Idaho CTE courses booming, but funding remains uncertain

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KOOSKIA, Idaho (AP) The number of students enrolling in career and technical education courses in Idaho is booming, but funding remains an issue, education officials said.

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter put together a Workforce Development Task Force last January to improve funding and delivery of the state's training programs to meet Idaho's growing demand for skilled workers, the Lewiston Tribune reported .

This year, due to the failure of Congress to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools Act, which will gut more than $1 million from the Mountain View School District's operating funds, school district patrons are being asked to approve a levy of more than $3 million more than double what it was last year.

Mountain View School District Superintendent Marc Scheibe said nothing is secure if the levy fails.

"How does this school district exist, is the question that will have to be asked," he said. "It is impossible to say this district will look anything like it does now minus (the levy supplement)."

The likely result of a failed levy, he added, is that attendance would plummet and, with it, state funding for programs such as career and technical education , also known as CTE, which is based in part on enrollment.

A recent study of Idaho students who have taken more than one CTE course during high school years shows that 66 percent of them go on to some sort of postsecondary education; such as a trade school, two-to four-year technical college program or traditional university training. The average go-on rate for all Idaho students is about 49 percent, said Caty Solace, who heads the CTE program at the state education department.

Last year there were 59,575 students enrolled in CTE classes around the state. Of those, 7,783 students were taking a sequence of such classes.

Solace said 96 percent of students who have taken more than one CTE course in high school are finding jobs.

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Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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