Wednesday, June 5, 2013


At the last meeting of the Task Force for Improving Education, task force members discussed the Idaho Core Standards, and the conversation quickly turned to professional development.

Specifically, what resources and funding are available to districts, schools and teachers in the coming year?

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna detailed how nearly $22 million will be available for professional development in the coming year, funded out of new and existing resources from both the state and other partners.

Most people had heard about a line item of nearly $4 million specifically dedicated to Idaho Core Standards professional development because this funding was new funding, but they were unaware of the other resources that would be made available to schools and districts.

Here is a breakdown of all the funding related to Idaho Core Standards that will be provided from state funding and other resources in the coming year: 
  • Idaho Core Standards Professional Development Funding: $3.755 million in new funding was appropriated in the FY2014 Public Schools Budget for the Idaho State Department of Education to deliver professional development to schools and districts. The state is organizing focus groups with teachers and school administrators to ensure this funding is spent in a meaningful and effective way. Total: $3.75 million
  • Excellence in Teaching Awards Funding: $21 million was appropriated in the FY2014 Public Schools Budget to be distributed directly to local school districts and public charter schools to use for differential pay and professional development. Of the total $21 million appropriated, districts/charter schools can spend up to 40% (or $8.4 million) on professional development, including buying time. Total: $8.4 million
  • House Bill 65: House Bill 65 dealt with funding in the FY2013 Public Schools Appropriation that remained after the repeal of the Students Come First laws in November 2012. Through HB 65, an estimated $5.4 million in state funding was shifted from other programs to be distributed directly to local school districts and public charter schools to be used specifically for professional development activities related to the implementation of Idaho Core Standards, the transition to the new assessment, and the integration of digital content in the classroom. This funding will be distributed to school districts in two disbursements: a $15,000 base allocation in the current FY2013 to each district or charter school to develop a three-year Professional Development Plan and a secondary allocation in FY2014 based on the number of instructional staff in a local school district or public charter school. Total: $5.4 million
  • JKAF Matching Funds in Public Schools Budget: $4.5 million was appropriated in the FY2014 Public Schools Budget to be used on the implementation of the statewide instructional management system, known as Schoolnet. An estimated $1.5 million of the $4.5 million appropriated will be used to continue a statewide contract with Discovery Education and the development of examples of curricular materials and assessments available in Schoolnet. These resources assist teachers with implementation of Idaho Core Standards at the local level as they work to adopt and develop curriculum and curricular materials that best meet their students’ needs. Total: $1.5 million
  • Idaho Leads Project: The Idaho Leads Project has received nearly $3 million in funding from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation to continue its efforts over the next year in working with specific school districts and public charter schools. Over the next year, Idaho Leads will focus on the implementation of Idaho Core Standards in these participating school districts. Total: $2.85 million
When combined, the funding from these programs and resources totals an estimated $21.9 million in new and existing funding that is now available to help provide professional development to Idaho teachers and school administrators on the Idaho Core Standards over the next year. Of this total, $13.8 million will flow directly to school districts and public charter schools to be used at their discretion.


  1. This is a great article. I always enjoy reading Ross' blogs, both here and elsewhere, as he speaks with the knowledge and authority of someone who has not left the classroom.
    Which brings me to a bit of a moan. I made the following comment on the Brighouse/Moon article and feel it is appropriate to include here too.
    "Generally I agree with this argument and welcome any effort to raise up the teaching profession and establish a professional teaching body outside of government control. However, I was very disappointed to find, after following the link to the New Visions website, that their 'invitation only' group includes not a single practicing teacher.
    This is staggering. How can an organisation professing to speak on behalf of our profession not include a single person working regularly in the classroom?
    What are we supposed to make of this?"

    irene of Skagway Alaska

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