The second and third motions on the public school budget, for the divisions of teachers and operations, have passed by identical 16-4 votes, the same as the first motion, with just Sens. Mortimer, Nuxoll, Vick and Bayer objecting.
The budget motions appear to be building toward a total budget for public schools next year of $1.308 billion in state general funds, $1.6 billion in total funds, identical to the earlier defeated school budget, HB 323. That’s a 2.2 percent increase in general funds, and 2 percent overall.
At the start of the meeting, budget analyst Paul Headlee explained that the joint committee is exempt from Joint Rule 9 of the Senate and House preventing the exact same numbers from appearing in the new budget bill. There is a change from before, however: Two sections of intent language are missing, instead referring to SB 1199, the new bill that passed the Senate and won backing from the House Education Committee earlier today, regarding teacher merit bonuses and technology pilot project grants.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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