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Eye On Boise

As school starts, districts mull which cuts to restore thanks to federal aid…

Canceling unpaid furloughs for teachers and other school employees, reversing layoff decisions and adding back school days are among the plans being mulled by North Idaho school districts for their share of the last-minute federal jobs bill money, which is arriving just as school starts. In Coeur d’Alene, reinstating the planned six unpaid furlough days will take up $1.2 million of the district’s $1.8 million share.

The federal aid was welcome news after Idaho lawmakers cut an unprecedented $128 million from the state’s public school budget this year – 7.5 percent – and declared a statewide financial emergency to allow school districts to reopen negotiated teacher contracts and cut pay and benefits. The money could allow districts to reverse up to 40 percent of those cuts, but if they follow the governor’s advice and spread the money over two years, the impact could be less. Read our full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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