Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra is the state’s advocate for school children and articulates her goals for public education in Idaho in terms of outcomes for students. The State Department of Education provides the necessary support for schools and students to achieve.

Fiscal Year 2021 Legislative Priorities

Teacher Compensation

Superintendent Ybarra’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget request for public schools totals $1.99 billion, including $100 million in new General Fund, which is a 5.3 percent increase over the current year’s appropriation.

The budget request includes $40 million to extend the career ladder with an emphasis on improving pay for Idaho’s veteran teachers. This request supports the direction of the Governor’s Task Force to enhance the career ladder.

While the first five years of the career ladder focused on boosting pay for new and early career educators, more must be done to reward experienced teachers, recognizing their value and encouraging them to stay in Idaho schools despite higher pay in other states.

Literacy

The request includes ongoing funding of at least the current amount of $26 million to continue funding literacy intervention programs to support struggling readers. The funding will provide district’s with financial stability for literacy intervention programs in grades K-3.

Social/Emotional Training

The Superintendent has requested $1 million to develop and implement social/emotional training for all educators and district staff to identify and better respond to students’ needs, including how to de-escalate unsafe situations and how to coordinate resources from state, local, and non-profit groups to provide “wraparound services.” Social-emotional learning is vital to helping children develop the self-awareness, problem-solving and impulse control needed to overcome challenges and thrive in school, work and community life.

Mastery-based Education

Superintendent Ybarra’s budget request seeks $500,000 to continue expanding mastery-based education, boosting the funding from $1.4 million to $1.9 million.

A student-centered, competency-based support program for districts to transition to a mastery-based education model was launched by the State Department of Education three years ago. Now Idaho is seen as a national leader in mastery education.

As many as 48 new schools have applied to join the Idaho Mastery Education Network, more than doubling the total. The new applicants include 14 school districts and 5 charter schools as well as existing participants who are expanding to additional grade levels and schools.