The Legislature’s joint interim committee on the K-12 educational system has convened at the state Capitol this morning, with public school facilities and security the first item on today’s agenda. Later this morning, the current state of assessments and testing is up for discussion. This afternoon, the committee will hear presentations on the “sunset” legislation passed this year – bills with a one-year “sunset,” or expiration date, targeting teacher contract rights. You can see the full agenda here; and listen live here; the committee is meeting in room EW42 of the Capitol.
Dave Teater, a consultant and former longtime school administrator, is up first. Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, said, “You remember that the Supreme Court once upon a time suggested that the Legislature had not fulfilled its constitutional requirement in providing facility funding. We have taken steps to correct that, and so far the Supreme Court has not gone any farther.”
Teater outlined a “renewal-replacement model” for school buildings, to address needed upgrades on an ongoing basis for all school buildings; along with a combination of funding sources, including property taxes, lottery funds and state general fund dollars, and accountability safeguards. “I don’t pretend to come here today with a solution to all the problems,” he said. “This is, we hope, the beginning of a discussion.”
Teater estimated the needed funding for an ongoing school building renewal and replacement program statewide in Idaho at about $60 million a year. Plus, he noted, “There's a lot of buildings out there that are in tough shape, and there appears to be a lot of pent-up demand.”