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Eye On Boise

‘One might call it a sleight of hand’

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, noted that there's in essence a double cut in the way the holdback was calculated for public schools. That's because in addition to the 4 percent holdback, Gov. Butch Otter also cut the $3.9 million for the math initiative. However, both are fully made up from the public education stabilization fund, so schools actually aren't out the money. Ringo noted that 4 percent of the math initiative already was cut as part of the holdback - and then the whole thing was cut again. Said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, "It's in essence subtracting those funds twice. One might call it a sleight of hand," and as other JFAC members urged him on with suggestions, he added, "or sneaky, or underhanded." DFM Chief Wayne Hammon, who used the "sleight of hand" and "sneaky" phrases yesterday to lawmakers' great dismay, was among those in the audience laughing along.

Legislative budget analyst Paul Headlee said the lawmakers are correct - in essence, the math initiative funds in the school budget this year are being reduced by 104 percent. Of course, the initiative is still funded - for now.

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.