Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter signed House Bill 521 today, laying the foundation for developing and implementing strategic plans to improve student performance in Idaho's public schools. It is one the first of the recommendations from the Governor's Task Force for Improving Education to become law.
House Bill 521 was sponsored by Representative Wendy Horman, a former school board member, and was overwhelmingly approved by both chambers of the Idaho Legislature. "This bill and others related to Task Force recommendations demonstrate the Governor's and the Legislature's commitment to education," she said.
"As I said in my State of the State address, this is among the recommendations from my Task Force that speaks directly to the importance of meeting local needs while aligning with our statewide objectives, and to the importance of accountability as we responsibly invest in Idaho's future," Governor Otter said.
Among the bill's requirements:
* School districts and public charter schools will develop and maintain strategic plans that focus on improving student performance, in collaboration with stakeholders including students, parents, educators and the community as appropriate.
* Strategic plans will be data-driven by student outcomes, include clear and measureable targets for improving those outcomes, have a clear vision and mission, and include indicators for monitoring performance.
* Strategic plans for the 2014-15 school year will be adopted by September 1, and will be reviewed and updated each year thereafter by August 1.
* School boards will continuously monitor progress toward goals stated in the strategic plans, and that progress will be used in evaluating district superintendents or administrators of public charter schools.
* Strategic plans will be available to the public on school district or charter school Web sites.
* Each school district or public charter school will be reimbursed up to $2,000 for training on strategic planning, finance, superintendent evaluations and public charter school evaluations, ethics and governance.
"As a past school board trustee and a Task Force member, I appreciate the need for development of meaningful strategic plans and for the financial support provided local boards by H521," Senate Education Committee Chairman John Goedde said. "I was happy to carry it on the Senate floor."