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Public schools budget easily passes Idaho House

BOISE – Idaho’s public schools funding proposal for fiscal year 2018 – the largest share of the state’s budget – has cleared the Idaho House.

Lawmakers voted on the nearly $1.7 billion budget Monday in just under 30 minutes after no members stood up to debate or question details about the funding proposal.

State budget writers agreed earlier this year to boost public school funding by 6.3 percent. The funding plan includes a boost to discretionary funding for Idaho classrooms to help cover health insurance costs rather than adding a new $15 million line item as requested by Gov. Butch Otter. The K-12 budget plan also includes $62 million to fund teacher pay increases, $5 million more for classroom technology and a $4.25 million increase for professional development.

The funding plan still needs to clear the Idaho Senate before it can go to the governor’s desk for final approval.