Idaho Dems propose rural teacher recruitment bill

Posted at 12:27 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 14:29:56-05

Idaho's Democratic caucus is presenting a bill to the legislature designed to encourage teachers to work in rural school districts through a student loan forgiveness program. 

Rep. Paulette Jordan, D-Plummer, and Rep. Salle Toone, D-Gooding, are championing the bill. 

"We have the career ladder, absolutely, and we appreciate the Governor's efforts in education," Toone says. "But there's always room for a little extra, and we need to appreciate the teachers that work that system."

The bill will create a program that offers teachers an incentive to work in eligible rural schools. Qualified teachers could receive up to $12,000 in student loan forgiveness over a four year period. 

Idaho currently ranks 49th for rural student spending. 

The bill tasks the State Department of Education with identifying the rural schools and subject areas with the greatest need. 

Jordan says she expects bipartisan support for the bill.

"This issue is really one where we're just trying to look out for our future," Jordan says. "It's about investing in our teachers just as much as they are investing in our youth."