Sen. Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, said the reason he joined the four-person minority in 20-member JFAC today voting against half the motions in the new public school budget was because he voted only for the divisions that didn’t include salary and benefit funding or discretionary funding to school districts. He said he remains concerned that the state should allocate more to discretionary funding. “This budget is very lopsided into salaries and benefits,” he said. “Teachers and administrators are hard-working … they haven’t received the money that I would like them to get, but there has to be a balance.” He said he hopes next year, the Legislature will pay more heed to restoring recent years’ cuts in discretionary funding.
Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said he voted no on those motions because there were “no changes from the previous budget,” which he also opposed; HB 323 earlier cleared JFAC on 15-5 vote and easily passed the House, but died by one vote in the Senate.
Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, who was part of the 5-vote minority in the first go-round in JFAC but voted with the majority today in favor of all the public school budget motions said, “Well, that’s going to be the budget. We had our discussion, we lost, and I still think there could have been some adjustments to it to get a little bit more discretionary, but I didn’t see that voting against it was going to do any good. It was not a bad budget to begin with.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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