Ybarra Unveils Proposed School Budget: $1.5 billion 

click to enlarge KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra spent about an hour before the Idaho Legislature's budget-writing committee Thursday morning, outlining her proposed school spending plan for Fiscal Year 2017.

Dubbed "Supporting Schools and Students to Achieve," Ybarra's public schools budget totals $1.5 billion—almost $110 million, or 7.5 percent, more than was appropriated for the current fiscal year.

Among the highlights was Ybarra's request to return discretionary funding—used by school districts for staffing, utilities, supplies, transportation and curriculum—to FY 2009 levels. She proposes to raise the discretionary fund to approximately $25.6 million, or $1.8 million higher than FY 2016. 

Other highlights include:
  • $300,000 to support a rural education center in northern Idaho, providing funding for a director, support staff and operation costs;
  • $1.75 million to support students in counseling for college or career (in addition to traditional school counselors);
  • $3.3 million to provide broadband support services ($2.7 million distributed directly to districts);
  • $1.76 million to support students with 12 new math coaches ( a new expense);
  • $5 million earmarked for literacy proficiency, targeting research-based early intervention.
In a side note, Ybarra pointed to the current statewide student count of 294,131—a 19,056 increase since the 2008-2009 school year.

CORRECTION: This post has been corrected to represent the full amount of the education budget request. A previous version stated the budget proposal was $36.7 million, which is the amount requested for the Department of Education's operating budget. Boise Weekly regrets the error.
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