Idaho Schools prepare for student walkouts

Posted at 12:04 PM, Mar 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-09 14:04:22-05

This week’s education headlines:

Student walkouts. Idaho students are planning to walk out of school Wednesday, showing solidarity with their peers nationwide and protesting congressional inaction on gun violence. Among the planned events: a rally on the steps of the Statehouse. “We as students are concerned about our future and our safety in school,” said Colette Raptosh, an organizer of the Statehouse rally.

A $410 million election day. Tuesday is a big election day for school districts large and small. All told, 44 school districts are seeking bond issues and tax levies with a total price tag of $410 million. Idaho’s largest district is running Tuesday’s big-ticket item; the growing West Ada School District is seeking a $95 million bond issue, as well as a separate, $28 million supplemental levy.

Rethinking a reading test. Teachers are giving some good early reviews to a new reading test, but Boise State University researchers say it’s too early to draw conclusions from the pilot project. That leaves legislative budget-writers skittish. They have put on hold a $100,000 request to expand the pilot — and two key lawmakers are skeptical about the need for a statewide test.

Scholarship bill passes House. A controversial bill to create a scholarship fund for private schools got through the House on a narrow 39-31 vote. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, says the fund would create options for students in poverty and special-needs students. Rep. Paul Amador, R-Coeur d’Alene, said the bill “creates government intrusion in the private sector market.”

Resounding vote on rural schools. For state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s rural schools proposal, the third time was most assuredly not the charm. On a lopsided 48-20 vote, the House rejected Ybarra’s proposal to create support networks to help small districts pool their resources and share programs. The House had passed similar bills in 2016 and 2017.


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.