Community Blog: The EDge

Will the Legislature fund the task force’s plans?

Gov. Butch Otter is hinting that his top K-12 priority is restoring budgets to their pre-recession levels — and the Legislature’s two top budget-writers seem to like the idea as well.

But Sen. Dean Cameron and Rep. Maxine Bell, co-chairs of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, want more details about another big-ticket idea from Otter’s education task force: a teacher career ladder.

The task force — 31 education stakeholders, business leaders and elected officials — finished vetting ideas Friday, and agreed on 21 recommendations. The next step is for Otter to sort through the ideas and their costs, and on Tuesday, he voiced his support for the task force’s work.

At the Legislature, JFAC would be the starting point in the implementation process, and that’s where Cameron and Bell have considerable clout. The budget-writing committee would have to find the money to restore operational funding (at a five-year cost of $82.5 million) or launch a career ladder program (costing $253 million over six years). JFAC would also get a first look at ideas to expand broadband and WiFi in schools, or provide teachers and students with individualized technology — ambitious task force proposals that, for now, have no price tag attached to them.

For more details, here’s a link to my story at Idaho Education News.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

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