Another round of tuition and fee increases

Posted at 10:41 AM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 12:41:38-04

This week’s education headlines:


Rising college costs. It wasn’t pretty or efficient, but the State Board of Education hammered out another round of college tuition and fee increases for 2018-19. In-state costs will increase by 3.5 percent at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College, and 5 percent at Boise State University and the University of Idaho. The board voted down several amendments and motions in a process board member Richard Westerberg described as “awfully messy and a little ponderous.”

Accountability and funding. It sounds simple in theory: School funding should be tied to school accountability. But as lawmakers were reminded Tuesday, nothing is simple when it comes to rewriting a school funding formula. This is just one question confronting a legislative committee that is working to rewrite the formula Idaho uses to divvy up $1.8 billion in K-12 funding.

Balukoff and Jordan square off. Democratic gubernatorial candidates A.J. Balukoff and Paulette Jordan talked education at a City Club of Boise forum Monday, and agreed on most topics. They both said Idaho schools are underfunded and teachers are underpaid, and both pushed for pre-K. Charter schools were one point of disagreement; Jordan said charters can help students who are “not being served adequately” at traditional schools, while Balukoff said charters “have not lived up to their promise” of innovation.

A feisty lieutenant governor’s debate. Meanwhile, the five Republican candidates for lieutenant governor took off the gloves in a televised debate Tuesday night. They sparred over abortion and health care — and education. State Sen. Bob Nonini of Coeur d’Alene touted his work on the Legislature’s education committees, while former state Rep. Janice McGeachin of Idaho Falls dinged Nonini for pushing his colleagues to adopt the Common Core standards.

Teacher prep rankings. Some of Idaho’s teacher preparation programs are underperforming, and one national expert says this lackluster performance could affect student test scores. Idaho programs landed all over the map on the National Council for Teacher Quality rankings, however. Northwest Nazarene University scored in the 94th percentile, while Idaho State University’s elementary teacher preparation program landed in the 25th percentile.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger with Idaho Education News ( Idaho Education News is an independent news site focused on education policy and politics, funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation. Richert has worked in the Idaho news media since 1985, as a reporter, editor and columnist.