Idaho lawmakers have agreed to set up a “STEM Action Center,” a new state office under Gov. Butch Otter that would coordinate efforts from schools to industry to promote science, technology, engineering and math in the state. The legislation, sponsored by Coeur d’Alene Sen. Bob Nonini and House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, has passed overwhelmingly in both houses; on Thursday, legislative budget writers agreed to allocate more than half a million dollars and two full-time staffers to the new center next year.
An elated Nonini said he was “extremely pleased.” He said, “I know I’d asked for $2 million, but I didn’t think I could get that.” The budget for the new STEM Action Center that won unanimous approval from the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday calls for spending $537,300 in state funds next year, along with up to $100,000 in private donations, and allocating two full-time positions. Of the state funds, roughly half is one-time for start-up expenses, but $289,300 is ongoing state funding, to continue each year; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.