The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
Despite Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s promises to increase the rigor of Idaho high school classes, a curriculum- redesign proposal didn’t make it past the Senate education committee.
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The measure was passed by the House education committee. Because it was a policy change and not a new law, it needed the approval of just one committee. The state board of education agreed to pull the proposal if it went unfunded. After it became clear that the plan would not be funded, it was dropped by the board.
Michael Journee, a spokesman for Gov. Kempthorne, said the state board plans to reintroduce the redesign plan during the 2007 session.
The board’s proposed changes would have included requiring four years of mathematics and three of science for all high school students.
The state currently demands two years of each. Gov. Kempthorne had touted the plan as a way to prepare more Idahoans for the workforce. Some parents and school officials worried the plan would leave too little time for electives. (“Idaho Board Softens Career Focus Following Criticism,” Nov. 30, 2005.)
The governor signed into law a school construction bill that creates a mechanism to pay for school repairs, renovations, or new facilities when a school district fails to pass bonds to provide safe school facilities.
Overall, precollegiate education will receive $1 billion for fiscal 2007; that’s a 4.45 percent increase from last year’s appropriation.
Mr. Kempthorne had recommended $1.8 million in his executive budget for physical education in elementary schools, but the legislature did not fund the proposal.
The legislature increased beginning teachers’ salaries from $27,500 to $30,000, and gave a 3 percent base increase in pay for veteran teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the May 03, 2006 edition of Education Week