The Idaho State Department of Education is committed to providing equal access to high quality education everywhere in Idaho. About three quarters of districts in Idaho are considered rural by federal standards. These districts, and the schools within them, are regularly challenged to find and retain effective teachers to meet the needs of all of their students, transport students quickly and safely to and from school, and respond to unexpected personnel or technology needs in order to deliver uninterrupted instruction.
To support rural districts and schools, the SDE will:
- Find new and promising solutions for addressing challenges faced by rural districts and schools.
- Help to improve and scale existing efforts to ensure that rural communities have access to excellent schools and educators.
2017 Idaho Legislative Session: Rural Education Support Networks
The SDE will enable groups of districts to pool their resources in order to fill high-need positions and procure expensive equipment. District superintendents have indicated that this would allow them to better offer services for their students, such as college and career counseling, special education instruction, and transportation. To enable this, the SDE will introduce legislation during the 2017 legislative session revised from its 2016 rural education support network proposal. Our draft rural education support network bill is available for review and feedback
A Rural Education Support Network will serve a coordinating role, dedicating its efforts to distributing instructional staff or equipment to districts as needed, and where agreed to by the districts involved. Unlike comprehensive support networks, Rural Education Support Networks will not levy taxpayers, nor will they entail physical buildings to which students would be transported. It would not create another layer of bureaucracy, only responding to the greatest needs of the districts they serve with a lean staff.