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Differences between Luna, Otter budget proposals for schools…

Public school budget hearing at the Idaho Legislature on Thursday (Betsy Russell)
Public school budget hearing at the Idaho Legislature on Thursday (Betsy Russell)

Among the differences between state schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s budget proposal for Idaho’s public schools next year and Gov. Butch Otter’s proposal: Otter called for $9.6 million for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy next year, as required by the pre-Props 1, 2 and 3 funding formula; Luna is proposing $6.45 million. Otter proposed no funding for increased classroom technology, additional math and science teachers or administrative evaluations, all items Luna wants to fund. Otter called for restoring funding for an early retirement incentive program and $4.7 million for safe and drug-free schools, both restored by the rejection of the propositions; Luna didn’t. Both call for setting aside $33.9 million for possible education reforms recommended by the governor’s stakeholder task force.

Otter's budget proposal calls for adding back in $29 million to bring discretionary funds to school districts next year back up to the same level they're at this year, after the various funding formula changes dues to the failure of the propositions. Luna adds to that to add a 1.5 percent boost to discretionary funds, which have been cut substantially in recent years and still wouldn't come up to previous years' levels.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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