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Community colleges budget calls for 9.1% increase, vs. 9.2% gov’s recommendation

Community colleges would see a $2.8 million, 9.1 percent boost in state funding next year, under a budget set by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning on a unanimous vote; much of the increase would go to cover increasing enrollment at the fast-growing College of Western Idaho, occupancy costs for new buildings at CWI and the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, and transition costs for CWI's nursing program, which is moving to a full associate degree program.

Lawmakers departed from the governor’s recommendation by including $302,300 to expand North Idaho College’s Sandpoint Center – Otter had recommended $226,700 for that – and $100,000 for a STEM initiative at the College of Southern Idaho aimed at hiring, developing and retaining faculty in science, technology, engineering and math, which Otter hadn’t recommended. But they also cut the proposed enrollment workload adjustment by more than $600,000, bringing the budget set by JFAC to slightly below the governor’s recommended 9.2 percent increase.

The JFAC-approved budget also funds pay raises totaling 2 percent, with half permanent and half one-time, as is being provided in all state agency budgets; Otter had recommended zero raises.

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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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