2019 state education budget proposal includes $19.1 million for student safety

September 5, 2018

BOISE — Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra filed budget requests Tuesday for the 2019 legislative session.

It includes $19.1 million for her Keep Idaho Students Safe (KISS) initiative and $80.7 million for improving teacher pay for the 2019-20 school year, the Idaho State Department of Education said in a statement Tuesday.

“Today’s budgets include strategic investments in critical areas: safety for our more than 300,000 public school students and the Career Ladder for our more than 17,700 educators,” Ybarra said in a statement. “I appreciate the Legislature’s commitment to our students and our teachers, and these requests continue the momentum of our work together to support schools and students to achieve.”

Ybarra’s request for the KISS initiative — which she proposed six months ago — would support first-year implementation, according to the statement.

It includes $18.5 million in one-time security grants for school districts, $410,000 to develop a safety course for teachers, $200,000 for a statewide safety tip line and $38,900 for a crisis communication counselor to support districts.

In total, Ybarra’s fiscal year 2020 budget request is for $2.28 billion — a 6.8 percent increase or about $122 million more in general fund support.

The majority of the increase, $80.7 million, would be for boosting teacher pay.

Of that, $52.9 million would be for the fifth year of the career ladder system, and $27.8 million would be to increase the career ladder base allocation levels to $40,000 for beginning teachers and $58,000 for the most experienced.

Also, $11.9 million would be for the first year of master educator premiums, which provides qualifying teachers with an annual $4,000 bonus for three years.

Ybarra is also asking for $980,000 to start a five-year “Partnerships for Rural Educator Preparation” initiative to provide incentives for people to become teachers and work in rural school districts.

Other highlights of the fiscal year 2020 budget request:

$7.4 million increase in operational funding to help pay for health insurance cost increases

$7.4 million increase in discretionary money for school districts

$3 million increase for the Advanced Opportunities program, which includes financial assistance for high schoolers taking dual credit classes

$2 million increase for employee training

3 million increase for classroom technology

$1.4 million increase to support the expansion of mastery education

1.6 million for second-year support for the Keep Idaho Students Safe initiative