The Joint Legislative Oversight Committee is meeting this afternoon, and has just received a report from the state Office of Performance Evaluations on equity in higher education funding, long a thorny issue as state colleges and universities have jockeyed for scarce state funds. “It's an issue that goes back for at least three decades,” evaluator Maureen Brewer told the lawmakers, “a deeply political issue.” The goal of the report is to avoid the politics and provide objective information, she said.
Among the findings: Differences in general fund dollars per weighted full-time equivalent student are larger now than they were in fiscal year 2001, when the state last declared the funding inequitable, and also are larger than they were in 2007, when the state officially declared the inequities addressed in a settlement. Further, though there's a perception that the Legislature was to resolve inequities in part by funding an annual enrollment workload adjustment for each institution, that adjustment hasn't always been funded, and even if it had been, “it would not have resolved the differences seen,” Brewer said.
Representatives of the University of Idaho, BSU, ISU and LCSC are here to participate in the meeting.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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