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Job cuts approved for online academy

by Brian Walker
| June 16, 2010 9:00 PM

Idaho Digital Learning Academy staff members will be required to take furlough days during the next school year while teachers will take an 8 percent pay cut to meet a 22 percent funding reduction from the Legislature.

The full-time executive team will take four unpaid days off while other full-time staffers will take two furlough days.

Salaries were also frozen for the second straight year.

"These are historically difficult times for Idaho's education system," said Donna Hutchison, IDLA CEO. "Like all schools statewide, Idaho Digital Learning is making sacrifices. Our priority is to manage these budget cuts in such a way that it minimizes the effect on students."

The IDLA recently had 187 students from the Coeur d'Alene School District enrolled in its courses, 129 from Post Falls, 112 from Lakeland, 44 from Kootenai, 41 from St. Maries and 12 from Plummer-Worley.

Other cuts include online course development, regional support and professional development.

Additionally, for the first time in IDLA's history, enrollment caps will be implemented, creating waiting lists for students in an undetermined number of courses.

After seeing 50 percent growth each year since it was created by the Legislature in 2002, budget restrictions have forced the state's online school to limit enrollments to 15,000 for next school year.

"In order to meet last year's demand, IDLA will be forced into 'deficit spending,'" said George Boland, IDLA board chairman. "This is not sustainable in the long term, but we will do our best to serve Idaho students and schools"

IDLA supplements existing school districts statewide with 165 online courses. It served 14,300 student enrollments and nearly all of Idaho's school districts this past year.

Idaho lawmakers held IDLA's budget at $5 million for next school year.