Monday, March 5, 2012

JFAC Approves 5 Percent Increase in Funding for Public Schools

The Legislature's budget-setting committee today approved a 4.6 percent increase in general fund revenues for Idaho's public schools next year.

Under this budget, the average Idaho teacher will see more than a 6 percent increase in overall compensation through increases in minimum salaries and the opportunity to earn a bonus above and beyond their salary.

"We have been working closely with members of the Legislature to come up with the best budget possible for our students and those who work hard every day in our schools. I am very pleased with this budget," Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. "This budget includes funding to pay performance bonuses for teachers, provide 21st Century tools for every classroom, keep base salaries intact, keep discretionary funding whole in school districts, fund the state's virtual academy, and pay additional money to the technology professionals working in Idaho's schools."

Here are the highlights of the fiscal year 2013 that passed the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) today:

• 5.8% increase in teacher compensation. On average, a teacher’s pay will increase next year by $2,082 because of the following changes:

1. Increase in minimum salary: The minimum salary for beginning teachers will increase to $30,500. This will affect 31% of Idaho teachers.

2. Fully fund movement on the grid: There will be no reduction in funding for teacher or administrator salaries. The state will fully fund current movement on the salary grid for teachers who gain years of experience and more education. At least 21% of Idaho teachers will see salary increases for gaining additional years of experience next year.

3. Pay-for-performance: Idaho is funding an estimated $39 million to implement a statewide pay-for-performance plan that recognizes and rewards great classroom teachers. At least 85% of teachers will earn some form of a performance bonus next year.

• $4 million to fund growth in student enrollment, including additional teaching positions in growing districts.

• $9 million in advanced classroom technology for all grades.

• $2.5 million to begin implementing the one-to-one initiative in high schools by providing a laptop device to every high school teacher, principal, and other certified staff.

• $4 million in ongoing professional development to help teachers integrate technology in the classroom.

• $5 million for Idaho Digital Learning Academy as it transitions to a self-funded agency.

• $2.5 million in additional funding for IT professionals in schools and districts.

• $842,400 for the Dual Credit for Early Completers Program, which allows seniors to take up to 36 dual credit courses paid for by the state if they meet high school graduation requirements early.

• $9.4 million in continued funding for the Idaho Reading Initiative, Idaho Math Initiative, and ISAT Remediation.

JFAC works to set budgets for the Idaho Legislature. Once approved, these budgets still must be approved by the full House, full Senate and signed by the Governor. The FY2013 budget would go into effect July 1, 2012 for the 2012-2013 school year.

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