Gov. Butch Otter’s plan for spending stimulus money calls for still cutting 5 percent from statewide personnel costs for all agencies funded by the state general fund, his budget director, Wayne Hammon, just told lawmakers - and, in response to a question from Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, he said that does apply to public schools. “Yes, it does include public schools - that would be in addition to the list submitted to you by the superintendent,” Hammon said. State schools Supt. Tom Luna’s proposed $62 million in cuts for schools next year already includes the equivalent of a 1.5 percent pay cut for teachers and other educators - eliminating funding equal to three contract days of pay. The governor’s proposal would add the 5 percent cut in personnel cuts on top of that, something both Luna and lawmakers have been trying to avoid.
Keough responded, “There will be challenges from employee morale standpoint, to deal with as managers. I’m certain that the governor has has thought those through, and we’ll have to wrestle with that. It’s a very surprising recommendation to me.” Said Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, “It seems to me we’re asking for a double dip there.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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