Idaho will qualify for $51.6 million in aid to its hard-hit public schools under the new federal jobs bill, and Gov. Butch Otter has announced that he'll apply for the money, a decision welcomed by state schools Supt. Tom Luna. Click below to read Otter's full news release.
C.L. “Butch” Otter
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 16, 2010
IDAHO TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL EDUCATION MONEY
GOVERNOR OTTER AND SUPERINTENDENT LUNA EMPHASIZE FOCUS ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS FUNDING
(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna announced today that the State will apply for Idaho’s share of federal education funding recently appropriated by Congress. A review of the federal guidelines for the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act made it clear that Idaho is eligible for a share of the school funding. The Governor and representatives from the Superintendent’s office planned to meet with legislative leaders on Tuesday to discuss the specifics related to this issue.
“While I am leery about Congress continuing to spend beyond our grandchildren’s means, I realize that Idaho schoolchildren will be repaying this debt no matter what decision I make today. So I’ve decided to apply for an additional $51.6 million in one-time federal funds for Idaho’s public schools. I believe that any additional revenue, including this funding made available by Congress, should go straight into our classrooms to preserve student-teacher contact time by reducing furloughs and other local measures that have been taken. I also join Superintendent Luna in encouraging local school districts to use this additional funding over two budget years while we maintain our focus on making progress toward economic recovery,” Governor Otter said. “Funding for public schools remains one of our highest priorities for state government. The Legislature and I have put the largest percentage of General Fund dollars into K-12 education since 1989. With today’s decision I have directed more than $445 million in additional resources to public schools since 2009 to minimize the impact of State budget cuts. Over this same period, the unprecedented revenue decline has resulted in cutting the rest of State government by 19.5 percent.”
“This is great news for Idaho students and teachers. I’m pleased the Governor supports applying for the federal Education Jobs funding for Idaho schools,” Superintendent Luna said. “As State Superintendent, I have strived to find additional sources of revenue to help keep student achievement moving forward in Idaho schools while not increasing our deficit in this tough economic time. This additional funding will help Idaho schools maintain one of my key priorities: preserving student-teacher contact time.”