Boise, ID.   –   On Thursday, Idaho’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra asked state officials to raise the public school budget 6.8 percent next year.

Ybarra would like the largest piece of her proposed budget pie, a proposed $46.6 million for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, to go toward increasing teachers’ salaries.

Ybarra says that increasing teacher pay is a one of the top priorities she’s heard consistantly around the state from superintendents, and teachers, to trustees and parents.

Perhaps the talk of improving teacher pay, is seen as a solution, to the recently released reports that show Idaho’s schools combating issues surrounding keeping teachers and with the experince levels of those teachers.

The report found that nearly 1 in 5 teachers in the state did not return to their school the next year, and that Idaho’s teacher workforce is becoming less experienced, with novice or early career teachers representing an increasing share, especially in relatively low-performing, high-poverty schools.

“This information strengthens our commitment to our plan to attract and keep great teachers, increase their pay and make sure all Idaho students have access to an excellent education, regardless of whether their homes are rural or low-income.”

“We’ve heard the stories, but now we have the evidence,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “The more we understand our challenges, the better we can address them.”

Idaho Governor Butch Otter recently asked lawmakers for a 6 percent increase in funding for schools in his State of the State address.

If Ybarra’s proposed budget is approved, public school funding would become the largest chunk of Idaho’s budget, topping out at around 48 percent of the state’s spending. Now, it will be up to the state’s decision makers to decide if that is money well spent.