Jani Revier from Idaho’s Division of Financial Management met with members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee to share more specifics of the governor’s budget which was unveiled in his State of the State address. Setting the public school budget is a long and involved process that may take up much of the legislative session. Today’s presentation is typically the starting point for legislative discussion.
According to Revier, under the governor’s proposal 63% of the $3.3 billion general fund budget would be devoted to K-12 and higher education.
We are pleased that several areas of the governor’s budget recommendation are nearly identical to requests we made earlier this summer in budget meetings with Supt. Ybarra, including career ladder funding, operational funding, and mentoring support.
The governor has recommended that lawmakers fully-fund the career ladder and that pupil services staff be included. His recommendation also includes a 3% increase in funding to be used for classified and administrative personnel. Under his recommendation, discretionary (also known as operational) funding levels would be increased by $29.9 million, bringing this critical funding back to 2009 levels. And, under the governor’s proposal, $5 million would be allocated for teacher professional development, specifically targeted for mentoring.
The governor’s recommendation also includes funding for a variety of the recommendations emanating from the 2013 Education Task Force recommendations, including:
- $10.7 million to increase reading intervention for students in grades K-3, including the option for full-day Kindergarten for students who score below basic on the Idaho Reading Indicator
- $5 million for college and career counseling
- $10 million ongoing funding for technology
- $2.5 million to ensure additional funding for schools to cover enrollment increases as students transfer during the school year
- $1.1 million to continue the development of a mastery-based education delivery system
Many of these funding recommendations put forth by the governor will require the passage of legislation.
In many ways, his budget recommendation mirrors that submitted by Supt. Ybarra. However, there are some areas where the two differ. We’ll take a closer look at those differences in the days ahead. In the meantime, Supt. Sherri Ybarra will present her FY 17 funding request for K-12 schools on Thursday, January 28th.
Finally, in yesterday’s Hotline message, we noted that Idaho can do even more to fund public schools without raising taxes. How? Last year’s tax revenue exceeded projections by $92,000,000. That’s right….$92 million.