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Idaho ranks last in per-student spending for 5th consecutive year

Even with low budgets, Idaho ranks near middle of overall education rankings
Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 11:12 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — According to the National Education Association (NEA) , Idaho ranks last among all states and D.C. in per-student spending for the 5th consecutive year.

For educators in Twin Falls, this news comes as a disappointment, knowing that there are state funds that could help Idaho end this underwhelming streak.

“I think this year is a little more disappointing than past years because we have a large budget surplus right now at the state level,” says Idaho NEA Director Peggy Hoy, ”they’re not using that money [to make] education a priority.”

Twin Falls Superintendent Dr. Brady Dickinson believes that more funding could offer Idaho students the opportunity to gain more experience by providing adequate staff, leading to more individualized education.

“Well, if you have more support then you can start to individualize that instruction by creating groups with kids and really meeting their needs where they are,” says Dickinson. “So I think that’s just a critical component to helping kids in terms of maximizing their experience.”

Dickinson says that with more funding they could provide more resources to what they call the ‘big three,’ mental health programs, one-on-one education, and diversified, hands-on programs to help build career goals.

He believes that with those programs Idaho could see a large jump in education rankings nationwide, but first, the funding must come.

“We’re at the bottom for spending but we’re in the middle of the pack in terms of our educational outcomes,” says Dickinson. “We’re not satisfied with middle of the pack, we want to be at the top for Idaho kids. When I look at that at I go, ‘yeah we’re doing good with the money that we have’ but, again, I don’t want to be middle I want to be at the top.”

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