Idaho Business for Education announced Aug. 16 that Former Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter is joining IBE in an official advisory role.

Otter will carry the title “Of Counsel” to the 215-member statewide business group whose mission is to help students succeed in school and create the workforce Idaho needs for the 21st Century.

“It is a great honor to have Governor Otter join Idaho Business for Education,” said IBE Chair Andy Scoggin. “During his time leading the great state of Idaho he worked unceasingly to provide funding, direction and support for improving Idaho’s education system. We look forward to his continued involvement in our efforts to create a system that leads the nation in educating Idaho’s citizens.”

“I am so pleased to continue my involvement with Idaho Business for Education,” former Governor Butch Otter said. “IBE played a critical role in helping me create and implement the education policies of my administration. It assisted me in forming the 2013 K-12 task force that created the first strategic plan for education and the task force on higher education which recommended ways to make postsecondary more accessible and affordable. IBE also played an important role in helping create the College of Western Idaho and the College of Eastern Idaho. I look forward to working with IBE to continue improving the student outcomes in our great state.”

IBE said the unpaid Of Counsel role was created exclusively for Governor Otter so he can meet with IBE leaders regularly to advise them on education issues. He will also serve as an honorary member of the IBE Board of Directors.

IBE will seek Otter’s assistance with special projects related to IBE’s efforts to improve student outcomes in Idaho. This can include everything from appearing at and speaking to IBE-sponsored events to signing guest editorials in support of IBE education initiatives.

“IBE is pleased that Governor Otter has accepted this special role for our organization,” said IBE President and CEO Rod Gramer. “For the last several years IBE has worked closely with Governor Otter on policy issues to strengthen education. Having him accept the Of Counsel role gives IBE the opportunity to continue benefiting from his experience and insights.”

Gramer noted that Governor Otter created the Governor’s Task Force on Improving Education in 2013 which developed Idaho’s first-ever five-year plan for strengthening public education.

“That Task Force made 21 recommendations that became the blueprint for the initiatives the state has adopted and invested in over the past six years to move education forward,” Gramer said.

Those initiatives included creating a teacher career ladder which resulted in the single largest increase in teacher salaries in the state’s history. It also included expanding literacy programs to ensure that students can read proficiently by 3rd grade.

Under Otter’s leadership the state also expanded college and career advising to help students decide what academic and career paths to follow after high school.

As governor, Otter also expanded the state’s Opportunity Scholarship which provides financial assistance to thousands of Idaho postsecondary students. In 2018, the governor spearheaded an effort to make a portion of the Opportunity Scholarship available to working adults so they can return to college and finish their degree.

IBE is now working with Governor Brad Little to create the next five-year plan for K-12 education. Governor Little’s Our Kids, Idaho’s Future Task Force is co-chaired by IBE Board Member Bill Gilbert and Debbie Critchfield, the president of the State Board of Education.

The Our Kids, Idaho’s Future Task Force recommendations are due on Governor Little’s desk November 1.

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