Idaho State Board of Education receives update on federal funding

Posted at 9:01 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 11:01:51-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho schools will soon see a boost, thanks to new federal funding.

The Idaho State Board of Education says nearly $48 million in federal CARES Act funding will be available to public K-12 education in Idaho to help mitigate effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be dispersed to school districts and charter schools based on their proportional share of state Title I funds that they receive. Allocations range from $14,000 for small districts to $3 million for larger districts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra recommended a portion of the CARES Act funds be used to invest in a statewide Learning Management System (LMS) to improve distance learning capabilities (online) across Idaho’s public education system.

“The emphasis will be across the K-12 infrastructure system and focused on districts that do not already have a robust LMS system,” Ybarra said. “We need to make sure there’s uniformity and thoroughness. That’s particularly important during this school closure.”

Ybarra says she has heard from parents concerned that their children, receiving packets for distance learning, are not getting the same opportunities enjoyed by their peers with established online learning programs.

Board President Debbie Critchfield directed staff to work with the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, school districts, post-secondary institutions, and other stakeholders on a framework for what could be included in a statewide LMS and bring it back to the Board for later consideration. The group was asked to investigate options for a K-12 LMS, and K-12 and higher education solution.

For more on how the Board is managing online learning and impacts from COVID-19, click here.