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Lawmakers seek update to school funding

A group of lawmakers have come together to try and come up with a new formula for Idaho’s public school funding. The group says the old formula isn’t up to date with the new education methods.

Representative Wendy Horman said, “In 1995 when the current formula was put in place the internet was just getting rolling. We didn’t have charter schools. Technology was very limited at that time.”

Horman along with Senator Chuck Winder our proposing an interim committee to rebuild the school funding formula. They do not plan to propose legislation this year; rather they would like to begin planning the efforts. Due to the increasing technology and mobile learning seen in school systems, they believe the current plan is just not up to date. The many amendments that have been made to the current formula are merely complicating the system.

“So these funding formulas that were established, you know, 20 years ago have been compared to a two bedroom one bathroom house,” said Harmon. “At the time they were perfect for what was needed. But in the 20 years that have passed a lot of things have changed and every time we need to change the formula it’s like adding another bathroom. So pretty soon you have a 2 bedroom house with 16 bathrooms that isn’t all that functional anymore. So it’s time to update the formula.”

The group also includes Senate Education Chairman Dean Mortimer. It’s also anticipated that State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra and the Governor’s office will also participate.

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