Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is pleased with the compromise that has been put forth by senators. This bill will give school districts the additional flexibility they requested. It will still stabilize the public schools budget and give our schools the technology and tools they need to educate more students at a higher level with limited resources.
Here are highlights of the new bill:
- More flexibility in funding: The bill revises Senate Bill 1113 to give Idaho school districts more flexibility in dealing with less money next year. The new bill does not increase the student-teacher ratio. Rather, it leaves those decisions up to local school boards, which is what school districts requested throughout public testimony.
- Teacher pay: The bill increases the minimum teacher pay to $30,000 a year, restores the education credits in the salary grid that have been previously frozen, and funds further movement on the grid for teachers.
- One-to-one ratio: The new bill will still implement a one-to-one ratio of mobile computing devices in every public high school within five years, but now Idaho’s high school teachers will receive these devices first before they are distributed for students to use in the classroom. Teachers will receive the mobile devices in Fall 2012.
- Classroom technology: The state will give teachers the tools they need in the classroom by investing $10 million a year for instructional technology and $3 million for professional development.
- Online courses: The bill directs the State Board of Education to develop the online course requirement for the Class of 2016.
- Statewide task force: The bill defines the role and membership of a statewide task force to develop plans for the implementation of the online courses, one-to-one mobile computing devices, and advanced classroom technology. The task force will include superintendents, principals, classroom teachers, educational technology experts, representatives of the business community, leaders of educational stakeholder groups, and legislators.
~ Melissa M.