State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna says Gov. Butch Otter’s proposed budget for next year cuts $138 million out of public schools, on top of the $68 million that was cut this year. “That’s $200 million over two years,” Luna said. He said he’ll try to help lawmakers find ways to make the cuts without hurting student achievement, but warned, “Education is economic development, and we have to ensure that we don’t do long-term damage because it will have an impact on the economy.”
Luna said he thinks the Legislature “is going to have to immediately draft legislation which gives districts ultimate flexibility” to cope with the cuts, including an unprecedented mid-year $27.9 million cut this year. “It’s going to be very difficult,” Luna said. “I think that’s why we have avoided up to this point. If this is the only option at this point, then we have to give schools the flexibility to deal with it.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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