Will Lawmakers Keep Public Schools Whole?
Members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) learned this morning that the repeal of Propositions 1, 2, and 3 means that more than $30 million in the current year education budget is inaccessible by districts, without some action on the legislature’s part.
The legislature’s education analyst, Paul Headlee, outlined three scenarios for lawmakers. He told them they could do nothing and let the money flow into the education savings account, also known as PESF; they could use all or part of it to restore funding for programs such as dual credit for early completers, or hiring more math and science teachers, both of which were eliminated by the repeal of the laws; or they could redirect the money to be used in other ways.
A decision about this money will be among the first decisions made by JFAC, but we expect more debate and discussion, especially by the House and Senate Education Committees first.
Pundits Discuss Top Issues of ’13 Session
Hundreds of citizens met today for the monthly City Club forum at the Boise Center on the Grove. In what was announced as one of the largest gatherings in City Club history, reporters Betsy Russell (Spokesman Review), John Miller (Associated Press) and Dan Popkey (Idaho Statesman) discussed the top issues lawmakers are expected to tackle this session.
Discussions ranged over a wide variety of topics, but each of the panelists identified the three most important issues of the session: education reform, personal property taxes, and creation of a state health care exchange.
On the issue of education reform, the panelists agreed that some of the provisions outlined in failed Propositions 1, 2, and 3 could be reintroduced this session. All agreed that it was unlikely that the legislature would do an end-run around voters and simply reenact the laws.
Boise State Public Radio will rebroadcast the forum on Saturday at 8 p.m. and Tuesday at 7 p.m.