Don't Blink: Sherri Ybarra's Rapid-Fire School Budget Presentation Leaves Unanswered Questions


On a day when much of Idaho's media focused its attention on the Lincoln Auditorium of the Idaho Statehouse, where the House State Affairs Committee dashed any hopes of adding the words "gender identity" and "sexual orientation" to the Idaho Human Rights Act, Idaho's new Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra was standing in front of the Legislature's budget-writing committee, asking for a 6.4 percent bump in public school funding—a full 1 percent less than what Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter had proposed earlier this month.

But when pressed for details on her proposed spending plan, Ybarra left more questions than answers.

Idaho EdNews reports, "Ybarra was ambiguous on the details about teacher salaries and the proposed career ladder pay plan," telling lawmakers to "stay tuned."

"In past presentations, sometimes, there has been a little more detail as to what the budget is going to entail," Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee co-chair Sen. Dean Cameron told Ybarra. 

But Ybarra told JFAC that her budget “represents my vision for college and career readiness in Idaho education, and indicates the direction I intend to take this department over the next four years.”

Later in the day, Idaho EdNews reported that Ybarra said the budget she presented to JFAC was crafted mainly by her predecessor Tom Luna and his staff. But she had"recommended some tweaks."

All in, Ybarra took a rapid-fire 17 minutes in her prepared remarks before JFAC Thursday morning, according to Idaho EdNews, and the session wrapped a full hour-and-a-half before its scheduled adjournment.