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Idaho Considers Student Loan Relief to Attract Teachers

Photo courtesy of Patrick Q via Flickr

Some Idaho lawmakers have an idea on how to get more qualified teachers into the state, by helping them pay their student loans.

Since 2110, the number of teachers in Idaho has been dwindling. By 2013 the number of teachers leaving Idaho classrooms was twice the number of teachers seeking certification, about 1800 versus 900.

Now comes a new proposal in the form of a bill that would grant new teachers in rural areas some relief to their student loans. The bill is sponsored by North Idaho Democratic representative Paulette Jordan.

Jordan says, “It would be three thousand dollars of student loan forgiveness that would apply for the next four year, so a total of twelve thousand to offset their costs.”

Jordan says some outreach studies indicate the average cost for a four year teachers degree is 16 thousand dollars per year. She points to the current budget surplus as a way to help pay for the plan.  Jordan says, “I mean we have $110,000,000, and if we look at paying off some our current bills , which we are also making annual payments for, these early payments would save our state $8,000,000 immediately, which if we even directed that to this bill, there you go, instant solution”

Jordan says she has some Republican co-sponsors on board with the bill. A town hall meeting to focus on this plan and other issues will be held in Moscow on Saturday at Noon at the 1912 center.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.