State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna is presenting his State Department of Education budget right now to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee; that'll be followed by the public school budget, the largest single piece of Idaho's state budget. You can watch live here; click on "JFAC."
Luna told lawmakers he’s had questions about statewide student testing; the department spends about $5.7 million a year on statewide standardized testing, which had been the ISAT, the Idaho Standards Achievement Test. About 30 percent of that comes from state general funds, and 70 percent from federal funds; Luna said that won’t change as the state transitions to the new Smarter Balanced assessment, and he’s not requesting more funding.
“Every estimate has shown that the cost of administering the Smarter Balanced assessment at the end of the year in Idaho should be similar to the cost of administering the ISAT,” he said. “We are finally moving away from a stagnant, multiple-choice-only test to a test that is able to better measure our students and what they truly know and are able to do – and we are able to do so in a cost-effective way.”