Strategic plans will be available to the public on school district or charter school Web sites.
  • Each school district or public charter school will be reimbursed up to $2,000 for training on strategic planning, finance, superintendent evaluations and public charter school evaluations, ethics and governance.

“As a past school board trustee and a task force member, I appreciate the need for development of meaningful strategic plans and for the financial support provided local boards by H521,” Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde said. “I was happy to carry it on the Senate floor.”

Republish this article on your website