[Vision2020] Public school budget clears Senate with no debate, just one ‘no’ vote from Sen. Foreman

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Mar 16 08:36:20 PDT 2018

"We're a town of about 23,000 with 10,000 college students. The college students are not very active in local elections (thank goodness!)." - Dale Courtney (March 28, 2007)

Courtesy of today’s (March 16, 2018) Spokesman Review.

Public school budget clears Senate with no debate, just one ‘no’ vote from Sen. Foreman
The Senate has passed the public school budget – the single largest slice of Idaho’s state budget pie – with no debate, and with only one “no” vote on any of the seven bills that make up the budget, from Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow. Foreman didn’t explain his opposition to SB 1349, the funding bill for the operations division of the school budget, which includes a $10.5 million boost in classroom technology funding, a boost in discretionary funds to school districts, and funding to cover increased numbers of students enrolled in Idaho schools. Sen. Dan Johnson, R-Lewiston, asked for 60 seconds to explain his vote on that bill, but said only that he’s looking forward to the results of an ongoing revamp of the state’s school funding formula next year.

Senate Education Chairman Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, and Sen. Janie Ward Engelking, D-Boise, took turns presenting the seven bills that make up the school budget to the Senate. After the first vote, on the administrators division, came in unanimously at 35-0, all the remaining votes except the one on SB 1349 were “rolled” – meaning that, seeing no debate or opposition, the Senate agreed by unanimous consent to apply the same 35-0 roll call to each of the bills, without repeating the calling of every senator’s name.

The seven school budget bills, which earlier won unanimous support in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, now move to the House. To become law, they need passage there and the governor’s signature.

Often the focus of much legislative dissent – one year, it took 20 tries before the joint committee could agree on a budget plan – the school budget has been less controversial since Gov. Butch Otter appointed a task force for improving the state’s schools that laid out a five-year plan for improvements, including major investments into boosting teacher salaries through a “career ladder” plan. The budget for next year includes full funding for that plan’s fourth year, at $41.6 million.

The budget, which totals $1.785 billion in state general funds, includes a boost in discretionary funding to school districts – something state Superintendent of Schools Sherri Ybarra had requested, but Gov. Butch Otter hadn’t recommended. However, it trims elsewhere and comes in slightly below both Otter’s recommendation of a 6 percent increase and Ybarra’s request for 6.8 percent boost; the budget reflects a 5.9 percent, $100 million increase in state general funds for schools next year.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho
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