Idaho budget writers approve bulk of public...

Posted at 11:36 AM, Feb 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-29 19:14:06-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Idaho's public schools are on track to receive a 7.4 percent budget increase under a plan from the Legislature's budget-setting committee.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved a 6.8 percent boost -- about $100.3 million -- for public schools on Monday morning. But some components of the K-12 budget plan are still working their way through the House and Senate, and committee members said they expect those bills will bring the total public education budget to a 7.4 percent increase over the previous year.

That end figure would be slightly less than the amounts requested by both Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and State Schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra but it's the same percentage hike as approved by lawmakers last year.

The legislation still in the pipeline would add a $10.7 million program to promote early literacy for children and $1 million for leadership awards for teachers.

The K-12 budget supports about 294,000 students across the state.