The governor’s Education Task Force will not make recommendations to the 2013 Legislature, leaving $34 million in legislative limbo.
Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna both allocated in their education budgets $34 million to pay for task force recommendations.
Meeting with reporters Friday morning, Otter said his budget has no Plan B for the $34 million — and he indicated that the money could now be up for grabs.
“Outside the task force, we have a lot of recommendations for what to do with the $34 million,” Otter said at an Idaho Press Club forum.
Luna said the money should stay in education, but there is “no meat on the bones of a Plan B” yet.
Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, a member of the task force and chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he hopes the money is kept in the education budget and assigned to one-time expenditures so it can be given back to the task force in 2014.
“We can use the money for additional professional development or hardware,” he said. “That’s my hope.”
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Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, a member of the task force and chair of the House Education Committee, agreed that the money should stay in education and that task force members have brought up good ideas to consider, such as professional development for Common Core implementation.
“I’m only one vote but that’s what I’m going to fight for,” DeMordaunt said of keeping the money in education.
The Legislature ultimately has the responsibility of spending that money with options that include giving it to K-12, putting it into an education savings account or directing it to another agency.
Education Task Force Chairman Richard Westerberg said the group will get public input from around the state before making recommendations, and that will take months. The plan is to set up public hearings and an electronic bulletin board.
The 31-member task force met all day Friday on the Boise State University campus. The members split into five focus groups — professional development, teacher effectiveness, fiscal stability, technology and structure. The groups meet most of the day and developed ideas from their topics. Those ideas were shared and vetted with the whole group. (Highlights of those ideas are at the bottom of this report and will be posted in full next week on the State Board website).
The task force will meet again on March 15 to discuss the ideas developed on Friday. Anyone and everyone will have the opportunity to offer feedback and that feedback will be considered with the full task force later this year, Westerberg said.
The task force began its Friday meeting by listening to presentations about preparing teachers in Idaho Common Core State Standards from Jennifer Snow (Boise State University) and Paula Kellerer (Northwest Nazarene University). Also presenting was Allison Henken of the State Board of Education, speaking on successful teacher preparation models, and the State Department of Education’s Nick Smith about professional development plans around Common Core.
Highlights of ideas developed by the task force:
Professional development — The No. 1 priority is the Common Core, Smarter Balance and technology.
Teacher effectiveness — Should be changed to teacher and administrator effectiveness. This includes increasing mentoring and creating effective evaluation. With that comes accountability, and increasing the amount of training and use of tools in practice.
Fiscal stability — The priority is identifying a funding model that follows the student, but the focus of funding should be on student membership, not attendance. Another goal: gaining consistency with the salary model.
Technology —First, identify what Idaho needs. Make sure every student has access to any course he or she wants to take. Review what resources exist and identify what’s needed.
Structure — Decisions should be made as close to the student as possible. Unleash capacity at the local level. Identify the skills students must have to be successful. Create an accountability system, and with that comes consequences.
Members of the task force:
|Richard Westerberg, Chair||State Board of Education|
|Doug Baker||University of Idaho|
|Laurie Boeckel||Idaho Parent Teacher Association|
|Roger Brown||Governor’s Office|
|Cheryl Charlton||Idaho Digital Learning Academy|
|Linda Clark||IASA, Joint School Dist. No. 2 (Meridian)|
|Penni Cyr||Idaho Education Association (IEA)|
|Reed DeMordaunt (R)||Idaho House of Representatives|
|Karen Echeverria||Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA)|
|Ken Edmunds||State Board of Education|
|Wayne Freedman||ISBA Past President|
|John Goedde (R)||Idaho State Senate|
|Steve Higgins||IASA, Grangeville School Dist.|
|Mary Huff||ISBA, Melba School Board Member|
|Teresa Jackman||IEA, Pocatello|
|Alex LaBeau||Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry|
|Mike Lanza||IEA, ID Parents & Teachers IPATT|
|Rod Lewis||State Board of Education|
|Bob Lokken||Idaho Business for Education|
|Tom Luna||Superintendent of Public Instruction|
|Alan Millar||Idaho Charter School Network|
|Phyllis Nichols||Counselor, New Plymouth School Dist.|
|Katie Pemberton||Coeur d’Alene School Dist.|
|Roger Quarles||Idaho Leads Project|
|Mary Ann Ranells||IASA, Lakeland School Dist.|
|Anne Ritter||ISBA President, Meridian School Board Member|
|Brian Smith||IEA, Sandpoint|
|Geoffrey Thomas||IASA, Madison School Dist.|
|Janie Ward-Engelking (D)||Idaho House of Representatives|
|Cindy Wilson||IEA, Meridian|
|Rob Winslow||Idaho Association of School Administrators (IASA)|