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House passes school budget, 52-16

The House has voted 52-16 in favor of HB 323, the public schools budget; it now moves to the Senate. All 16 “no” votes came from House Republicans.

Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, said, “I have to vote no on this because of all of the intent language that’s coming out of JFAC. Intent language should be used in the germane committees, not coming from JFAC.”

House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, said, “For those that have been around for a while, you realize that this is an ongoing conversation that’s always had, what should be in intent language vs. what should be in policy. .. I’m not sure that we’re ever going to come to a conclusion. However, as I’ve reviewed this intent language, I’m certainly comfortable with the wording in it. But I’m more comfortable with the fact that this is for one year. This gives us an opportunity … It provides this data that’s going to be critical for us as we move forward as a state.” DeMordaunt said, “I could talk a long time about this budget because I think it does a lot of good things. Is it perfect? No it isn’t. But I believe it moves us forward. We all want to invest in education, and we want those investments to be the most effective possible. I think we have a lot of that in this budget.”

Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, questioned whether the governor’s education stakeholders task force had approved the plan for $3 million for school technology pilot projects that’s included in the technology funding. Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, responded, “This budget was put together, especially this part, by all the stakeholders including the superintendent of public instruction. To my knowledge, at that time the committee had met but they had not come up with a recommendation.”

Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said, “I don’t like this budget, I don’t like it at all, but I’ll vote for it. … I would just note that the high-water mark for education funding in Idaho was 2009. … Even if this budget got us back to the 2009 level, we would be behind. … What we have to do in education is going to require more of us.” He said, “This budget is probably the best that can get through this legislature, and I will vote for it.”


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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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