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School reform laws could complicate budgeting for pay raises

Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron noted that if lawmakers consider raises for state employees - known as CEC, or “change in employee compensation” in budgeting speak - the “Students Come First” school reform laws could complicate that when it comes to public schools. That's because the laws require a shift of 2.38 percent out of salary funds next year to fund technology boosts and teacher merit-pay bonuses.

“We know the governor, at least at this point, has recommended about a 3 percent CEC,” Cameron said. “One of the dilemmas we have is if you apply that to public schools, if they have 3 percent CEC and at the same time a 2.38 percent reduction, that won't translate to a 3 percent for public schools. We have to keep in mind how to work through that. … There may be a perception issue that there may be more revenue there than will be available.” Legislative budget director Cathy Holland-Smith responded, “That's correct.”


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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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