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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Bell on higher ed equity: ‘Going to have to come from existing funds’

The new report from the state Office of Performance Evaluation draws no conclusion as to whether there's inequity or not currently in higher ed funding in Idaho, concluding instead that the state Board of Eduction should determine what really constitutes equity, and that Idaho currently lacks such a definition. "Each institution has a different mission," said evaluator Lance McCleve. "Each institution has a unique student body that they are providing for." Funding levels are "expected to be different," he said, but that "doesn't mean all differences are justified."

Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Legislature's joint budget committee, commended OPE for the report. "This is a policy, this should be policy," she said. "It has nothing to do with funding." She noted that when the state reached agreement about funding equity in 2005, "At that time we did do some additional funding." But, she said, "I can tell you right now that there will be no additional money to put in as there was at one time from this effort, so it's going to have to come from the existing funds." Bell said she thought back in 2005 that the state board was going to be examining standards for equity and following up on that. "If they'd have done what they said they would do in the ensuing years since 2005, there would be a plan and some equality," she said.

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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