Public schools budget receives 2.2% boost
Idaho's public schools budget will increase by 2.2% in the next year, thanks to the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee getting bipartisan support on its plan. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Idaho's public schools budget will increase by 2.2% in the next year, thanks to the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee getting bipartisan support on its plan.
"It's a very modest increase, but it does restore some of the reductions that were done in the past," says JFAC Senate chairman Senator Dean Cameron of Rupert.
Two areas receiving extra support will be portions of teacher pay and increasing technology in the class room.
"In a meager way, we add some additional technology dollars, and add some additional money that can be used towards rewarding those excellent teachers," Cameron says.
Technology, which had been a major portion of Superintendent Tom Luna's “Students Come First” plan turned down by voters in November, will receive $13.4 million.
"Students come first would have done this at a much faster pace, and I understand the reality,” Luna says. “It's not going to happen as fast as we wanted it to. It's not going to happen as fast as it's happening in other states. "
Luna says the money not be all he wanted for technology, but it will go a long way in using technology to broadcast classes that rural students may not be able to attend otherwise.
"You're not going to find a Calculus teacher, and sometimes an Algebra 2 teacher, and sometimes an Advanced English teacher, to teach in every highs school in Idaho," he says.
Luna admits there is still more to be done to re-fill the cuts that have been made in recent years to Idaho's education budget.
“Do we need to get more money in discretionary funding? Absolutely. Do we need to restore the dollars that have been cut for maintenance? We do," he says.