Otter just told lawmakers he’ll recommend a public school budget of more than $1.36 billion in general funds. For colleges and universities, he’s calling for $275.6 million, including $12.9 million to help make salaries more competitive. “And speaking of universities, how about those Broncos?!” he asked to loud applause.
But an even longer and more sustained round of applause followed Otter’s announcement that he’s recommending spending $38 million in state money to create an endowment for needs-based scholarships for Idaho students headed to Idaho colleges. That endowment would provide $2 million a year in scholarships from its earnings.
Otter also called for a $5 million "carrot" to encourage the formation of a new community college district, such as one for the Boise area.
He also called for fully funding former Gov. Jim Risch’s nursing education initiative – not by bonding for half of it, as Risch has suggested, but by paying for the whole $37 million up-front.