What will happen, and won’t happen, when the funding formula committee meets Thursday

State superintendent Debbie Critchfield, chief financial officer Gideon Tolman and chief of staff Greg Wilson work on Critchfield’s 2024-25 budget request, which is due Friday. (State Department of Education photo)

A committee reviewing Idaho’s school funding formula will get back to work Thursday.

But to no great surprise, the committee won’t finish its work Thursday.

State superintendent Debbie Critchfield gave the group an ambitious assignment: Rewrite the complicated formula by Sept. 1. Considering that the committee held its first meeting on July 19, that timetable was optimistic from the outset. After all, the formula for carving up Idaho’s K-12 dollars has been on the books for three decades — and from 2016 through 2019, a legislative committee spent three years working on a rewrite, to no avail.

During last week’s State Board of Education meeting, Critchfield spoke of tempered expectations.

She said the committee can work on ways to reorganize the budget — rearranging the pieces that eventually find their way into seven separate K-12 budget bills. That work could be done in time for Critchfield to incorporate the changes into her 2024-25 budget proposal, due to Gov. Brad Little’s office by Friday.

The policy end of the project will continue past this week, Critchfield said. That includes resolving the complicated but thorny debate about whether to base K-12 spending on student enrollment or student attendance. Idaho has dropped an enrollment-based model, adopted temporarily during the pandemic.

“There still will be work to do.” Critchfield told State Board members. “We’ve got a lot of money, it’s available, let’s make sure our schools are able to access that.”

Check back Thursday for committee meeting coverage.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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