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Eye On Boise

Ybarra proposes 7.5 % increase for schools budget

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's public schools chief is seeking a 7.5 percent increase in education spending for 2016, revealing her own budget proposal for the first time since taking office. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Wednesday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up nearly $110.4 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year. Ybarra raised eyebrows earlier this year while giving an unusually short budget presentation in front of lawmakers. At the time, Ybarra countered that she had been asked to defend a budget penned by her predecessor Tom Luna, but moving forward would be different because she would be in control of writing her own budget plan. The proposal now goes before Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, legislative leadership and other stakeholders for review.

Idaho Education News reporters Kevin Richert and Clark Corbin have a look at the new budget proposal here; they report that Ybarra wants to bring operational funds per classroom back up to 2009 levels of $25,696; allocate another $98.1 million to cover the next phase of Idaho's new phased-in teacher career ladder salary plan; add a new $5 million literacy proficiency program; and increase technology funding by $2 million. Ybarra told the EdNews reporters that the restoration of operational funds to school districts after Idaho went through deep budget cuts was a priority. “During my listening tour, and as I travel the state, that was the No. 1 concern,” she said. “Again, remember that was 2009 and this is 2015 and going into 2016, so it’s a step in the right direction.”

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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