State Board Spends $ 26 Million on Student Data Collection and After-School Programs

The State Board of Education on Thursday allocated some $ 26 million in federal coronavirus assistance to improve a state’s data collection system, funding additional learning opportunities, among others.

The money comes from the latest and largest round of elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds sent to Idaho through congressional coronavirus relief programs. While school districts and charter schools control 90% of the money, it is up to the State Council to manage the remaining 10%. That’s what the board addressed in Thursday’s unanimous vote.

The bulk of the money, up to an estimated $ 20 million, will be used to improve the state’s system for collecting enrollment, attendance, and student achievement data so Idaho can meet federal requirements in matters of reports. Governor Brad Little has already approved money from a third-party consultant to evaluate Idaho’s system, called ISEE, and determine what upgrades are needed.

A total of $ 4.4 million was dedicated to the after-school and summer learning programs that take place in partnership with the Idaho STEM Action Center, the Idaho Commission for Libraries, and the Idaho Out-of-School Network.

An additional $ 1.6 million will go to professional development programs. While an EdNews analysis of 151 district and charter plans found that some local leaders are using their federal relief money for professional development, this is far from universal.

The additional state investment aims to “level the playing field” and “ensure that our small rural districts have access to the same materials and opportunities as our large districts,” said Linda Clark, member of the Board of state. “Specifically, we had a lot of feedback about the difficulty small rural districts have in providing mentors and professional development.

And $ 100,000 will be used to develop a manual to help educators better serve dyslexic students. Developing such a manual is among the stated priorities of State Superintendent Sherri Ybarra for the next legislative session, along with creating teacher-focused training and providing early screenings for dyslexia.

“We’re not that far behind (other states), but we don’t want to fall behind drastically and not help children,” Ybarra told the board before voting for the proposal.

Prior to this week, the board had already determined that it would give a quarter of the ESSER III money it controls to school districts and charters that were not receiving federal money because they had a low student share. low income. He had also pledged money for an accelerated math learning program and a committee that was supposed to hold schools accountable for student achievement. These previous allocations represent approximately $ 15 million of state-controlled ESSER III funds.

The state still has not budgeted $ 3 million of the roughly $ 44 million it controls. The board vote generally affected the remaining $ 41 million; the board will still have to vote on the details later, as the costs become clearer.

When these votes take place, the board will need to ensure it meets federal requirements, allocating minimum percentages of its money – known as “side” funding – for predetermined purposes, as noted below.

Another Thursday action

The board also approved a five-year contract for new University of Idaho football head coach Jason Eck. His annual base salary will be $ 175,000, but could exceed $ 300,000 with built-in incentives and benefits.

About Blake Jones

Journalist Blake Jones covers politics and politics of the Idaho K-12 public school system. He has been a lifelong native of Idaho and holds degrees in Creative Writing and Political Economy from the College of Idaho. Follow Blake on Twitter @jonesblakej. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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