Under the reorganization plan being pushed by Gov. Butch Otter and endorsed this week by the state Board of Education, various duties the board has had will be siphoned off to an array of other agencies, freeing the board to focus on policy. Among the changes: The state Historical Society and Commission for Libraries, both of which already have their own boards, will become self-governing agencies; responsibility for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation will move to the Department of Labor; and student testing and the responsibility for the “Gear Up” federal grant will move to the state Department of Education. Two bills to implement parts of those reforms, regarding the Historical Society and the Commission for Libraries, cleared the Senate State Affairs Committee this morning on unanimous votes; others are in the works. Overall, when the dust settles, the Office of the State Board of Education would go from an original budget this year of $5.1 million in general funds and $14 million total, to just $2.4 million in general funds next year, and $4.2 million total. That’s more than a two-thirds cut in the total-funds budget.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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