Ybarra told members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee the proposed K-12 public education budget for fiscal year 2018 represented a 6.7 percent increase in state funding, totaling $1.679 billion in general funds.
- Idaho Department of Education
- Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra
In particular, Ybarra pointed to a $62 million price tag to fund the next phase of the much-debated teacher career ladder. A large portion of that funding is designed to increase teacher pay, the third tier of the educator compensation structure approved by the 2015 Legislature.
Ybarra also focused on what she called an "Idaho Principals' Network" at the Department of Education, which offers training on performing teacher evaluations. That comes in the wake of a recently-revealed audit conducted by McRel International that concluded nearly every Idaho public school teacher evaluation had failed to meet state guidelines. Auditors found some school administrators "ignored laws and rules for evaluations or did not understand the evaluation system." Out of 225 evaluations audited, only three had been completed correctly.
"We're investing in human capital," Ybarra told JFAC. "It's about attracting and retaining great teachers and leaders."
Ybarra's plea for a 6.7 percent overall bump was higher than the proposal fronted by Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter in his State of the State address earlier this month, but Ybarra's pitch included something Otter's hadn't: funding for the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind.