U of I student paper rips Otter, Legislature, praises Luna

In an editorial titled, "Why come to Idaho?" the University of Idaho Argonaut says Gov. Butch Otter and lawmakers are doing long-term damage to education.

"The reality of the situation is Otter, along with Idaho legislators, only live so long," writes Kelsey Samuels on behalf of the paper's editorial board. "Our generation will have to put up with their choices long after they are gone, and we will have our work cut out for us in putting the state’s higher education system back together."

The editorial, published Monday, credits Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna for his new proposal to tap $58 from the public school endowment to limit cuts to K-12 education.

The paper also notes the "Go on" public relations campaign funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which urges students to get higher education after high school.

"There's not a whole lot of incentive for students to 'go on' when the governor puts education on the back burner," writes Samuels.

Samuels, a senior journalism major, graduated from Coeur d'Alene's Lake City High School in 2006. She is the Argonaut's managing editor and production manager.

The full text follows:

Our View: Why come to Idaho?

State government puts education on back burner despite higher enrollment

Retention and enrollment rates are up at the University of Idaho for the second consecutive year, yet the state has cut funding numerous times under the advisement of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

UI has done its job by getting students to fill seats, and the state needs to do its job by funding the university and giving students a reason to return.

UI has 320 more students than in Spring 2009, including 81 more transfer students. College of Western Idaho, which opened last January, is the newest community college in Idaho. It will undoubtedly bring more transfer students to UI — students who need a place to finish their four-year degree. What message is the state sending to prospective transfer students who want to further their education?

The reality of the situation is Otter, along with Idaho legislators, only live so long. Our generation will have to put up with their choices long after they are gone, and we will have our work cut out for us in putting the state’s higher education system back together.

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is one of the few members of state government who has it right.

He proposes an additional $58 million in revenues to help public K-12 schools from the Public Schools Earnings Reserve Fund.

He sees the importance of education and can draw the conclusion that without solid primary instruction, our state’s children will have difficulties even making it to college.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has spent $3 million on a campaign encouraging higher education saying, “High school is only the beginning: Go on.”

There’s not a whole lot of incentive for students to “go on” when the governor puts education on the back burner.

The editorial is online at: http://www.uiargonaut.com/content/view/9472/49/

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U of I student paper rips Otter

Funny the U of I editorial doesn't mention that the legistature appropriates more per student than any of our other state universities and colleges. U of I students are paying far less of their own share.

He's still a Coca-Cola cowboy regardless...

Don't split hairs to make the topic bald.

Like a midair collision with a tugboat

BSU and U of I are chartered

BSU and U of I are chartered differently. U of I operates in 40 some counties with education, outreach and research centers also.

Funny you didn't mention

that 75% of bronco freshman will never earn that diploma, and that the State of Idaho subsidizes their annual tuition by about $5,000 each.

If you take 1,500 freshman students who will never graduate, multiply by $5,000 per year, and multiply by their average tenure of 2.5 years, the result is that Idaho gives Boise State $18,750,000 in annual subsidies to run what is possibly the worst Div-1a university in the US.

Idaho gives Boise State TOO MUCH money.

What nonsense!

Any student whom thinks that there is "not enough incentive to go on" should not be there in the first place. U of Idaho is supposed to be a University, not a baby sitting service for spoiled brats.

Danny, you seem to find a sense of kinship with the poor little dumplings that have lost their way. Bah, bah, bah.

So we run out of kids to fall out of windows then? Come ON!

Like a midair collision with a tugboat

Return on investment

Several points here.

1) The UofI is chartered differently, with a different purpose than Boise State that requires more financial support, to support outreach, research centers, etc.

2) UI has much higher matriculation rates than BSU (which is around 25%). Thus, a much better return on the state's money. UI is basically for full-time students as well, which is also very different than BSU's largely part-time student body.

3) UI research contribution accounts for 3/4th of ALL university research money brought into the state.

4) The state gets back more money than it spends on UI students who graduate in less time and in higher rates than any other state institution.

So, when the state cuts higher education, it's essentially shooting iteself in the foot financially.


Time for the twenty something and a few others to learn a life lesson; when times are bad, we all have to give up something. We ALL have to sacrifice a bit. I just love people who think that everyone should suffer but them. Look at the state budget; approximately 2 out of 3 dollars the state takes in goes to education (K - university). The reason that education spending in Idaho is near the bottom of the country is that percapita income in this state is near the bottom too. A state with incomes around 45th in the nation cannot be in the top ten for spending on education or anything else for that matter.

Let's get back to some

Let's get back to some basics about the education budget. Start at the base -- those figures for student population are inflated so naturally the budget is inflated. Use realistic student population and then adjust the proposed budget. Different ball game entirely.

hold on a second

What I read between the lines is that they feel like they deserve special treatment. Why is that education always feels like they are a sacred cow? When the state economy is bad everyone should be cutting back and sharing the pain. That's the fair thing to do. Whether it's transportation or education or whatever... everyone should be cutting back.

You've got it backwards

Actually, cutting back on education leads to an economic death spiral. People with a bachelor's degree make, on average, more than twice what people without one make. For each dollar the state invests, a student can expect a $5 return over the course of a career. Less education = less well-paying jobs = less tax revenue. Currently, the state received a 3.5% rate of return on higher education. UI graduates generate over $700 million annually in this state. The university contributes another $220 million in added income. That's $920 million a year. The UofI is already operating on a shoestring budget - there is no more fat to cut. What will happen is the university will have to increase fees, which will reduce the number of Idaho students going to college or increase student loan amounts. If you think that doesn't affect you, think again. More student debt means higher costs for services charged upon graduation. Relatively speaking, not that much state money is spent on the university system ($146 million for UI last year out a state education budget of $1.625 BILLION), when compared to K-12 ed and state medicare/caid. Higher education benefits outweigh the cost: for example, the GI Bill netted the federal government a 700% return in tax revenue.

In short, the more cut, the more that will have be cut in the future as the economic system degrades. Remaining options are politically unpopular: raise taxes, cut Medicare/medicaid or K-12 ed: they constitute the lion's share of the budget (80% of total - health care has risen by $1 billion of the budget over the past ten years alone). Or get rid of the bizarre requirement for an annual balanced budget which essentially hamstrings responsible fiscal administration - we're always asking government to act more like private industry, but you don't see private industry hobbled by feel-good but ineffective financial constraint laws. Run in the red when times are bad, in the black when times are good. But maintain stability and protect future revenue (Idaho college grads and UI research centers).


These "children" havent gone thru a "real" recession before.
Here they rip into the State? but totally miss the real instigator of this economic mess--The fed govt
To much WWWWWAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa in this article-change your diapers

Stiffling Creativity

I can't think of anything more offensive than funding agents and agencies to effect deadening of American vitality via compassionate arms of "social services" under banner (at least in some states) of "Economic Development."

It's no wonder budgetary concerns NOW present.

Welcome to the NOW irrationally rationalized entitlement economy(s).

In every instance of

In every instance of financial difficulty the GOP wants to cut education funding. It is a fact born out by years of observation.

While in Congress Butch was all for cutting education, National Public Broadcasting, and any other finacial help to kids. He is stil trying to dumb down our educational system by making Idaho 48th in public education instead of 47th.