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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

House approves public school budget, 53-17

The House has voted 53-17 in favor of SB 1206, the public schools budget, a measure that takes in the single largest piece of Idaho's state spending. Under SB 1206, Idaho schools will see a $47 million funding cut next year, on top of the unprecedented $128.5 million that was cut this year, the first year-to-year reduction in total school funding in the state's recorded history. All 13 House Democrats voted no; they were joined by GOP Reps. Mike Moyle, Leon Smith, Julie Ellsworth and Tom Trail.

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said, "I believe it's not enough money to support public education in Idaho, and I believe that we had other choices." She said, "We haven't looked at any ways of improving our revenue flow, and we're not doing justice to the children across the state." Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, warned that while lawmakers pat themselves on the backs for holding the line on taxes, they're pushing local voters to approve property tax increases to bail out struggling local schools. Rep. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, said, "We're funding education based on what individuals and citizens in our state can afford right now. ... We have the revenue that we have, and we have to make that work." The vote sends the budget bill to the governor's desk.

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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