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Eye On Boise

Fri., Aug. 20, 2010, 3:04 p.m.

Schools get word on money from jobs bill

The Boise school district will get $4.6 million, Meridian nearly $6 million. St Maries schools: $225,000. Coeur d'Alene schools get nearly $1.8 million. West Bonner County: $285,000. Idaho's state Department of Education has released the breakdown of how much money will go to each Idaho school district from the newly passed federal jobs bill, which will send $51.6 million to Idaho schools for salaries and benefits for teachers and other employees actually at schools - not in the school district office. The money also can't be put in rainy-day funds, but school districts have 27 months to spend it. Click here to see the full breakdown, which lists every Idaho school district and charter school and its share.

Gov. Butch Otter, in a letter to school districts, wrote, "I strongly urge districts accepting these funds to focus on the preservation of student-teacher contact time and that you consider budgeting funds not only for the 2010-2011 school year but also in the 2011-2012 school year." The coming school year - which has either just started or is starting shortly in districts around the state - is the one in which schools will feel the unprecedented $128 million budget cut lawmakers approved this past spring; the $51.6 million can offset some of those cuts, by doing things like canceling planned unpaid furloughs, but it's not enough to reverse even half the cuts.

At the governor's direction, school districts and charter schools have to contact the state Department of Education by Sept. 3 to say "yes" and get the money, which is being handed out through the state's existing distribution formula to districts around the state.

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.