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Posts tagged: budget cuts

Idaho K-12 Cuts Among US Steepest

During the recession, Idaho’s public school budget cuts were among the deepest in the nation. And while Idaho’s 2013-14 public school budget included a $28.6 million increase, the added money merely kept pace with inflation and enrollment growth. These are two findings from a national study, released this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank. The center’s reports put Idaho’s K-12 cuts into national perspective; Idaho is among at least 34 states that are spending less per pupil than they did in 2008-09. And the report comes just as Idaho education stakeholders are making a concerted push to reverse K-12 budget cuts — with initial support from Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.

Thoughts?

Edit: IDEQ Gets By With 24% Less

On the eve of the Great Recession, Idaho was spending $18.2 million on its environmental watchdog agency. Three years later, the Department of Environmental Quality is getting by on almost $4.4 million less. You can't blame that on an anti-environmental and anti-regulatory agenda on the part of Idaho's Republican majority. DEQ's 24 percent budget loss is in line with other state programs - higher education, 22 percent; agricultural research, 28 percent; Idaho State Police, 30 percent; public schools, 7.5 percent. Nor does Idaho stand out. As John Miller of The Associated Press reported, state after state is balancing its budget in part by scaling back on environmental protection. Among 24 states surveyed by the Environmental Council of the States, the average agency saw its budget sliced $12 million, or 11.5 percent/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How important to you is environmental protection?

Press: Commissioners Are Leaders

They've whacked a failing program, ostracized a bunch of kids and parents, cut here, consolidated there and, in all likelihood, succeeded in getting every single employee to do his or her best work. That's what we call leadership. The Kootenai County commissioners - Todd Tondee, Dan Green and Jai Nelson (pictured) - are cutting expenses because that's the mandate they got from voters. They aren't waiting for the next budget; they're saving money right now. They're also tossing political caution to the wind by considering an unpopular step like eliminating county extension programs, including the popular 4-H program/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you agree with the CdA Press that the current Kootenai County commissioners are showing leadership by consolidating, eliminating, & cutting the budget?

4-H On K-County Chopping Block

Item: 4-H on the chopping block? Budget cuts could put an end to Extension Office which runs program/Alecia Warren, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Hauser is among a group of Coeur d'Alene area residents who have rallied to protest potential budget cuts at the county, including slashing all funds for the University of Idaho Extension Office, which oversees the 4-H Youth Development program. Basically, if the Extension Office goes, so does 4-H. “I know money is tight, it's tight for everybody,” Hauser said. “But you have to look at the long-term ramifications.”

Question: Are/were you or family members involved in 4-H?

Bennett: Long-Suffering?

Clay Bennett/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Slicing $100 billion won’t be easy

WASHINGTON – House Republican leaders on Wednesday unveiled a wide swath of spending cuts but fell short of GOP promises to slice $100 billion, creating a political challenge for House Speaker John Boehner as he struggles to unite his majority in advance of next week’s vote.

Conservative lawmakers, including many tea party-inspired newcomers, see the leadership proposal as inadequate, despite substantial hits to longtime GOP targets including the Environmental Protection Agency, community policing and the arts.

“It’s not enough,” said freshman Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla.

Already this week, Boehner struggled in trying to lead a diverse, emboldened GOP majority when a coalition of newcomers and veteran conservatives joined Democrats to block an extension of terror surveillance legislation, seen by many as an overreach of government authority. Full story.

On the list of programs to be eliminated:

• Police hiring grants – $298 million • High speed rail – $1 billion

• Family planning – $317 million • Corporation for Public Broadcasting – $531 million    

Thoughts?    

ISP Trooper Number At 1977 Level

There are the same number of Idaho State Police troopers patrolling the state’s roads now as there were in 1977, Idaho lawmakers learned last week, even though the state’s population has swelled 75 percent since then. Col. Jerry Russell, ISP chief, told lawmakers that of his current patrol force of 150 authorized positions, six are investigators, and there are 33 vacancies. Nine positions are being held vacant due to budget cuts; seven officers are gone on military leave; and he has “11 that I hope to fill in this fiscal year” Russell said. The cost to fill one of those positions is about $55,000 a year, Russell said, but “startup costs,” such as training, uniforms and equipment, is “substantial”/Betsy Russell, SR. The rest of her column here.

Question: Has Idaho cut too deeply into Idaho State Police numbers?

Hoffman: Voters Want Cut, Cut, Cut

The untold and certainly most important story from the 2010 General Election in Idaho is this: Not a single representative, senator or executive branch official who supported significant reductions in government spending lost re-election Nov. 2. That’s a fact. Voters rewarded those politicians who stood strong against raising taxes and re-elected candidates with an established record of cutting government spending. This, of course, includes the much-ballyhooed  decision to cut public education funding by 7.5 percent/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Is Wayne right — that Idahoans are only interested in cutting government, including education?

Lee: Kellogg Shouldn’t Slash Sports

Please don’t take this as me being insensitive in these belt-tightening times. When it comes to funding athletics and assorted activities, I wish school district officials from Brewster to Bonners Ferry would use more common sense. Take for example Kellogg, which is located about 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene. A levy to maintain funding for athletics failed last month. So the Kellogg School District has decided to cut about half its sports so it can save – brace yourselves for this – one-half of 1 percent of its total budget. Or roughly $50,000. Kellogg is eliminating wrestling, baseball, softball, girls soccer, cross country and cheerleading next year. In the big picture, they’re saving pennies/Greg Lee, SR. More here.

Question: Is Kellogg making the right move by slashing wrestling, baseball, softball, girls soccer, cross country, and cheerleading to save $50,000?

Columnist: Some Programs Should Go

There has been a lot of recent outrage on campus over the Program Prioritization Process. The University of Idaho is contemplating cutting up to 41 different degree programs, including the physics bachelor’s degree. Anyone who has been on campus in the past several weeks knows this hasn’t gone over well with students and faculty. While supporters of physics write letters to the paper, circulate petitions and hold up signs at games, no one has asked an important question. If not physics, what program should get the axe? In an ideal world, the university would have all the money it needed for education and research, but this isn’t an ideal world. State and local governments across the country are cutting back spending to survive the recession. This, sadly, includes UI/Jeffrey Reznicek, UI Argonaut. More here.

Question: Is the University of Idaho approaching budget cuts realistically by proposing that less popular programs be cut?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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