Superintendent Sherri Ybarra talks education budget, requests $1.99 billion

Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 18:08:03-05

BOISE — Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra is preparing to present her budget requests to the legislature next week, to set the tone for what our schools need to prepare the educators and the students better.

Superintendent Sherri Ybarra says all the recommendations are a priority, but even more so, social-emotional learning and literacy proficiency.

"Making sure that a student can read is something that will affect the rest of their lives," said Ybarra.

On January 23rd, Ybarra speaks in front of the legislature to try and get her nearly $2 billion budget request approved. According to the State Department of Education, Superintendent Ybarra's request also includes $100 million in a new General Fund, which is a 5.3% increase over the current year's appropriation.

One area of funding she hopes to tackle is the career ladder.

"What I've heard from teachers is they like the career ladder because it gives them hope, they can see that state is working towards scheduled raises and raising teacher compensation and it also show them the legislature respects the profession and understands that we need to work towards compensating teachers," said Ybarra,

Ybarra and Governor Little's overall recommendations line up, just slightly different numbers for the career ladder. Supt. Ybarra is recommending $40 million as opposed to $30 million.

"We both are interested in raising veteran teacher pay, there is no magic number," said Ybarra.

Funding all-day kindergarten was recommended by the task force, though it was not one of Governor Little's critical points for the session. Ybarra says she won't be the superintendent to blanket require it.

"I think that's where we need to have the discussion around is the opportunity available for a student who may be a little bit behind, to spend a little bit more time all day in kindergarten," said Ybarra.

If the legislature doesn't mirror Ybarra's and Governor Little's recommendations for social-emotional learning, Ybarra says safety resources won't stop even if there's no funding attached.

"We will continue to address safety and social-emotional learning for our students, that includes suicide ideation, that includes bullying, that includes anything that deals with a students' mental health, we will continue to address those issues."