It's not just that Idaho ranks 50th in the nation for per-pupil spending on schools, an area where the state long has ranked low. It's that Idaho's ranking for school spending per $1,000 in personal income in the state has dropped dramatically, from 15th in the nation in 2001 to 41st in the latest U.S. Census report, released last week.
“I think we are in a race to the bottom here, it seems like,” said Sherri Wood, president of the Idaho Education Association, the state's teachers union. “Unfortunately it certainly is not going to be good for the state, and not for our students either.” Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, said, “We do not believe that per-pupil spending or the amount of money you put into education is the most important factor in determining a great public education system.” She said students from Idaho and Utah - the only state Idaho beat for per-pupil spending - outperform those in states that outspend them. Utah ranks 38th for school spending per $1,000 in personal income. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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