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Idaho's 10 largest school districts: What the data shows

Updated: Jun 10

Understanding whether your school district has the resources it needs to be successful can be difficult. Reading a school district budget can be the equivalent of learning another language.  Budget documents are a maze of numbers and legal jargon – if you can even find them. Depending on the district, they can be hidden on websites, and only accessible if you know where to look.

When you finally do track down the document, it can be very difficult to read and understand. It is a good thing that budget documents are posted online. Unfortunately, transparency doesn’t mean much if it’s not understandable.

In 2021, Idaho legislators passed House Bill 73, which tasks the state Controller to create a uniform accounting, budgeting, and financial reporting procedure. It is expected to be completed by January of 2025, and it will be another tool available to track results and demand accountability.

In the 2024 legislative session, lawmakers introduced legislation to adopt the Public School Transparency Act[1] – a Mountain States Policy Center idea to require districts on the first page of their budgets as well as on their website, clearly report key data including spending, student to teacher ratios and more. The idea had more than 80% support in MSPC’s 2022 Idaho Poll.

While the legislation did not pass, lawmakers should continue to make it easier for parents and the community to understand budgets and compare and contrast districts across the state.

The release of all public data is paramount, but for working families and concerned citizens, certain data points are most important and should be easily found and understood – without a calculator or a degree in accounting.

This publication highlights Idaho’s 10 largest school districts, the staffing of each, the average salaries of administrators, principals and teachers, and key ratios. All data contained in this publication comes directly from the school district’s posted budget, as well as the Idaho Department of Education, using the most recent year available.

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