Otter: Extend Idaho’s five-year plan for K-12

Butch Otter says Idaho’s five-year plan for K-12 is his proudest accomplishment as governor — and he urged his successor to follow suit.

“Keep that horizon out there far enough that everyone can see where we’re going from the get-go,” Otter said Wednesday at a state payroll conference, as reported by Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press. “And you’ll find that you’ll bring peace to the school yard, and if you bring peace to the school yard, you’ll bring peace to the Legislature.”

Otter is retiring after 12 years as governor. He has long praised the five-year plan — an outgrowth of his 2013 K-12 education task force, convened months after voters rejected then-state superintendent Tom Luna’s education overhaul laws. The task force recommendations help defuse the annual legislative battles over education spending.

“You’ve got one year left on that five-year plan,” Otter said, according to Russell. “And it’s my hope that the next governor and the next superintendent of public instruction will add four more years to that one year.”

That decision is beyond Otter’s control; Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Democrat Paulette Jordan, a former legislator, are vying to replace Otter in January. Meanwhile, GOP state superintendent Sherri Ybarra is seeking a second term, opposed by Democrat Cindy Wilson.

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