INTERVIEW: Superintendent Ybarra talks education funding changes

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Idaho State Supintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra

 

BOISE, Idaho ー Idaho education funding could be getting a boost after the state’s Joint Finance Appropriations Committee gave preliminary approval for proposal to add $109 million to the state’s education budget.

“This represents a total boost to our K-12 funding of well over a half billion dollars since I took office five years ago,” Sherri Ybarra told KID NewsRadio. “So, once again, education has emerged as a top priority for the state of Idaho, and I’m very excited about that.”

Part of that funding will go towards increasing Idaho teachers’ salaries. In 2018, the Idaho State Board of Education said the state was losing 10 percent of its teachers annually, according to the Idaho State Journal. The increased salary, Ybarra said, will hopefully help draw good teachers for the state’s growing student population.

“We’re excited about that,” Ybarra said. “I support teachers salaries regardless if we’re looking at the early teacher [or] if we’re looking at the veteran teacher…We support that moving forward so that we can attract and retain the best and the brightest in the state of Idaho.”

Student literacy is also getting an increased focus. During his State of the State address, Governor Brad Little emphasized his intention to boost Idaho literacy rates and Ybarra said Idaho is already seeing strides toward improvement.

“We all know how important that is,” Ybarra said. ” We’re seeing increases in our reading scores across the state with that laser like focus that we’ve had on closing the gap for reading.”