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Major Setback to Goals 2000 in Idaho

IDAHO FALLS, ID -- The Idaho School Improvement Committee (ISIC) was set up to allocate nearly half a million dollars in Goals 2000 funding that the state received from the federal government in 1995. ISIC developed a budget that included $95,000 for a part-time technical assistant to promote the Goals 2000 program. The Committee's decision was all but unanimous.

The only member of the Committee to vote against the budget was Dani Hansen, but she was determined to voice her objections. Hansen headed directly to the Governor's office and asked his staff to take a look at the budget. Then she repeated her request to State Board of Education members, the chairman and vice chairman of the House Education Committee, and to friends in the Idaho House of Representatives.

As a result, the ISIC chairman was obliged to rewrite her budget, allocating funds for six part-time positions instead, each with a $15,000 salary -- plus $10,000 for travel expenses, $5,000 for phone expenses, and 28 percent of the funds assigned to benefits.

Hansen again warned state officials to keep their eyes open while reviewing the budget. Her vigilance paid off. Not only did the Idaho Board of Education shoot down the ISIC chairman's budget; it promptly removed all Goals 2000 funding from her control as well, and sunsetted the Committee as of December 1.

A new committee, called the Goals 2000 Panel, will be appointed to determine how to spend the $448,000 the federal government has awarded to Idaho. And the dedicated band of volunteers that Dani Hansen assembled to protest the original budget stand ready to go into action again, if necessary.

A second battle is developing over the federal School-to-Work grant. Hired to review it, Hansen advised the State Board of Education that implementation of the grant would require a rewrite of rules and regulations for public schools, and that a current task force would offer new regulations to replace those presently used.

Another panel, this one state-sponsored and more conservative, is now reviewing the grant along with the rules and regulations.

Parents are now working to ensure that wording such as "work-based component," "integrated," "applied," and "contextual learning" (OBE) is eliminated from legislation now pending in Congress.

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