Sherri Ybarra

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Last week, Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra called a meeting of her "Red Tape Committee," a group of 18 education leaders formed to reduce red tape in the Department of Education. But the public and the press were kept out and the meeting was held behind closed doors. Clark Corbin from Idaho Ed News joins Idaho Matters to talk about why the meeting was kept secret.

Idaho Public Television

Idaho Public Television aired this weekend's political debates; State Superintendent of Public Education on Friday night and the 2nd Congressional District on Sunday. Idaho Matters breaks down the candidates' responses and how the performances will play out on Election Day.

Idaho Ed News

Schools chief Sherri Ybarra is making it official, formally launching her re-election bid today.

Ybarra, a Republican from Mountain Home, was elected superintendent of public instruction in 2014.

She first told Idaho Education News in a videotaped interview in December 2015 that she would seek a second term in 2018.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho Department of Education's new reading test will be tried out by 57 schools.

The schools are in 37 districts scattered across the state, The Times-News reported.

The Idaho Reading Indicator test is given to kindergarten through third-graders.

"I truly appreciate those schools and teachers who are willing to participate in this pilot and go above and beyond to make this a smooth statewide implementation," Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said.

Andrew Reed / Idaho Ed News

Jeff Dillon says he is running for state schools superintendent to help create a “climate of possibility.”

But first, the Wilder School District superintendent says he needs to raise money and elevate his statewide profile as he challenges a sitting incumbent. And that’s why he submitted his paperwork Friday to launch his campaign.

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's top schools chief says she wants a 6.6 percent increase in education spending for 2017, requesting more money for teacher salaries and literacy improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Thursday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up $104.7 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year.

Idaho's public schools are on track to receive a 7.4 percent budget increase under a plan from the Legislature's budget-setting committee.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a 6.8 percent boost — about $100.3 million — for public schools on Monday morning. But some components of the K-12 budget plan are still working their way through the House and Senate, and committee members said they expect those bills will bring the total public education budget to a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

Herald Post / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra is proposing a 7.5 percent hike in public school funding. The increase would go toward more money for teacher salaries and restoring funding to pre-recession levels for Idaho's 115 school districts to spend on paying insurance, utilities or other operations costs.

Ybarra presented her budget to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She is requesting spending $1.5 billion for fiscal 2017, which is nearly $110 million more than this year's budget.

Idaho Education News

As Idaho moves into the realm of mastery-based education, the state is getting unpaid help from a prominent education reform group.

But the Foundation for Excellence in Education — founded by GOP presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — is itself a newcomer to mastery. During a meeting with the State Board of Education in May, a foundation official said the group has not worked with any other states on implementing mastery programs.

Derek Bruff / Flickr

A study by a rural education group has found that the four-day school week some Idaho schools have adopted has not been saving money as they were intended.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho, an initiative of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, found that some districts saw their costs rise after the switch to a shorter week. There was little data on the educational impact of the schedule.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

State education officials have delayed finalizing Idaho's No Child Left Behind waiver with the federal government until the end of April in order to pursue a more flexible agreement for local districts.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra announced the change to the House Education Committee on Monday.

She had just finished attending meetings with other state education heads in Washington, D.C.

A proposal that would approve $3.6 million in emergency funding for Idaho's faltering broadband program is headed to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's desk for his signature.

The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/1JDJkrh) reports that the Idaho Senate unanimously voted Monday to approve the stopgap proposal. The legislation would require school districts to negotiate their own broadband contracts for the rest of this school year.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra says she wants local school officials to decide how money should be spent in the classroom.

During her first budget presentation to the Legislature Thursday morning, Ybarra said she hadn't yet determined exactly how funds for some of her biggest policy initiatives would be spent. Instead, Ybarra said, she wanted to figure out those details once she saw just how much money the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee budgets for each line item.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra offered a brief glimpse of her agenda for the 2015 Idaho Legislature at her first press conference since being elected in November.

Ybarra told reporters Monday that she is considering increasing operational funding for schools while possibly delaying the implementation of a new plan that seeks to tighten teacher certification credentials.

Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

Sherri Ybarra says she's staying mum on all things budget, policy and staffing until she's sworn into office on Jan. 5.

The recently elected Republican is in the middle of transitioning to become Idaho's next superintendent of public instruction.

Ybarra told The Associated Press Wednesday that it would be inappropriate to discuss changes she's considering because current state Superintendent Tom Luna is still in office.

Instead, Ybarra says she is on a "silent tour," and focusing on gathering input from lawmakers and staffers.

Ybarra Wins Idaho Schools Chief Race By Fewer Than 6,000 Votes

Nov 5, 2014
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, the closest statewide race of Idaho's 2014 election was for superintendent of public instruction. Unofficially, Republican Sherri Ybarra won with 50.7 percent of the vote to Democrat Jana Jones' 49.3 percent. Just 5,700 votes separated the two candidates.

In Latest Campaign Gaffe, Ybarra's Degrees In Question

Oct 22, 2014
Aaron Kunz / Idaho Public Television

This story was updated at 6:50 p.m. Oct. 23. 

Sherri Ybarra's campaign has issued a statement about her academic achievements after questions surfaced earlier this week about whether she was in the process of completing a doctorate in education.

Idaho Education News reports that Ybarra is 18 credits shy of completing her doctorate.

Idaho Public Television

The two candidates vying for the job of Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction faced off Tuesday night in a debate sponsored by Idaho Public Television. 

Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones are competing to replace Tom Luna, who's stepping down at the end of his current term. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Sherri Ybarra says her at-times bumpy campaign for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction is a result of increased public scrutiny on a political newcomer. But the school administrator from Mountain Home says she understands the focus that's on her comes with a run for public office.

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

If state superintendent hopeful Sherri Ybarra votes on Election Day, it will be the first time the Republican has cast a ballot in a November general election while living in Mountain Home.

According to Elmore County election records, Ybarra has not voted for a governor, a state superintendent, a president or a state legislator in a general election since moving to Mountain Home in 1996.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s four-day schools have become a talking point in this fall’s elections — to the chagrin of at least two superintendents that use a four-day instruction calendar.

They say the four-day schools are getting an unfair rap for slashing instruction time, and for compromising quality.

“I understand why it’s out there in the political discussion, because it’s a quick soundbite,” Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite said last week.

It has certainly been a recurring campaign theme.

Idaho should “explore” a more aggressive Internet sales tax, Jana Jones said Friday.

Sherri Ybarra, meanwhile, sidestepped the question, saying tax policy is wholly the job of the Legislature.

In their third head-to-head meeting of the week, the two state superintendent’s candidates didn’t break new ground — and, once again, they generally agreed on many issues.

This story was updated at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 2014

State superintendent’s candidate Sherri Ybarra has edited her campaign website — removing language that was nearly identical to wording on opponent Jana Jones’ website. 

The modifications apparently were made Thursday, a day after Idaho Education News first reported on similarities between the rival candidates’ sites. As recently as mid-afternoon Thursday, the passages appeared twice on Ybarra’s page.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

After securing a surprise victory in Idaho's Republican primary, Sherri Ybarra now moves up to face Democratic challenger and political veteran Jana Jones in the race for Idaho's top education post.

Unlike the three GOP newcomers Ybarra competed against in the May primary, Ybarra's opponent in November's general election comes with statewide name recognition and has already significantly outraised and outspent her Republican contender.

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra has won a close Republican primary for superintendent of public instruction, setting up what could be one of the most competitive statewide races in November.

Ybarra of Mountain Home took 28 percent of Tuesday's vote. Randy Jensen of American Falls was in second place with just over 24 percent, followed by John Eynon of Cottonwood with 24 percent and Andy Grover of Melba with 23 percent. All four of the candidates came with experience as educators but no political background.

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