Ed groups launch service organization

Three education groups have partnered to offer more resources to leaders of Idaho’s schools.

The Idaho School Boards Association, Idaho Digital Learning Academy and Idaho Association of School Administrators just unveiled the Idaho Education Stakeholders Consortium. The consortium will offer its members an array of services, including public relations, records storage, human resources, business management, grant writing support and counseling.

Karen Echeverria
Karen Echeverria

Membership in the consortium will be free to all members of the ISBA, IASA or IDLA. Some services will be offered free by pooling resources, while others will be available for a fee.

ISBA Executive Director Karen Echeverria said the consortium is a response to demand for additional, targeted resources – particularly among small or rural school districts.

“We get calls from a district or superintendent or board clerk because they need services,” she said. “They all run small officers, and don’t always have the capacity to provide these services.”

This month, leaders of the consortium will distribute surveys among their members to gauge the top needs and priorities. Consortium organizers will then meet with vendors that offer such services and roll out programs to benefit districts and school leaders.

“Most states have some kind of education service district that helps them, but Idaho just doesn’t have that,” IASA Executive Director Rob Winslow said. “We think the need has been there for a long time.”

The partnership leading to the consortium represents another example of education groups – or stakeholders – coming together following the repeal of the Propositions One, Two and Three. Ahead of last year’s legislative session, every major stakeholder association rallied behind the 20 recommendations issued by Gov. Butch Otter’s Task Force for Improving Education. Additionally, the IASA, ISBA and Idaho Education Association often testified jointly in favor of policy initiatives during the 2014 session.

“That’s what’s really exciting – as you know, we really try to work together with the Legislature,” Echeverria said. “It’s nice bringing IDLA into the mix with their skill sets and the services they provide.”

Specific details and service options are still being worked out among consortium partners, but they are optimistic about parlaying their members’ feedback into a successful plan of action.

“It’s ambitious to do this, but our intent with all of us working on it is to build it and build it successfully and hope it continues to grow and really meet needs,” Winslow said.

For more information, members of the ISBA, IASA or IDLA are asked to call their organization’s office.

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