State schools Supt. Tom Luna says Idaho’s public schools need a 9.2 percent increase in state general funds next year, just to keep even and fund student growth. In a budget request for fiscal year 2011 that Luna’s scheduled to present to the state Board of Education on Thursday, he calls for a $1.34 billion general fund appropriation for public schools next year, $1.73 billion in total funds. That’s up from $1.23 billion in general funds this year - the first year that Idaho’s schools have taken a cut in state funds from what they received the year before. This year’s school budget, in state funds, was 7.7 percent below last year’s $1.33 billion level.
In his submission for Thursday’s state board meeting, Luna said his budget request for next year would require a $112.7 million increase in general funds to replace federal stimulus money that helped prop up this year’s school budget, and to fund growth. He’s also calling for a $28.1 million appropriation from the state’s Public Education Stabilization Fund to finish closing that gap. In total funds - including federal stimulus money, some of which was targeted to specific programs - this year’s school budget was set at $1.71 billion.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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