Rural Education Initiative


To find solutions to the problems Idaho's rural schools face and make recommendations to State Superintendent Tom Luna, the State Board of Education and the Idaho Legislature on how we should move forward to implement these proposals.


The FY 2009 public schools budget included $50,000 for continued research and development of the Rural Education Initiative.

Standing Recommendations from 2008:
  1. Support and approve Superintendent Luna's ISTARS Teacher Compensation Plan, which included four of the committee's recommendations for improving the recruitment and retention of Highly Qualified Teachers: incentives for teachers who teach in hard-to-fill positions, earn multiple endorsements or take on extra duties
  2. Support and approve Governor Otter and Superintendent Luna's recommendation to increase the base pay for classified staff.
  3. Establish a separate line item in the public schools budget dedicated to insurance costs and benefits.
  4. Fund a position (or partial position) per school district for technology support based on student enrollment benchmarks to be established by the Rural Education Task force.

During the 2008-2009 school year, the Task Force plans to further explore issues related to transportation costs, the impact of federal requirements and meeting the individual needs of special needs students, and aging and deteriorating school facilities.

Rural Education Initiative Task Force:
  • Tim Rosandick, Superintendent of Homedale School District, Homedale
  • Sandra Pommerening, Superintendent of Kellogg School District, Kellogg
  • Mel Wiseman, Superintendent and Principal in Shoshone School District, Shoshone
  • Robert Benfit, Counselor in Wallace School District, Wallace
  • John Wright, Business representative, Wendell
  • Rep. Ken Roberts, Legislative representative, Donnelly
  • Rep. Bert Brackett, Legislative representative, Rogerson
  • Sen. Steve Bair, Legislative representative, Blackfoot
  • Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd, Legislative representative, Wallace
  • Kelli Hurst, School Board trustee in Clark County School District, Dubois
  • Wayne Freedman, School Board trustee in Council School District, Council
  • Deidre Erwin, Idaho PTA representative, Bruneau
  • Harold Ott, Idaho Rural Schools Association representative, Lapwai/Troy
  • Shelby Kerns, executive director of the Idaho Rural Partnership, Boise
  • Donna Vakili, Idaho Digital Learning Academy, Boise
  • Rich Henderson, Regional Special Education Consultant
  • Tom Luna, Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • Nick Smith, Department staff, Deputy Superintendent of School Support Services
  • Wayne Carroll, Higher Education Representative, Lewis-Clark State College

PDF Icon Click Here to read the Rural Education Initiative Report to the 2008 Idaho Legislature