Idaho budget writers approve public education funding

Posted at 1:05 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 15:05:39-05

State budget writers have agreed to allocate a 6.3 percent budget increase to Idaho's public schools.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the public schools budget for fiscal year 2018 at $1.68 billion on Monday. For the second year in a row, the schools budget is just slightly under what Governor "Butch" Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra originally proposed.

Lawmakers decided to boost discretionary funding for Idaho classrooms, rather than adding a new $15 million line item to help cover health insurance costs -- as requested by the Governor Otter.

The K-12 budget plan also includes $62 million to fund teacher pay increases -- $5 million more for classroom technology, and a $4.25 million increase for professional development.

The education proposal must now pass the House and Senate, but budget bills rarely change once leaving the budget-setting committee.

(by Associated Press)