School & District Management

Idaho’s State Board Gets Stern Lesson in Financing Issues

By Vaishali Honawar — September 18, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The troubles have been piling up for the Idaho board of education.

In the past month, for example, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter gave the eight-member panel a sharp rap on the knuckles—twice—for financial slip-ups.

Gov. Otter, a first-term Republican, was irked when the board went ahead and administered tests to 2nd and 9th graders even after it ran out of money and did not get additional funding for the program from the legislature. The testing left the board $1 million in debt.

What’s more, the board failed to come up with some of the $18 million in matching funds for a six-year federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program, or GEAR UP, grant. The program helps 7,000 Idaho students from low-income families prepare for college and provides some scholarships. That raised fears of a program shutdown.

And last week, news came that the board’s interim executive director, Karen McGee, was resigning to take a job with Gov. Otter.

Mark Warbis, a spokesman for Gov. Otter, said the board could have avoided getting in debt. Its contract with Data Recognition Corp., a Maple Grove, Minn.-based testing company, has a clause that would have allowed the board to cancel the tests if the program failed to get legislative funding.

“The governor doesn’t have a problem with the testing—he feels it is a sound program and important,” Mr. Warbis said. “But he does not believe it is so important that it overrides taxpayer dollars.”

By the end of last week, the state board appeared on the way to resolving some of the issues.

It voted Sept. 12 for a new contract with the testing company that would eliminate 2nd grade testing but retain the 9th grade tests. That and changes such as cutting down on winter tests for students in grades 3-9 are expected to save $2.4 million in the next three years, said Mark Browning, a spokesman for the board.

Mr. Browning also said the governor has given the board more time to find matching funds for GEAR UP. The program, he added, “is very much alive and well.”

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Idaho. See data on Idaho’s public school system.


Student Well-Being Webinar After-School Learning Top Priority: Academics or Fun?
Join our expert panel to discuss how after-school programs and schools can work together to help students recover from pandemic-related learning loss.
Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion When It Comes to Leadership, Self-Awareness Matters. Here's Why
One leader learned she had a habit of shutting down others' ideas instead of inspiring them. Here's how she changed.
Robin Shrum
6 min read
Picture1 6.19.32 AM
Robin Shrum
School & District Management Opinion Don’t Bewail Summer Vacation for Students, Rethink It
Students experience summer vacation differently, depending on family resources. We should rethink the tradition with that in mind.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Women in K-12 Leadership Don't Get Enough Support. Here's What Needs to Change
Fairer family-leave policies, pay transparency, better data collection, and more on-the-job support are elements of the plan.
7 min read
Illustration showing diversity with multi-colored human figures.
School & District Management School Counselors Face 'Role Ambiguity.' This State Tried to Clarify Matters
New York's new regulations didn't always change how principals viewed or interacted with school counselors, research finds.
5 min read
Man trapped in maze.
Man trapped in maze.
iStock/Getty Images Plus