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A Message From Janie

Dear Friends,

Thank you for visiting my website! I am honored to serve as the State Senator from District 18, one of the most dynamic and diverse districts in Boise. As a retired teacher, I have dedicated my career to improving our communities, and it is with a clear vision and an even firmer resolve that I strive to meet the needs and expectations of my D18 neighbors.

There is much to do in 2016 on behalf of the hard-working people of Idaho. Despite progress in recent years, Idaho still ranks near the bottom in per pupil spending and family income, and near the top in minimum wage jobs. Like you, I consider these statistics to be unacceptable. Idaho can and should do better.  It is time we fully invest in education to ensure a bright and secure future for our children and the businesses of Idaho.

Looking back, 2015 marked the most productive session in years for the Idaho State Legislature. A major success story was the bi-partisan passage of a new five-year career ladder, teacher pay plan. As a retired classroom teacher and member of the Governor’s Task Force for Education, my goal was to increase teacher salaries to support our goal of recruiting and retaining highly skilled teachers. After three years of meetings and months of negotiation with stakeholders, I believe that HB 296 will have a positive impact on public education in Idaho. In addition to significantly raising educators’ salaries, we were able to build in some additional benefits:  including professional development, mentoring, evaluation training for administrators, plus some flexibility and safeguards for measuring student growth. While HB296 is not perfect, it provides a framework to move education and teacher compensation forward.  The challenge will be continuing to fund this five-year plan while replacing the money school districts lost during the recession.  We are still over $100 million short of the 2009 educational funding.

During the past session, I was pleased to sponsor and co-sponsor a number of bills. Among the most notable was an anti-bullying bill aimed at equipping schools and communities with necessary training and resources to address the problem of bullying. There were other important bills as well. They included an attempt to clean up an outdated provision relating to school trustees, clarify an existing statute concerning student progress, provide for the licensure of genetic counselors, formalize the rejection of a rule related to elk importation, and ensure access by deaf and hard of hearing citizens to qualified sign language interpreters. In addition, we successfully designated the Idaho Giant Salamander as our State Amphibian and launched National Diaper Need Awareness Week in Idaho.

While all our challenges cannot be overcome in just a few legislative sessions, I am confident that through hard work and a great deal of dedication and collaboration, we can make significant progress. I pledge to work tirelessly on your behalf to support our state’s full investment in education, encourage responsible economic growth, protect our quality of life, and support tolerance for all Idaho citizens.  If I can be of any assistance, please contact me.  Thank you for your support and input. I am honored to represent you.

Warmest Regards,
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Senator Janie Ward-Engelking