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New education series begins by tackling Idaho school funding

BOISE — March 5, 2014 — A new report series by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will contribute data and context to education improvement in Idaho.

The ReThink Series: Knowledge Base of Education Facts is a quarterly report series designed to give Idahoans a deeper understanding of where Idaho stands today on a number of key education issues.

The first report details the current level and nature of Idaho’s investment in K-12 education. “Five questions about education funding in Idaho,” addresses these essential questions:

• How much does Idaho spend on K-12 schools and how does that compare nationally?
• Where does the money for education come from?
• How does spending differ across Idaho and why?
• How do Idaho schools spend their money?
• Would spending more improve achievement?

The report also squarely addresses the linkage between Idaho’s education system and economy.

“Data-driven decision making is so important,” Foundation Executive Director Jamie MacMillan said. “We hope that these reports provide a framework for discussion around key issues. And how we fund our schools is definitely one of the most important.”

This edition is produced in partnership with ECONorthwest, an economic, finance and planning consultant.

About the Foundation and ECONorthwest

The ReThink Series is a collaboration between the Foundation and ECONorthwest, the oldest and most comprehensive economic consulting firm in the Northwest. With offices in Boise, Portland and Seattle, ECONorthwest has more than three decades of experience helping clients make sound, data-driven decisions based on rigorous economic and financial analysis.

John Tapogna and Melissa Rowe led the research on this report with review and assistance from Kevin Cahill, Brian Greber and Wil Gleasman. Tapogna is president of ECONorthwest and leads the firm’s consulting practice in education, health, social and tax policy areas. Prior to joining ECONorthwest, he was an analyst for the U.S. Congressional Budget Office. Rowe is a manager with the ECONorthwest education team and is collaborating on projects with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oregon’s Chalkboard Project, the Oregon Business Council and Washington’s League of Education Voters.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is a Boise-based, private family foundation committed to limitless learning for all Idahoans. Since 1997, the Foundation has invested more than $600 million to improve education in Idaho.