Friday, January 11, 2019


In 2016, Idaho's per-pupil expenditures were $7157, 49th in the nation, according to Census data reported in the website The national average per pupil expenditure was reported as  $11,762 per student. 

And yet, the new proposed funding formula shifts funding among districts and creates winners and losers, instead of looking to improve the lot of all stakeholders. We believe that this approach will produce chaotic results as we move forward.

The new proposed formula throws out the most successful educational approach of the past two decades, the Career Ladder, which was championed by Governor Otter and recommended by the k-12 Education Task Force as one of its key goals.

So, let's take a look at an alternative model that allows us to keep the Career Ladder and integrate some weighted factors which would allow us to implement some differential pay for teachers in high-poverty environments, or who teach special populations.

In this view of the funding formula, Continuous Improvement Planning drives the actions (spokes of the wheel) of districts across the state, as it should. We recommend:
  • Keep the Career Ladder and Salary-Based Apportionment, which serve as the base distribution mechanism for salaries, leadership advanced opportunities, and the like.
  • Use "Student-based" factors (weights) to provide additional funding for teachers who work with challenged populations of students.
  • Keep Technology and CTE funding as separate high priorities.
  • Use student performance indicators to evaluate the success of the Improvement Plan.
This system is:
  • Purposeful - all parts of the formula support the Strategic Plan
  • Intentional - each part of the formula is designed to produce desired results in the Strategic Plan
  • Meaningful - the elements of the formula have meaning to the stakeholders
  • Agile - elements of the formula can be adjusted to meet shifting needs 
  • Flexible - control of the formula elements is left at the district level whenever possible
  • Transparent - all are aware of how funds are allocated and the purpose for the allocation.
Governor Little recently proposed a second Governor's Task Force to evaluate the accomplishments of the first and look toward the future. We'd suggest that the proposed funding formula and alternatives be considered by the Task Force, as well. We believe this alternative plan would get us down the road toward the Funding Formula Committee's equity goals while looking at improving the lot of all district and charters in the state in terms of teacher's salaries.