IEA: Many districts near ‘tipping point’

A day after voters approved $208.9 million in school bond issues and levies, the president of the Idaho Education Association said the results underscore the need for increased state funding.

Penni Cyr
Penni Cyr, Idaho Education Association

Many school districts and communities are stretched extremely thin financially and that we are at or near a tipping point regarding local levies,” IEA President Penni Cyr said in a statement Wednesday. “That is why it is imperative that state legislators fulfill their obligation to fully fund public education. We are encouraged by the initial steps taking during this legislative session to restore operational funding and compensate professional educators, but there is much work yet to be done in striving to establish the education system that Idaho deserves.”

The proposed K-12 budget would restore $35 million of the $82.5 million in “operational funding,” cut during the recession. The budget also includes $15.8 million in teacher leadership premiums, and $13.9 million for 1 percent teacher pay raises. The proposed 5.1 percent increase would be the largest K-12 budget hike since 2007.

Here’s the full statement from Cyr:

“The Idaho Education Association would like to offer congratulations and heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported the school levies in districts all around Idaho. Because of the tireless work and dedication of teachers, parents and communities, the vast majority of school levies passed in yesterday’s elections.

“The passage of these levies will help to bridge significant funding gaps in many local districts. We are gratified that so many local communities have stepped up to provide resources and support for their students and teachers. Everyone benefits when our children are given access to a quality public education that prepares them for future endeavors.

“We also recognize that many school districts and communities are stretched extremely thin financially and that we are at or near a tipping point regarding local levies. That is why it is imperative that state legislators fulfill their obligation to fully fund public education. We are encouraged by the initial steps taking during this legislative session to restore operational funding and compensate professional educators, but there is much work yet to be done in striving to establish the education system that Idaho deserves.”

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