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Eye On Boise

Luna: Governor’s budget would cut teacher pay by $21 million

Reactions are rolling in to the governor’s State of the State message to a joint session of the Legislature today. Among them: State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna says the governor’s budget would cut teacher pay by $21 million. That’s because this year’s budget includes $21 million in one-time bonuses that aren’t repeated next year, and Gov. Butch Otter proposed no other pay increases for teachers; that means total teacher pay would be $21 million less. Though Otter is touting the recommendations of his education stakeholders task force that include big boosts in teacher pay, those would come as part of a new teacher career ladder and tiered licensing structure that’s not yet been developed. Otter did, however, propose a $35 million “down payment” next year on restoring more than $80 million in operational funds cut from schools over the economic downturn. Here’s Luna’s full statement:

“Today, Governor Otter set a positive tone for this Legislative Session, making it clear education is his top priority. I am pleased he made the implementation of our Task Force recommendations a priority and demonstrated his continued support for the Idaho Core Standards. My only concern is that the Governor's budget proposes reducing overall teacher compensation in order to help schools pay the light bill. I cannot support that. I believe we have the funding and the plan to accomplish both, and I will fight to ensure we continue to improve teacher compensation this year and in the future.”

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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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