Idaho's K-12 public schools budget includes general fund increase, but $47 million overall reduction

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

The 20-member Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is setting the largest portion of Idaho's state budget Monday morning – the K-12 public schools budget.

The state is allocating $1.223 billion of general funds to K-12 public education.

That is $15 million more than the budget-writers had been projecting for public schools, but $12 million less than Gov. Butch Otter had recommended in his budget.

The state allocated $1.214 billion on general funds to K-12 public education in fiscal year 2011.

The total budget — which includes federal and dedicated funds — is $1.561 billion, a reduction of $47 million from last year. The overall reduction comes from a drop in dedicated and federal monies.

"It’s considerably better than what we were anticipating and talking about before the Legislature came to town, but it’s still the third year in a row where schools are going to receive less money," said Idaho State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna said.

"The fact that we see rather than schools being cut $90, $100, $120 million like we discussed the first part of January, it’s a $47 million cut. It’s about a 2.5 percent cut that’s considerably less than what we were talking about just a couple months ago," Luna said.

"It’s moving us away from one-time money that we’ve been living on the past couple of years as part of our ongoing funding. I think it’s important that we’re making steps to get public education back on long-term funding and not just every year trying to rob this fund or that fund for one-time money to prop up the budget. This gets us closer to that."

The budget must pass the Senate and the House.

The 2012 budget includes changes from Senate Bills 1108 and 1184.

SB 1108 limits collective bargaining, eliminates the 99-percent protection for school districts and does away with the early retirement bonus for teachers.

SB 1184, which has not yet passed the House, reduces salary-based apportionment by 1.67 percent, which is reflected in the administrators' and teachers' portion of the budget.

The overall budget is divided into six individual budgets: administrators, teachers, operations, children's programs, facilities and deaf and blind services.

A look at the individual budgets

Division of Administrators: $74.8 million (passed 16-4)

Division of Teachers: $739.7 million (passed 14-6)

Division of Operations: $488.0 million (passed 14-6)

Division of Children's Programs: $233.5 million (passed 15-4)

Division of Facilities: $17.4 million (passed 13-6)

Deaf and Blind Services: $7.4 million (passed 15-4)

Budget debates

The administrators' portion of the budget passed 16-4 on a party-line vote with all four Democrats voting no.

The teachers' portion of the budget passed 14-6 with Republican Sens. Mitch Toryanski of Boise and Joyce Broadsword of Sagle voting with the Democrats in opposition.

In the operations portion of the budget, the Democrats offered a substitute motion that includes an additional $11 million with $10 million of that coming from the Public Schools Facilities Cooperative Fund. The additional $10 million would go to discretionary spending for districts.

The Democrats' motion failed 6-14 with Toryanski and Broadsword joining the Democrats in supporting it.

The operations budget includes technology. Both the Republican and Democrat motions include more than $13 million in technology based on SB 1184.

The original motion – without the additional $11 million — passed on a 14-6 vote, again with Toryanski and Broadsword voting alongside the Democrats.

In the children's programs portion of the budget, the Democrats offered a motion to pull $963,500 from the college entrance exam line item and move it to discretionary funding.

The motion failed 4-15 along party lines and the original motion — with the college entrance exam line item funding included — passed by a 15-4 margin.

Discretionary funding per support unit will be $19,626 in FY 2012, down from $21,795 in FY 2011. In FY 2009 that number was $25,696, said Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise.

"There are new demands on this discretionary money at the same time we're reducing it. Each way we short them, we really do force them into some very difficult situations," LeFavour said.

The Division of Facilities budget passed 13-6 with Toryanski and Rep. Jim Patrick, R-Twin Falls, voting along with the Democrats. Opponents of the budget worried about moving $17.6 million in facilities funding to discretionary funding, fearing that school buildings in need of maintenance would not get those repairs.

The committee approved the Deaf and Blind Services budget on a 15-4 party-line vote.

The committee is working on "intent language" to accompany the public schools budget. The Democrats have proposed one additional piece of language, adding that the State Department of Education post a report on dual-credit enrollment and achievement in the state.

Dual credit is one of the aspects of SB 1184. It calls for the state to pay for dual-credit courses for students who have completed high school graduation requirements before their senior year.

The committee passed the "intent language" with the addition of the dual-credit report provision by a 14-5 vote.

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Too late Toryanski

The damage has been done...too late to try to feign support for more funding for Public Ed...your vote in support of SB 1184 speaks far louder.

Yes it does!

And we thank you!

We???

When you wrote we, are you talking about you and your fleas???

Raises a Question

I was thinking about that also. Toryanski's vote was never needed by the leadership to get these bills passed; so why didn't he ask for a "walk"? The only explanation I can think of is this "purity" philosophy that forbids any and all dissent within the ranks. No individual thought or opinion … just lock-step adherence to the party line, or suffer putative consequences.

Because he doesn't need to hide.

The majority of his constituency asked him to vote as they would.

Toryanski didn't vote

Toryanski didn't vote present. Good for him!

Why would any legislator want to serve on the powerful JFAC, if he is going to "take a walk" to avoid fulfilling his responsibilities on that committee? As a freshman senator, he is lucky to have even been chosen to sit on JFAC, and no legislator gets assigned to this committee for lacking the will to make tough decisions that will always be unpopular with some voters. Cameron and Bell are not going to hold their chairmansips of this committee forever even if the GOP continues to hold a majority in the legislature (which it probably will for the foreseeable future), so we here in Boise and District 18 are also lucky to have Toryanski in a position to assume a leadership role some day.

As for your paranoid reasoning about why Toryanski voted the way he did on the education budget (just one of many budgets to fund state government) you apparently don't recognize or appreciate independent minds when you encounter them. Toryanski voted in favor of SB ll84, 1108, and 1110 (votes for which I have personally thanked him), but he apparently disagrees with a majority of the committee members on how our tax dollars will be distributed within the education budget. I honestly don't know the thinking behind his no votes (I probably would have voted yes on those items), but I respect his right and his duty to vote the way he thinks would be best for public schools. I did not elect him to be a robotic voter for the GOP or for IEA, especially not the latter since IEA did nothing to help him be elected. If Toryanski's thinking occasionally coincides with IEA, that's to be expected in the legislative process, and I can accept that. There is no "purity philosophy" guiding how GOP legislators vote. The minority party hangs together more tightly on every vote than Republicans do, and that's to be expected also.

They did let him walk. Note

They did let him walk. Note being allowed to vote no and want more money for discretionary funds.

This whole session is shameless!

This whole session with very few exceptions has been shameful by the majority. A legacy of Shame for 2011. Go GOP, you just keep digging.

It's amazing,

that in the USA, we always have money for war but not for the education of our children.

Alternative?

What are some of your ideas, leftists? That's the revealing part of your whole, 2 week moanfest; lambasting a conservative effort to spend within its' means.
LOVE to hear ideas to balance a budget rather that print money.

Well Crater, now that you ask...

Return individual taxes to pre-Bush tax cut levels, refine corporate income tax to reduce the top rate while increasing the actual net rate collected (think it'd be nice if GE at least paid some tax!), remove our nation-building efforts from Iraq/Afghanistan, get rid of the Dept of Homeland Security (what a huge expansion of government that was!) and reduce the Pentagon budget by at least 1/3 (those 3 things alone will save almost $600 billion annually), re-examine 'free trade' in favor of 'fair trade' (i.e. your market isn't fully open to us? then ours isn't fully open to yours!, you don't have environmental/worker protections? we'll charge you a tariff then re-invest that in your country for those items), reintroduce regulation/create new regulation regarding commodities markets and derivatives trading.

Some of those obviously directly affect the federal budget, some affect the economy, which will then have an effect on tax collections.
You were talking Federal here, right? I know Idaho can't print money.

For Idaho I would get rid of the ag exemption and return that funding to local districts, and repeal the Risch initiative and return that funding to local control, and refine the sales tax exemption policies, and look at making the income tax more progressive, while lowering the sales tax.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Here's one idea...

Don't shift money OUT of public ed salaries into laptops, on-line clsses and pay for performance during times of shrinking revenues.

Headline above tells us overall budget was cut for K-12 and then because of Luna, Goedde, Toryanski & Co., out of this reduced budget, money is carved out for the technology sham.

Another idea...don't raise the prison budget in times of shrinking revenues and at the same time you're reducing the k-12 & medicaid budgets. They blame the prison increase on contracts, but all state contracts include a non-appropriation clause. If the money isn't appropriated...you don't get the contractal increase. The private prison guards stand around and watch an inmate get beaten to death and the private prison company gets a raise.

Idaho GOP...corrupt to the bone.

We Could Start With...

Doing away with giving tax breaks to the rich and corporate political/self pocket liners. Eliminate tax exemptions for Agricultural land, Religious property holdings,and Federal Government property. over 60% of the land in Idaho is not currently paying property tax due to sweetheart deals made to the above named entities. Cut the pensions and retirement and health benefits of every member of the state legislature and state elected officials.Let's see how they like having their benefits reduced like others they are so willing to reduce. That should get you you started.... don't just sit there with your mouth open... get err DONE!

Now on the National Side

Start with our Great Nation getting back to being a Soverign Nation. Stop importing all this junk from other nations just because it is cheaper to import it than to build it or grow it ourselves. If the big US corporations want to outsource jobs and make products in another country because it is cheaper, then stop making it cheaper for them to do so. If you move jobs and manufacturing outside of the US then you pay a huge penalty to import back into the US to sell it.Do not allow big corporations to hide money in off shore accounts to avoid paying taxes on it. Pass laws requiring corporations to give full disclosure of all their financial holdings and tax them accordingly.
Do away with the wall street speculation markets. Buying/ selling products based on "what if's" has never been a good way to do business ever! Regulate the Big oil companies just like a Utility. Our nation should not be held for ransom to fuel the greed and blood thirsts of other nations just because we are too tight fisted to use our own vast oil reserves. There is your alternative plan. Now you and the rest of the bogus political bozo's (both sides)need to just get it done. The solution/or pipe dream if you want, is the easy part... The hard part is implementing it. Our political system broke America and it is time for them to fix it.

But looks like all the Dems

But looks like all the Dems and libs on this site wanted the legislature to raise taxes to fund education more. Geesh, just can't seem to make some people happy.

Just return it to where it was 13 years ago.

Taking money from local districts to give welfare to farmers is not a good use of society's resources. Risch's proposal to give property owners a break while raising the sales tax on everyone was also a detriment to local funding as it made local districts more reliant on state funds, which is why the legislature can now push through more ed reforms; they have more control than they use to.

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart