State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna wants to tap $52.8 million from the public schools earning reserve fund of the state endowment fund to avoid deeper budget cuts to schools. “Simply put this is a one-time drawdown of an excess reserve fund,” he said, “… to offset the reductions of the public schools budget.” The reserve fund would still have a year’s worth of payments in it, he said.
Luna said he also wants to drain two other funds and make a series of cuts. Otherwise, he said, schools will have to cut more than $130 million next year. “I will not sugar-coat this. We must be honest with Idaho’s parents and patrons,” he said. “These cuts will be painful and, done wrong, will do significant damage to student achievement,” he said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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