One of every four dollars spent by the Idaho state government is allocated to public schools, generating a total budget of more than $3.3 billion. Despite this sizable investment, state competency scores reveal that half of Idaho students cannot read at grade level and 3 in 5 are not proficient in math. With policymakers and the education establishment working to advance the narrative that more funding equates to more success, Idahoans are perennially faced with the prospect of higher taxes and larger government with nothing to show for but the same poor performance from their local schools.
This report challenges the narrative that funding alone is the answer to struggling students and investigates what taxes, revenues, programs, and staff are really supporting. With the number of administrative and certificated student services positions have each grown nearly three times as fast as instructional positions, the education establishment demonstrates a bureaucratic pathology for diverting resources from the very purpose of their organization – instruction and students. Rather, they prioritize fostering social justice indoctrination, stashing more than $1.1 billion in their coffers, and creating new paycheck gimmicks and faulty incentive programs.
Building on the truth behind education spending in the Gem State, this report proposes tangible conservative solutions for lawmakers, school boards, educators, and parents alike to change the impetus of big government spending. Ultimately, this report will serve as a toolkit for taxpayers to be informed and advocate for real success among Idaho’s students.