Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today’s public school budget hearing, in which Sherri Ybarra, Idaho’s state superintendent of schools, made a strong pitch to lawmakers increase state spending on schools by 6.8 percent next year, with the biggest portion of the increase going to the multi-year effort to raise teachers’ salaries. “Today’s public school budget request reflects the top priority I’ve heard in conversations around the state from our superintendents, our teachers, our trustees, our business leaders, our parents and many, many more,” Ybarra said.
Gov. Butch Otter is recommending a 6 percent increase, with the biggest difference between the two that Ybarra is backing a $14 million-plus increase in discretionary funds for school districts, with half of that tabbed to cover increased health insurance costs. Otter recommended no increase in discretionary funds for districts next year.