March 19, 2018 comments

The 2018 Session is nearing a close and last week the public schools appropriation bills were approved by the Senate, were sent to the House, and thereafter will go to Governor Otter to be signed into law. We are pleased with the budgets and we appreciate the hard work that went into their preparation.

Two important funding questions seem to remain:

1. Wireless services. The SDE wireless Agreement terminates in July, 2018 and we have received a letter notifying districts that we will be responsible for either entering into an agreement with the current service provider or purchasing our own system. The funding apparently comes through the appropriation for Classroom Technology via a formula prescribed by the SDE. We look forward to learning how the distribution formula will be applied.

2. We understand that there is a good bit of debate right now surrounding the statewide reading assessment. The State Superintendent’s budget request to expand a new statewide Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) was not approved. A new bill was brought forward in the House Education Committee that would allow Districts to choose their own assessment tool, rather than use a statewide standard. There are pros and cons to either solution, but using a consistent measure of student achievement seems to make sense. The big question that seems to be left unanswered at this point is whether funding will be appropriated to pay for a tool, either at the state level or flowing through to districts.

We would like to express our appreciation for your work and attention to the concerns we have brought forward through our weekly communications. We are pleased that many of the bills we believe were not in the best interests of public schools did not move forward.

My apologies that our comments are coming to you a day late this week. I had to make an unexpected trip to Wisconsin toward the end of last week and didn’t return until late yesterday (Bob).

Thanks,

Bob and Kathy M.

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


March 4, 2018
Legislative comments

H590 GEM Scholarship.  We have previously expressed our disagreement with this bill, based on the fact that it seems very much akin to a voucher proposal.  We understand that it narrowly passed from Committee and we encourage a vote against it when it reaches the House floor. Do Not Support.

HB626 Ballot Language for Bonded Indebtedness.  This bill has essentially the same language as HB560 that was introduced earlier, in that it requires the ballot to inform the voter as to the cost per $100,000 of taxable value.  The primary difference is that the original bill created a new section in Title 63 (Taxation) and this new bill would amend an election code in Title 34.  Do Not Support.

HB630 Rural Education Networks.  This bill has been a priority for Superintendent Ybarra for the past two years.  This year, she has included the $300,000 to operate the network in her department budget. The intent is to facilitate the coordination or sharing of education resources, programs, or services among rural districts within a geographical region, in hopes of providing access to resources that each of the small districts would otherwise be unable to support (such as a Curriculum Director). Neutral.

HB634 Suicide Prevention in Schools. Training and Policy. This bill creates a new code section 33-136 directing the SDE and State Board to adopt rules supporting suicide awareness and prevention training each year for public school personnel and develop a list of approved training materials. It also directs districts to develop a policy related to suicide prevention, intervention and post intervention.  Lewiston has had such a policy and the associated training for many years and our process is working well.  The new rules could change how the training is carried out, but exactly how it would affect our district is unknown until the rules are written.  Neutral.

HB647 Education. Representation Status.  This bill would add language to 33-1271 describing how a local education organization would demonstrate standing to bargain on behalf of a district’s professional employees by agreement of 50% plus 1 of those employees.  It seems to still leave the request for such written evidence at the discretion of the board.  Support.

HB648 Computer Science Courses.  This is a very short and simple bill that would take effect in fiscal year 2020, requiring every school district and public charter serving grade 9 through 12 students, or any combination thereof, to make available to all students in those grades, one or more courses in computer science.  The course offerings may be through traditional delivery, online, or hybrids of the two methods.  Such computer science courses must be aligned with the Idaho content standards for computer science.  Support.

S1263 Public School Employees. Unused Sick Leave. We discussed this bill earlier, but have since learned of some unintended consequences.  The bill would change the calculation of the value of a teacher’s (or other district employees’) unused sick leave at retirement time.  Currently, the value is based upon one’s rate of pay at the time of retirement and this bill would base the calculation of value on the highest 42 months of compensation.  It is our understanding that the bill sponsor was approached by a few teachers from another district who wanted to take lower paying classified positions, such as elementary librarian, transitioning to less demanding positions at the end of their careers. If the unused sick leave value was calculated on the final rate of pay, the former teacher would receive a smaller benefit.  The new calculation is in alignment with that used to compute the PERSI retirement benefit.  At first reading, it seemed that this was a good bill with little disagreement, but payroll and benefits staff recognized that the salary for the vast majority of people is highest in the final year, so the current calculation provides a higher benefit.  We sent email to both the bill sponsor and the PERSI Director asking whether we were understanding correctly and neither responded to the question.  In listening to testimony on March 1st, we did not hear anyone address this concern.  When members of the Committee asked how many people this change would help, the sponsor acknowledged that the number was very small. She was contacted by four (4) teachers.  We submit that a much larger number would be impacted in a negative way by receiving a smaller benefit if this bill is passed. It should be noted that this is a fully funded benefit and currently the pool is at approximately 145% of need, due to the fact that only those who actually retire (those who resign do not have any ownership of money contributed on their behalf) are eligible to utilize it. As a reminder, this benefit is a value equal to one-half of the unused sick leave at retirement and is only available to pay for the retiree’s health insurance.  Contact Kathy M is you have questions about our concerns with this bill.  She is the one with the expertise.  Do Not Support.

S1280 School Board Elections. We have commented on this bill previously, but believe it is important enough to revisit.  The bill moves School Board elections to November of odd years and we do not support passage.  We understand that the Senate did approve the bill on a split vote and it will soon be heard in the House.  We appreciate Senator Johnson’s No vote and encourage our Representatives to also vote No.  Do Not Support.

HCR049 Public School Funding Formula Committee.  This committee has work for the past two years to research and bring recommendations to change the current funding formula for k-12 public schools.  Many meetings have been held statewide and the Committee has consulted with national experts specializing in the study of education finance.  In this Continuing Resolution, the Committee does make several recommendations, including the transition of the funding formula from one based on Average Daily Attendance to Enrollment. We are encouraged that one of the recommendations is to ensure that public school districts and charter schools are held financially harmless in totality of state funds during the transition period.  The Committee has asked for another year of authorization to complete its work.  This is an extremely complex scope of work and we believe it is wise to allow the Committee another year to fully develop the proposal that will be brought forward.  Support.

We know things are really busy now so feel free to contact us by voice mail or text at any time (208-791-7531) for feedback or clarification on our comments.

Bob and Kathy M.

________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


02/20/2018,

Below is my commentary on last week’s activity in the Legislature related to Education.  Yesterday was a holiday for our district, but the Joint Finance Committee did set the public schools budget.  Alison Westfall of the SDE sent detail out to districts this morning.  If anyone did NOT receive the information, I am happy to forward it.

This morning, HB600 Public Integrity in Elections Act had a full hearing in the State Affairs Committee. This bill defines what public officials may and MAY NOT do with regard to providing information to voters about bonds, levies and other ballot measures.  The ISBA worked with the bill sponsor and Nick Miller of Hawley Troxell to draft the bill in a way that accomplished the intent without imposing severe restrictions and criminal penalties found in previous bills. The ACLU did testify in opposition because they interpret the bill to restrict student speech. Nevertheless, the bill has moved forward.  Support.

H487 Bond and Levy Elections.  As we have previously communicated, we do not support this bill.  On Friday, February 16, 2018, several stakeholders provided testimony against the bill, explaining the critical nature of supplemental levies for school districts.  Most of the testimony in support of the bill was focused on bond levy elections, so perhaps part of the consideration should be about whether both types of levies should be restricted.  At the conclusion of the hearing, the committee voted to send the bill to general orders to correct technical errors and conflicts with other sections of Idaho Code.  We reaffirm our opposition to this bill.

HB556 Tax Exemption, County Option.    This bill would give County Commissioners the authority to exempt all Business Personal Property from taxation.  As you know, our district is home to several large manufacturing companies, so this bill could potentially have significant impacts here.  Idaho Code 63-602NN already provides a mechanism for counties to use property tax deferrals as incentive for manufacturers to locate in a particular county and also to expand and provide more jobs.  We believe that the existing law is working well and the complete elimination of business personal property tax would cause local homeowners to shoulder a larger share of the tax responsibility in our community.  Do Not Support.

HB560 Bond Election Disclosure of Cost.  This bill would add ballot language to any bond measure to disclose the cost to taxpayers per $100,000 of taxable property value.  Extensive disclosures are already required in the authorization of municipal bonds under Idaho Code 57-203.  The cost to voters in terms of the dollar amount per $100,000 of taxable property value is routinely provided by taxing districts in informational materials, with examples for the average homeowner.  We are in agreement with the Deputy Secretary of State and Ada County Election official who testified in opposition to this bill.  They make very good points that the longer the ballot language, the less likely that voters will actually read it.  It seems that a very reasonable solution would be to adjust the ballot language to incorporate this requirement, but to find an economy of words by adjusting some of the other mandates as well.  This bill needs a bit more work. Do not support.

S1278 School Wireless Technology Standards.  We mentioned this bill last week, but needed more information before taking a position.  Our Information Technology Supervisor has reviewed the bill and conferred with his colleagues in other districts and concluded that this bill makes sense.  Support.

S1291 School Turnaround Act.  The Statement of Purpose indicates that the bill is intended to create a program targeted at school improvement for student outcomes.  Bill text cites the Accountability Oversight Committee of the State Board of Education as the authority that would identify low-performing schools for support in improving student achievement, but it does not state the performance measures that would be used or how those measures would be applied.  The bill also refers to the composition of a school committee to include a board member (Trustee) from the zone where the low performing school was located.  Our district, with its Territorial Charter, does not have trustee zones, rather all School Board positions are at-large.  We believe the language in this bill needs a bit more work.  Do not Support.

S1292 Advanced Opportunities.  This bill amends Idaho Code sections 33-4601-4602, providing much more detail and specificity as to eligible credits.  The new language provides clarity, but is also quite prescriptive in terms of advising requirements.  Neutral.

S1293 Category 1 Contracts for Alternate Route.  This bill adds 33-514B, which provides for issuance of a Category 1 contract (1-year only) to those individuals utilizing an alternative route to certification, prior to having earned full certification status.  Once full certification is achieved, the employee’s next ensuing contract would be in accordance with 33-514.  Support.

S1304 Public School Transportation Support Program.  This is Senator Johnson’s bill, co-sponsored by Senators Guthrie and Den Hartog that we have worked on for several weeks to improve the funding mechanism for the pupil transportation program.  We believe this is a good step in the right direction to eventually restore the last piece of school funding unchanged since the Great Recession.  Support.

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


02-15-2018,

Please see Karen’s message on two pieces of legislation that would certainly harm school districts.

How does IASBO want to handle this?  I am thinking we do want members to contact legislators on behalf of their districts, but do we also want to prepare a statement from the IASBO organization to send to everyone on the committee?

Please let me know your thoughts ASAP. The hearing for HB556 is in less than one hour.  The other one will be heard tomorrow.

Thanks!

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040

From: business-managers On Behalf Of Karen Echeverria
Sent: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 8:08 PM
To: clerks
Subject: [Sync_businessmanagers2] FW: Legislative Alert on HB556 and HB487

Board members, superintendents, clerks, and business managers – We are asking for your help on two very important pieces of legislation. We are asking that you reach out to your Representatives, especially if they sit on either of the committees outlined below.

One piece of legislation will be heard on Thursday, February 15 in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee and one will be heard in the House State Affairs Committee on Friday, February 16.  Both could be devastating to school districts.  Below is information on each bill as well as talking points that you can use in your call or email to your legislator.

We can’t do this alone so we appreciate your help!

Alert: Contact Legislators to Oppose the Ability to Run Bond and Levies Only Every 12 months—HB 487

On Friday, February 16, the House State Affairs Committee will hear a bill that will limit a school district’s ability to pass a bond or levy to once every 12 months.  ISBA strongly encourages any school district official to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 487.

  • Last year, approximately 93 of Idaho’s 115 Districts ran a supplemental levy to meet their needs.
  • While the term used is “supplemental” levy, the reality is that these levies are needed for the day-to-day operations of a school district.
  • Oftentimes, a district will attempt to run a levy for more than they have in years past.  If that levy fails, the district can currently run another levy for a lesser, or the prior year’s amount, at the next date.  Without that ability, the loss of the levy could be devastating to our local districts.
  • There are technical issues with the bill because rarely do election dates fall exactly “12 months” apart.  For instance, last year, the general election was held on November 6.  Next year, it will be held onNovember 7.  Under the provisions of this bill, that means that the district would be unable to run an election for 15 months, not 12.
  • This would provide uncertainty of interest rates.  Districts go to great lengths to time their bond elections to meet the district needs, to try to obtain the lowest interest rates possible, and take advantage of the best bond ratings possible.  If districts are prevented from running another bond or levy within a year they would be at the mercy of rising rates and therefore get less for the amount of money raised.

Alert: Contact Legislators to Oppose Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI)-Sponsored Personal Property Tax Bill—HB 556

On Thursday, February 15 at 9 a.m., the House Revenue & Taxation Committee will consider a bill that would establish a county option personal property tax exemption.  ISBA strongly encourages any school district official to contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 556.

  • House Bill 556 is sponsored by IACI and would allow county commissioners to exempt all or part of business owned personal property from property taxation within the county.
  • The primary concern about this legislation is it would grant county commissioners unilateral authority to exempt business-owned equipment, machinery, furniture, and other personal property from paying property taxes.  For school districts, this would mean a dramatic shift in property tax burden from big business to homeowners and small businesses.
  • Giving county commissioners this kind of authority over other local government budgets is bad public policy.
  • Passing bonds and levies will become much more difficult in counties that exempt personal property from taxation, because of the major shift in tax burden from big business to homeowners and other classes of property.  Exempting personal property would also reduce the bonding capacity for districts.
  • ISBA, the Idaho Association of Counties, and the Association of Idaho Cities supported the personal property tax relief legislation that passed in 2008 that protected local governments budgets by providing replacement revenue to offset the loss in personal property tax revenue.  This legislation does not provide that.  A statewide policy that provides replacement revenues continues to be the appropriate way to provide additional personal property tax relief.

You can find your legislators using this online tool on the Idaho Legislature’s website.

Karen

Karen L. Echeverria

Executive Director

Idaho School Boards Association

! P.O. Box 9797, Boise, ID  83707-4797 :: 2199 N Capitol, Suite 503, Boise, ID  83702

www.idsba.org :: * karen@idsba.org

‘ 208.854.1476 [office] :: ‘ 866.799.ISBA [toll-free]

‘ 208.890.6506 [cell] :: 7  208.854.1480 [fax]


02/12/2018,

These are our comments on pending legislation for this past week.  In addition, I had a very good question from staff about S1263 concerning the calculation of unused sick leave value at the time of retirement.  The goal of the bill was to increase the value for those who take a lower paying position at the end of career (teacher taking an IA position for the last year or two before retirement) by using the average of the highest annual salary for the calculation.  Staff recognized that this change would apply to everyone and would actually reduce the value for those who have a significant increase in pay in the last few months before retirement (teacher takes short assignment as an administrator at end of career).  I have reached out to the sponsor and also to Don Drum at PERSI for clarification and haven’t had a reply yet.  I will pass along any information I receive.

Thanks and have a great week.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040

From: Robert M Donaldson
Sent: Sunday, February 11, 2018 10:14 AM
To: ‘mkingsley@house.idaho.gov‘ <mkingsley@house.idaho.gov>; Dan Johnson (djohnson@senate.idaho.gov) <djohnson@senate.idaho.gov>; ‘mkingsley@house.idaho.gov‘ <mkingsley@house.idaho.gov>; Representative Thyra K. Stevenson <TStevenson@house.idaho.gov>
Cc: Admin-Admins <Admin-Admins@lewistonschools.net>; M P Bjorklund <MBjorklund@lewistonschools.net>; Alexis Morgan (alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com) <alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com>; allencrew@hotmail.com; Brad Cuddy (bradcuddy@cebridge.net) <bradcuddy@cebridge.net>; Brad Rice (brice@dadco.com) <brice@dadco.com>; stacibaldwin@ymail.com
Subject: February 11, 2018 Comments

February 11, 2018 Comments

HB463 Income Tax.  This bill brings Idaho into conformity with IRS code with regard to income tax and reduces the personal and business tax rates for state income taxes.  The net result of these actions will reduce state revenues an estimated $104.5 million per year.  We continue to be concerned that the reduced revenues available to support essential services could have a negative impact on public school funding in the future.

HB487 Bond and Levy Elections.  As of last week’s writing, we had not seen the printed bill, so now that we have the bill in hand, we believe it is important to comment on it again.  The bill would ban any taxing district, including school districts, community college districts, fire districts, cities, counties, etc., from holding a bond or levy election within 12 months after a previous failure of the measure.  This restriction would be devastating to school districts. As an example, Lewiston school district supports over 200 staff members (teachers, instructional assistants, custodians, clerical and technology support) with funds provided by our voter-approved supplemental levies.  The job positions funded by levy funds represent people who serve students in a variety of ways.  These positions are not supported by our state foundation funding, so a loss of the levy would result in a loss of those positions.  The Lewiston community has been very supportive of our levy requests, often approving them by more than an 80% margin.  But, if there was ever a time that the levy failed, we would need to have the ability to resubmit the measure to the voters as soon as possible.  DO NOT SUPPORT

HB501 Remove IRI.   This bill amends 33-1001 (12) with respect to which tools may be used to measure student achievement or growth for use in teacher evaluation.  Eleven (11) measurement tools would remain available for use and we see no adverse consequences to removing the IRI.  Support.

HB502 Mastery Based Education.  This bill amends 33-1632 to expand the current program supporting schools implementing mastery-based approach to education and establishes an advisory board to provide recommendations on this approach to the State Board of Education. Neutral.

HB503 Occupational and Physical Therapists on Career Ladder.  The Professional Standards Commission has recommended adding pupil service staff endorsements for Idaho licensed OT/PT professionals. This bill would allow the inclusion of all years of licensed experience to determine placement on the career ladder. The positions have previously been in the category of Classified Staff for salary-based apportionment, so a career ladder allocation will make a positive difference. In addition, there are a number of other allocations based upon certificated staff numbers, such as professional development and leadership funds. Support.

HB504 Quality Educator Loan Assistance.  This bill is intended to provide incentive to certificated staff to work in rural schools by providing educational loan repayment assistance (up to $3,000), thereby helping to reduce the statewide teacher shortage.  The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $17,500, based upon five years complete and consecutive academic years of service in an eligible school.  It would be great if the Idaho program provided similar criteria, which would create incentive for recruitment and retention, both of which are very important.  Support With Adjustments.

S1266 Senior Math Requirement.  This bill removes the requirement that two of the required semester credits in Math be taken during the final year of high school.  This change could potentially assist a student who is on a path for early graduation and it does not reduce the total number of Math credits that must be completed.  Neutral

S1267 STEM Diploma.  This bill would add a new section to law providing a mechanism for a STEM Diploma. This new diploma would be awarded to students who earn a specified number of additional credits in Science, Technology and/or Engineering and Mathematics.  Such a diploma could potentially enhance a student’s college and career applications.  Support.

S1278 Wireless Technology Standards.  The intent of this bill is to remove obsolete language and update the code to provide for annual review of public school technology standards by the Education Opportunity Resource Committee.  We need more time to review this bill before providing feedback.

S1280 School Board Elections.  This bill would change school board elections from the current date of May in odd years to November of odd years.  The school boards association is in support of this bill because it represents a compromise and is a better outcome than moving school boards to November of even years.  That being said, our local Lewiston board does not support this bill.  We believe that school boards should remain distant from the partisan election process and are much better able to do so in May of odd years.  Do Not Support.

RS26083C1 Public School Transportation Support Program.  Senator Johnson will introduce this bill on Monday afternoon in the Senate Education Committee.  He and many others have worked hard with stakeholders, Senate colleagues and the State Department of Education to streamline and simplify that funding mechanism for pupil transportation.  The bill has the support of the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Business Officials.  Support.

It was great to hear your comments yesterday at the Community Center and have a chance to visit with each of you.  Mike please let me know when you get this email.  I double checked your address and I think it matches the one listed on the legislative website.  Thanks again for your ongoing hard work.

Bob and Kathy M

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


02-09-2018, Senator Johnson will introduce RS26083C1 Public School Transportation Support Program attached: 33-1006_85_percent_draft.  Senator Johnson will introduce this bill on Monday afternoon in the Senate Education Committee (2:00 pm Pacific) 3:00 pm Mtn.  He and many others have worked hard with stakeholders, Senate colleagues and the State Department of Education to streamline and simplify that funding mechanism for pupil transportation.  The bill now has the support of the Idaho School Boards Association.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


February 4, 2018 Comments

There are quite a number of bills to discuss this week and we have gone through them in numerical order, beginning with House bills, followed by the Senate bills.  There is one bill that was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee as RS25903 by Representative Scott that is extremely concerning and, while we have been unable to see the printed legislation as of this writing, we want to address it first.  The bill would ban any taxing district, including school districts, community college districts, fire districts, cities, counties, etc., from holding a bond or levy election within 12 months after a previous failure of the measure.  We understand that this bill will likely be granted a hearing and we are hopeful that the Committee Chair will allow testimony from school district representatives and others who would be impacted by this bill.  We have neighboring districts who have had operational levies fail and been unable to renew some of their teacher contracts due to insufficient funds.  Those districts were able to make adjustments and resubmit the measure to voters before the start of school and were then able to staff their classrooms.  Supplemental levies provide vital funding for essential services for our students and in Lewiston our supplemental supports almost 200 certified and classified positions.  We need to continue allowing our elected school boards to make decisions about when it is necessary and appropriate to submit requests to the local voters.  Do Not Support.

HB418. Lobbyists.  This bill would prohibit state agency personnel or contract lobbyists paid with public funds from communicating with legislators or the governor for the purpose of influencing the passage, defeat, amendment or postponement of a legislative action or an executive action.  Do Not Support.

HB420 Legal Publications published online. This bill would provide an alternative to newspaper publication for legal notices, by allowing agencies to meet the requirement by posting such notices on official agency websites.  The option to publish electronically would certainly save money, since sometimes legal notices can be quite costly, but how would we let the general public know that something of importance has been posted?  Perhaps a small newspaper ad directing the public to the website might be a workable solution allowing agencies to save money while ensuring wide distribution of the information.  This bill needs a bit more work.

HB423. Firearms on School Property. This bill would allow certain on-duty or off-duty police officers as well as qualified retired law enforcement officers to carry firearms on school property.  Do Not Support (unless it would be restricted only to School Resource Officers).

HB428. Public Servants, Pecuniary Benefits.  This bill is described as an update to 18-1356 regarding public servants accepting gifts from lobbyists or those who may be interested in any matter before the public servant.  Neutral.

HB436. Elected Officials Tax Returns. This bill would require all candidates for office to submit copies of their most recent income tax returns with their declaration of candidacy.  With respect to school boards, many districts have encountered difficulty in finding candidates to run for the non-partisan volunteer positions under current law.  This bill makes no distinction between candidates for small school, water, road, cemetery, fire or other local districts and candidates for Congress.  Do Not Support.

HB443. School Districts – Firearms Safety Education. This bill would create a new section of code to authorize and encourage school districts to adopt and offer an elective course in firearms safety education and to authorize instructors who would teach the courses.  Do Not Support.

HB469. School Safety Patrols.  This bill amends 49-652 to remove a sentence stating:  “A member of a school safety patrol may properly report a violation of this section to any peace officer”.  The Statement of Purpose states that the change does not preclude a student from reporting violations of the statute to anyone.  Having not heard any testimony about this bill, it is difficult to take a position.

S1221 College Credit Transfer. This bill seeks to codify the State Board of Education’s policy on the transfer of postsecondary general education credits earned at one Idaho college or university to another.  This new statute could potentially provide benefit to high school students who, through Advanced Opportunities, earn college credits (or even an Associates degree) while in high school. In Lewiston, those postsecondary credits are awarded by Lewis-Clark State College, but the student may desire to transfer those credits to another Idaho institution after high school.  Support.

S1222. Incentive Funding Mechanism.  This bill is brought by the State Board of Education and provides technical assistance funding to additional programs (last year’s funding included only Agriculture and Natural Resources programs) and incentive funds to Career Technical Education programs based upon both (2)(a) program quality  and (3) the numbers of secondary CTE concentrators who have demonstrated workforce readiness at the completion of their CTE programs.  The incentive piece will not be effective until July 1, 2019.  We support additional funding for CTE programs, although the statewide total of $600,000 results in quite small dollar amounts for each qualifying district.  We will definitely be interested to see administrative rules and how programs will measure workforce readiness. Support.

S1227. Immunizations.  This bill would allow parents to opt out of the required child immunizations by submitting a letter to the day care facility or school, rather than using an official form. The official form allows us to be consistent in documenting what students are not immunized in the event of an outbreak of a serious illness. Do Not Support.

S1263. Education Severance Allowance.  This bill revises the calculation of the value of unused sick leave for a retiring educator.  Currently, the value of one-half of the unused sick leave days are calculated at the rate of pay at the time one retires. This change would calculate the value at the educator’s highest rate of pay, thereby avoiding penalizing one who takes a lower paying position as they transition toward retirement.  Support.

We would like to mention the work of the House Education Committee this week in taking testimony concerning the adoption of Education Content Standards in the subject areas of Science, Driver Education, Information and Communication Technology.  We support adoption of the Standards proposed by the State Department of Education and State Board of Education.

Senator Johnson and Kathy are still working on the Pupil Transportation funding matter.  Kathy believes we are making very good progress and we appreciate the support of Senator Johnson, his Senate colleagues and folks at the State Department of Education who are putting in a lot of work on this issue.

As always, feel free to contact us.

Bob and Kathy M.

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


(02-01-2018) Senator Johnson,

I reached out to Idaho Association of School Business Officials members for comments about the proposals being discussed in terms of Pupil Transportation funding. The attached document here: Comments_from_IASBO_SDE_trans_bill is a compilation of the comments received to date. I have not edited these, so some are pretty candid, but I think it is important just to convey the high level of frustration with the current process. Many have expressed a strong desire to eliminate the $7.5 million transfer to discretionary and I have explained the complications with that and the hope that we can work in that direction over time. Most people are OK with that and understand that we can’t always solve everything all at once.

I hope these comments are helpful.

Thanks for your work,

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID 83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


(01-30-2018) I have attached a draft bill here: 33-1006_85_percent_draft put forward by the SDE to address Transportation funding.  From my perspective, I think this is a very good start.

What it does:   It reimburses all allowable transportation expenditures at 85% and provides for a 2-year transition period away from the block grant.

What it does NOT do:  It doesn’t address the reporting piece, BUT I believe we can address the reporting in Administrative Rules.  I specifically asked Pete Koehler about this last week and I felt like he was in agreement.

Please let me hear your feedback as soon as possible and I will keep Senator Johnson in the loop.  He has been awesome in making sure that our concerns are heard.  As you can see from the email string below, there will be more discussion this week, so please share your thoughts.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040

From: Senator Dan Johnson [mailto:djohnson@senate.idaho.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 6:23 AM
To: Katharine L McPherson <KMcpherson@lewistonschools.net>
Subject: FW: Draft transportation funding language

Kathy, this is the latest from the SDE. Please provide comment where needed. We are working on it this week. Thank you.

From: Duncan Robb [mailto:drobb@sde.idaho.gov]
Sent: Friday, January 26, 2018 1:02 PM
To: Senator Dan Johnson <djohnson@senate.idaho.gov>
Cc: Derek Newland <dnewland@sde.idaho.gov>; Alexandra Mccann <amccann@sde.idaho.gov>; Pete Koehler <pkoehler@sde.idaho.gov>
Subject: Draft transportation funding language

Senator Johnson,

I am writing to respond to your inquiry about progress on transportation funding language. We have scheduled an internal meeting next week to think about this some more, but the attached document reflects where we are today.

This language would do two things:

  • Switch our reimbursement formula to 85% statewide
  • Give 50% of the lost revenue back to districts that lose revenue from the change

We plan to spend our conversation next week discussing provisions that would further minimize the losses to districts in the long term or hold harmless completely. From our initial discussions, whatever language that involves would likely be complex. In our meeting, one idea had been to simply increase the statewide reimbursement to whatever it would take for all districts to at least break even. Unfortunately, under the current system some districts are being reimbursed over 100% of their costs, so that is out of reach. Of course, each % point increase past 85% brings with it several districts who go from red to black.

Please review this language, let us know what you think, and give us feedback around what you would like for us to focus on next week, if anything.

Have a great weekend.

Duncan

Duncan Robb

Chief Policy Advisor

Idaho State Department of Education

drobb@sde.idaho.gov

208.332.6954

Supporting Schools and Students to Achieve”


(01-29-2018) Here are our comments on the Legislative Session for the week. I reached out to my Special Services Director for comments on HB411 related to Sign Language Interpreters and he hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

A few bills were printed on Friday and I will comment on them next week.

This afternoon, the Senate and House Education committees will hold a joint meeting at 3:00 pm Mountain Time (2:00 pm Pacific) to hear a report on the funding formula and the work of the interim committee. Here is a link to the live stream: http://idahoptv.org/insession/inc/inSess_vidParams.cfm?streamType=WMV&legBodyID=11V&locID=11

Have a good week.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID 83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040

From: Robert M Donaldson
Sent: Sunday, January 28, 2018 9:43 AM
To: Dan Johnson (djohnson@senate.idaho.gov) <djohnson@senate.idaho.gov>; ‘mkingsley@house.idaho.gov’ <mkingsley@house.idaho.gov>; Representative Thyra K. Stevenson <TStevenson@house.idaho.gov>
Cc: Admin-Admins <Admin-Admins@lewistonschools.net>; M P Bjorklund <MBjorklund@lewistonschools.net>; Alexis Morgan (alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com) <alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com>; allencrew@hotmail.com; Brad Cuddy (bradcuddy@cebridge.net) <bradcuddy@cebridge.net>; Brad Rice (brice@dadco.com) <brice@dadco.com>; stacibaldwin@ymail.com
Subject: Week 3 reflections

The third week of the Session was Education Week and culminated with Superintendent Ybarra’s budget presentation on Thursday. We have previously commented on her budget proposal and how it compares to that of the Governor. The Superintendent’s presentation was well done and reflected the priorities that she has articulated many times. We appreciate her shared commitment to funding the fourth year of the Career Ladder teacher pay allocation plan, as well as increased funding for classified staff and discretionary (operational) funds.

A few more bills were printed this week pertaining to education:

HB412 Common Core. This bill adds language that appears to allow districts to adopt standards other than common core state standards. My concern is this will lead to different districts having different standards, and if this is the case it would impact standardized tests which are supposed to assess to the state standards. Would the state create tests for all of the different standards that are utilized throughout the state or will these districts be exempt from state mandated testing?

Don’t Support

HB413 Federal Funds Phase-Out. This bill seeks to establish a multi-year period through 2027 to reduce and ultimately eliminate the acceptance of federal education funding. At this point, Idaho accepts approximately $300m per year in federal K-12 appropriations. These funds provide supplementary services to our most vulnerable students, including those with disabilities and those living in poverty. Don’t Support.

HB414 Sex Education. This bill seeks to repeal Idaho Code 33-1608 through 33-1611, removing antiquated language. A new section 33-1608 is proposed that aligns with the current Idaho Content Standards Health Education. Support.

HB415 Excused Absence, Military Funeral. This bill provides an excused absence from school for any student sounding taps at a military funeral service. We have no objection to the intent of the bill, but wonder if this particular matter requires codification. Neutral.

S1233 STEM Action Center. Small changes related to the advisory board. Neutral.

Senator Johnson continued to work with Kathy, as well as Senate colleagues and staff from the State Department of Education on concerns with the pupil transportation funding and reporting mechanism. They had very good, productive discussions and a shared commitment to work together to find ways to improve the system. Many thanks to Senator Johnson for your ongoing help with this.

As always feel free to contact us with questions or any needed clarification.

Bob and Kathy M.

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


Friends – I finally had a chance to breath today (01-24-2018) and wanted to respond to your questions.

“She wondered if it is considered factually neutral if a school district outlines specific needs or shortcomings of buildings.”

Our addition of language relating to the project is intended to allow the district to provide information on the “Why” question. Why is the district doing the project. Provided the description of the need is neutral, factual and understated, then we think it fits as informational. Some limits: you wouldn’t want a brochure that says “our roof will fall in and your kids will die if you don’t pass this bond.” It definitely has to be reasonable, but the district isn’t gagged from describing the needs and the strategy for the solution to the needs.

“For a school district, would it be limited to the superintendent and the Board of Trustees or would it extend to anyone with any budgetary and or supervisory responsibilities – for example, a head custodian or a grounds supervisor?

The definition of public officials is not intended extend to anyone with authority over any function, only district funds. We currently have public official defined as:

(7) (a) “Public Official” means an elected or appointed member of government with authority to make or determine public policy.

(b) “Public official” includes the person or group that:

(i) has supervisory authority over the personnel and affairs of a public entity; and

(ii) approves the expenditure of funds for the public entity.

I think the intent of this definition is a supervisory authority over the staff and business entity as a whole, rather than a supervisory position over a single area, e.g. maintenance or grounds keeping. For a school district, I believe this would be the superintendent and Board of Trustees, as they are the only ones with the supervisory authority over the district and its personnel. While a custodian or grounds keeper does have some authority over those relevant areas of a public entity, those positions do not have a supervisory authority over the personnel and affairs of the public entity as a whole. Additionally, the way this definition is phrased in (7)(b) with “and” means that in addition to supervisory authority over personnel and the affairs of the public entity, the public official be able to approve the expenditure of funds.

Trustees may advocate so long as they don’t do it using school resources.

I hope this helps. Thanks, Karen

Karen L. Echeverria

Executive Director

Idaho School Boards Association

! P.O. Box 9797, Boise, ID 83707-4797 :: 2199 N Capitol Blvd Suite 503, Boise, ID 83702

: www.idsba.org :: * karen@idsba.org

‘ 208.854.1476 [office] :: ‘ 866.799.ISBA [toll-free]

‘ 208.890.6506 [cell] :: 7 208.854.1480 [fax]


(01-24-2018) – I just had another conference call with Senators Johnson, Guthrie, Den-Hartog, as well as the SDE Transportation Supervisor, Alexandra McCann, Pete Koehler, Julie Oberle (and maybe a couple of others I missed). Anyway, the first question was whether or not the SDE would be in support of an effort to simplify the funding model and reimburse all allowable transportation expenditures at 85%. Koehler spoke for the department wholeheartedly in agreement with anything that simplifies the process for districts, while assuring the most funding possible. There were some in the room who expressed concerns about potentially eliminating the block grant, but all agreed to work together on a transition period that would provide some equalization and avoid a situation with winners and losers. Alexandra was not in total agreement with reducing the audit requirements to every three years. We talked about data uploads, rather than the current reports and it seems like there was some level of agreement. I committed IASBO to working with the SDE to train business managers with changing some of their account coding methods so everyone was using the same process to code their allowable expenses. This will fold into the work we are doing with Julie Oberle toward compliance with the ESSA requirement to report expenditures at the school level and uploading our annual report data.

As I was writing this report, I got a call from Karen Echeverria about the Transportation bill. She is unsure about whether she can support it because of the eventual sunset (SDE told her 2 years, but there were several timeframes discussed) on the equalization mechanism. She will talk with her governmental affairs committee and go from there. It seems the biggest obstacle is a spreadsheet from Alexandra showing that West Ada would lose $1.2 million if we went to 85% and no block grant. I have attached that here: Actual_Reimbursement_Percentage so you can take a look. It is interesting and a bit puzzling as to why certain districts end up with reimbursements so much higher or lower than others.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID 83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


(01-23-2018) – In its Capitol Notes, the Idaho School Boards Association has discussed its work to bring forward a bill defining “educate vs. advocate” with respect to bond and levy elections. Last year Representative Jason Monks brought HB270, which was extremely restrictive and thankfully did not move forward.  The ISBA has taken the position of playing offense on this matter and worked with attorney, Nick Miller of Hawley Troxell, to draft a bill defining in very clear language, what public officials may and may not do in terms of distributing information using public funds regarding a ballot measure.  This bill has been shared with Representative Monks and he has been sharing it with his colleagues.  Karen Echeverria has given me permission to share the draft with IASBO and I have attached it here: Advocate_vs_Educate.pdf

From my perspective, I like this bill and appreciate that it would give us very clear guidance on a sensitive matter that we all deal with.  We all want to do things correctly in our public roles and this will help. If anyone wants to provide feedback to Karen, I am sure she would appreciate it. Many thanks to Karen for her work and for sharing this draft.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


From: Robert M Donaldson
Sent: Sunday, January 21, 2018 10:59 AM
To: Representatives
Subject: Week 2 comments

Two Senate bills were printed last week dealing with education:

S1211 amending Idaho Code Sections 33-1252, 33-1253 and 33-1254. These are minor technical corrections and the addition of clarifying language dealing with the professional standards commission. Each of the changes makes sense and we are in support.

S1212 amending Idaho Code Section 33-2202, to update the language related to Career Technical Education and expand the definition to include programs offered in grades 7 and 8. The intent of this bill was outlined by the State Director of CTE on Monday and would certainly enhance opportunities for students to begin exploring a career path early to maximize their preparation for college or career. We support.

On the 16th, Senator Johnson’s committee and its House counterpart met jointly and heard presentations from representatives from the Tax Commission about the estimated results if Idaho brings its tax structure into conformity with recent changes in federal tax law. Legislators now have the difficult task of making decisions about what is best for Idaho. We appreciate you keeping public education as a priority throughout the process.

The week of Jan 22-26 is Education Week, when JFAC will hold hearings on budgets for the State Board of Education, colleges and universities at the beginning of the week and the State Department of Education and K-12 on Thursday. In our message last week, we touched on the differences between the Governor’s budget proposal and that of Superintendent Ybarra. Again, we would like to emphasize our priority on “discretionary” or operational funding so that districts have local control in directing funds to the areas of highest need. We also appreciate Superintendent Ybarra’s recognition that salary-based apportionment for classified staff is very low and we support her proposed additional 4% increase there.

Some upcoming items from the Idaho School Boards Association:

The ISBA is working with Representative Caroline Nilsson Troy to introduce two bills related to Executive Session. One bill would allow Boards to conduct an executive session with a simple majority vote if there is a vacancy on the Board. The other would allow Boards to discuss the sale of public property in executive session. The ISBA did distribute the proposed legislation to media representatives asking for their feedback prior to introduction. We did receive a call from our local newspaper for background information and they seemed to understand the need for both bills. Lewiston has had good success in filling Board vacancies, but many districts have had great difficulty, resulting in boards operating with 4 or fewer members. The current requirement of 2/3 majority of the full board to conduct an executive session becomes nearly impossible if you are operating short-handed with only 3 or 4 members. We support both bills concerning executive session.

Kathy has been working with Senator Johnson on the pupil transportation reporting and funding model. This issue is the subject of an ISBA Resolution as well, so she reached out to Karen Echeverria to update her on where we are with our work so far. Karen is ready and willing to help as needed so feel free to contact her. We appreciate Senator Johnson’s hard work on this matter.

As always, feel free to reach out to Kathy or me if we can be of assistance. We can also be reached by text message (Bob 208-791-7531).

Bob and Kathy M

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


Good Morning,

Below is the message that went out to our local legislators from Bob Donaldson and me. I will send a follow-up message to IASBO in the next day or two with some more specific information on the work Senator Johnson is doing on the Pupil Transportation piece.

Yesterday (01/15/2018) was not a day off for the Legislature. The Senate Education Committee met and took testimony from education stakeholders. Unfortunately, we were not invited to participate this year, but maybe in the future. The Committee asked those giving testimony to describe (1) two things they are doing differently to improve student achievement and (2) two things they would like to do if the resources were made available. I liked this approach, rather than just hearing them describe how they need more money. Here is a summary:

Marilyn Whitney, Governor’s office.

1. Emphasis on Mastery-based ed; Technology; College/Career advising; Literacy; STEM

2. Higher Ed CEO; Opportunities Scholarship (20% for returning students); Expand CTE to grades 7-8

Matt Freeman, SBOE

1. Apply Idaho (online common college application); College/Career advising; FAFSA portal

2. Open source textbooks; Common course numbering; Higher Ed Task Force recommendations

Supt. Ybarra, SDE

1. Advanced Opportunities; Mastery-based education

2. Updated IRI; Early Learning support (Smarty Ants); Red Tape Committee; STAT team (to assist schools in improvement status)

Dwight Johnson, CTE

1. New CTE teacher cohort model; program quality initiative

2. Better connect education to careers; middle school career exploration

Kari Overall, IEA

1. Professional Development; Training in support of Master Educator portfolio; different online PD opportunities; mentoring w/retired educators; peer mentoring

2. Virtual mentoring; comprehensive bullying training

Harold Ott, IASA and Rural Schools (standing-in for Rob Winslow, who was attending a funeral)

1. College/Career advising; Advanced Opportunities; Literacy; Technology

2. Red Tape Committee; Loan forgiveness program for teachers in rural area

Karen Echeverria, ISBA

1. Effective school boards training;

2. Remove budget line items and allow boards to make decisions

Terry Ryan, Idaho Charter Schools

1. New school leader pipeline; 2 yr leadership training resulting in opening new schools; data is key

2. Student-based budgeting; Education savings accounts; School choice

Coalition of Charter School Families – I didn’t get good notes on this piece

Maria Johnson-Lorcher, PTO

1. Growing organization, expanding parent involvement; make money available so no student left without food at school

2. Work with parents to understand ESSA; work with school counselors and advocate for more funding for counselors

I hope you all have a good week.

Thanks for the work you do every day for Idaho students.

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID 83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040

From: Robert M Donaldson
Sent: Monday, January 15, 2018 9:03 AM
To: ‘Representative Thyra K. Stevenson’ <TStevenson@house.idaho.gov>; ‘Senator Dan Johnson’ <djohnson@senate.idaho.gov>; ‘mkingsley@house.idaho.gov’ <mkingsley@house.idaho.gov>
Cc: Admin-Admins <Admin-Admins@lewistonschools.net>; Alexis Morgan (alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com) <alexiscmorgan515@gmail.com>; allencrew@hotmail.com; Brad Cuddy (bradcuddy@cebridge.net) <bradcuddy@cebridge.net>; Brad Rice (brice@dadco.com) <brice@dadco.com>; stacibaldwin@ymail.com
Subject: 2018 Legislative Session

The 2018 Legislative Session kicked off this week with Governor Otter’s State of the State address on Monday. We appreciate and support the Governor’s continued commitment to the 4th year of the Career Ladder teacher funding allocation plan. The Governor’s budget recommendation also reflects a 3% increase in employee compensation (CEC) for Administrators and Classified staff.

In contrast, Superintendent Ybarra’s budget request included an additional 4% salary increase for classified staff. Over the last several years, there has been a good amount of discussion among education stakeholders about level of funding for classified staff, which is currently at $21,034 and equates to $10.11 per hour for a full-time 12 month employee (such as maintenance, custodial, business office, human resources and information technology). In addition, the Superintendent recommends $7.2 million in ongoing funding to address the projected increases in employee health insurance costs. We strongly support the additional salary and benefit increases proposed by the Superintendent.

The Governor proposes to add a significant amount of funding to some specific budget line items, including Literacy, College and Career Advising, School Technology and Mastery-based Education, which are all positive and worthy areas of emphasis. The Superintendent, however, took a different approach and recommended a 3% increase to “discretionary” or operational funding that may be used where needed by individual districts. The Governor proposes no increase at all to the discretionary item. Education stakeholders have consistently asked for more local control and the flexibility to assign budget resources to the greatest needs on a district level, while working to reduce the number of specific line items. During the recession years, school districts lost discretionary funding that has slowly been restored to the 2009 level. We support a reasonable 3% increase in operational funding for the coming year.

On Thursday, the Joint Finance Committee met and one of the topics discussed was the Public Education Stabilization Fund (PESF). We recognize the importance of PESF and that it provides a mechanism to fund unexpected growth and also helps in times of economic difficulty to hold public education funding at stable levels. This past year, approximately $20.8 million was withdrawn from PESF and it now stands at its lowest level in several years. We support replacing the amount of this year’s withdrawal in order to provide continued stability going forward.

In terms of the debate on income tax rates and the sales tax on groceries, we ask that any potential reductions be carefully considered in the context of maintaining sufficient state revenue streams that continue to support our statewide commitment to public education.

We thank you for your work and wish you a good and productive session. I especially want to thank Senator Johnson for his support in working on concerns with the reimbursement mechanism for Pupil Transportation. We appreciate your efforts!

Bob and Kathy M

_________________________

Robert M. Donaldson, Ph.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Independent School District No. 1

3317 12th Street

Lewiston ID 83501

208.748.3043 voice

rdonaldson@lewistonschools.net


Good Afternoon,

Yesterday (01-10-18) was the first meeting of the committee and I think it was time well spent. There were about 25 people in the room and most were Superintendents, so it was good to have someone from the Business Office perspective. Pete Koehler, Chief Deputy Superintendent, facilitated the meeting.

The following characterization is from Allison Westfall in response to an inquiry by Idaho Education News about the meeting. You may see something in tomorrow’s edition.

The Red Tape Committee met yesterday. Committee members were charged with gathering feedback from their areas: charter school, regional superintendents and business manager colleagues about areas the committee should address. Also supporting the committee are staff from the State Department of Education Charter School Commission, Career Technical Education and Office of the State Board of Education.

In the first part of the meeting they shared that feedback and the following broad areas were identified:
· Evaluation audits/evaluation reporting/certification
· Accountability reporting: Continuous Improvement Plans, Literacy Plans, Career and College Advising Plans and Charter School Performance Reports
· ISEE/Financial Reporting
· Career Technical Education
· Transportation
· Other

The group discussed evaluation-related items: connection to the Career Ladder, audits, reporting of evaluation information and local evaluation policies. The group recommended a review administrative rules and law for improvements.

The group discussed the various accountability reports and recommended a review of administrative rules and laws for improvement.

At its next meeting in mid- to late February, committee will focus on the two recommendation areas of evaluations and accountability.

The following are my reflections:

The conversation seemed to focus on Teacher Evaluations in the afternoon. Districts were very frustrated with the level of duplication involved in the evaluations and reporting to both the SBOE and the SDE. The audit process seemed to cause a huge burden in terms of time and resources.

I shared out information about the many duplicative financial reports, where we provide the same information we have already submitted, just in a different format or on a different form. I honestly think we will see a change in financial reporting in conjunction with the new ESSA requirements. If we are uploading 100% of our data and the state system is capable of generating the necessary reports for accountability, it should make our jobs easier. I did take a few minutes to follow-up with Julie Oberle on the discussion we had on Tuesday’s conference call. One gray area for me was whether we will be required to report by school for our special funds (Title I, Part B, miscellaneous state, local and federal grants) and according to Julie, the answer is YES. All expenditures will need to be reported by school, effective with fiscal year 2019. We do not need to worry about revenues or balance sheet accounts in the school-level reporting piece.

Finally, I did emphasize Transportation funding and accountability to the Committee. The level of scrutiny does not seem to be proportional to the funding in the area of Transportation, nor does it make a lot of sense sometimes. I believe this opinion is shared by others and I would like to work on simplification this year. I spoke to Senator Dan Johnson about Transportation during our pre-session meeting and he reached out to me to refresh his memory today. I am encouraged.

Have a good weekend.

Katharine McPherson, CPA
Director of Business Services
Lewiston Independent School District No. 1
3317 – 12th Street
Lewiston, ID 83501
kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net
208-748-3040

PS
All,I forgot to mention something I learned yesterday that is related to teacher evaluations.

Tracy Bent from the SBOE has been working with the Department of Administration (Purchasing) to purchase a software tool (possibly Teacher Vitae) that would be available to all public schools and charters (not required).

She was unable to purchase on a “sole source” basis, so an RFP is being developed and will be released within the next few weeks. I think many districts have expressed an interest in having a common tool, so maybe this will be helpful. We will see.


Governor’s State of the State Address
January 8, 2018

The Governor spent very little time speaking to the k-12 Public School Budget request this year.  He did express his continuing support of the Career Ladder teacher pay plan and efforts to promote post-secondary college and career readiness.  In a side-by-side comparison with Superintendent Ybarra’s budget request, they are much the same with a few exceptions.

The few areas of the budget where the Governor is recommending significantly more funding than the SDE requested include: Literacy, College and Career Advising, School Technology and Mastery-based Education.  Superintendent Ybarra requested larger increases for Administrators and Classified salaries and benefits.

As expected, Governor Otter has requested funding to create a new Chief Education Officer (CEO) for higher education that would consolidate such “back room operations” as Human Resources for all Idaho public colleges and universities.  The Governor specifically noted that he is not proposing a “Chancellor System”, but simply a way to streamline some functions, while maintaining the individual identity of each institution.

Also as expected, taxes are on the table again this year.  Reading between the lines a bit, it seems to me that the Governor still does not favor a repeal of the grocery tax, but does seem to support a small reduction in individual and corporate income tax rates, as well as substantial conformity with the new federal tax legislation.

It will be interesting to learn more details surrounding the two budget proposals and how any increased funding would be distributed. Public Schools Budget Requests Compared 2019

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040


Good Morning,

I  hope everyone had wonderful holidays with family and friends!

The 2018 Legislative Session convenes next Monday, January 8th, but there are a couple of interesting committee meetings this week.  Thursday and Friday (January 4th and 5th), the Interim Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee will meet and those meetings will be available for live streaming.  Available revenue will obviously affect education funding, but maybe more importantly, the outlook as it relates to potential tax cuts and how THOSE could affect education funding. Here is a link to the Idaho Legislature’s website.   https://legislature.idaho.gov/

Along the right side, below the calendar, you will find the Interim Committee Meetings that will take place over the next couple of weeks.

This year, the Education Committee is conducting a Pilot Project to accept Remote Testimony.  One the home page, you will see in a link in red “Let your voice be heard – Remote Testimony Pilot Project”. Follow the link to learn how it works in the event we have an opportunity to offer testimony on a piece of legislation.  The Committee Chair will decide which bills shall be available for remote testimony and pre-registration is required. There are also resources on how to provide remote testimony here:  https://legislature.idaho.gov/remote-testimony/resources/

I am looking forward to the Session and will keep you updated to the best of my ability.

Happy New Year!

Kathy

Katharine McPherson, CPA

Director of Business Services

Lewiston Independent School District No. 1

3317 – 12th Street

Lewiston, ID  83501

kmcpherson@lewistonschools.net

208-748-3040