Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said, "Today's a very painful day. ... The motions that are before you are difficult choices." Both reduce teacher pay, he noted; they just do it in different ways. Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, urged support for the larger cuts. "We have to recognize the climate that we're in now," he said. Rep Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said cutting an early retirement incentive program is unfair. "It doesn't give proper notice to people, people have already made their plans," she said. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said, "We need to make sure we have enough in our reserves to avoid any cutting in 2010, which would be devastating."
Said Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, "We know that this is temporary, and we know that we will recover from this and restore these cuts. ... This is an historic recession. ... We'll make it through this tough time. It's not going to be forever." Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, said some first-grade teachers in Idaho already have 35 kids in their classes. "We have made our schools live so close to the bone, that when we got to today and we are making these cuts, we are in essence breaking our public school system."