Idaho House of Representatives
Minority Party State Capitol P.O. Box 83720 Boise, Idaho 83720-0081
For immediate release – Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Democrats on Joint Finance Committee Identify Money to Lessen Education Cuts
BOISE—JFAC House Democrats made two motions yesterday to add $20 million to increase funding for Idaho’s K-12 and institutions of higher education, responding to overwhelming public concern about the ongoing erosion of legislative support for public education. Both motions failed, but Democrats were joined by Republican colleagues in voting for the motions.
The first motion made by Representative Shirley Ringo (D-Moscow), attempted to soften the blow to school districts where funding has been threatened by the three education “reform” bills. While S1184 is awaiting House approval, JFAC is already writing the education budget. S1184 will cost school districts $13 million just in the first year in order to pay for Superintendent Luna’s technology spending.
“The motion was to borrow $10 million from the Public School Facilities Cooperative Fund and direct that money to the state’s education discretionary funds. Many school districts have expressed their strong opposition to the cuts, particularly when we’re giving more spending authority to the State Superintendent,” stated Ringo. “This motion would help ease the hardships now placed upon school districts.”
Rep. Wendy Jaquet (D-Ketchum) made the second motion to use extra cash balances in state agencies to reduce the drastic cuts to education. Jaquet called for borrowing $10 million from the State of Idaho Division of Veterans Services, an agency that volunteered the money.
“This is money that is just sitting in the Division of Veterans Services,” stated Jaquet. “It would be short sighted to not look at this available money for education. Ten million dollars would go a long way towards increases in higher education and enrollment.
“We are cutting the very item in the budget that we know will lead to economic prosperity in the future,” continued Jaquet. “Education represents our best investment in Idaho’s future and our economic development.”
Jaquet indicated she had concerns about increases in tuition that deters people from pursuing higher education, and further indicated that two out of three new jobs in Idaho now require higher education.
House Democrats contend that the Legislature must be responsive to the people, who have been highly engaged in this year’s legislative session and in particular the education plan and budget, as evidenced by letters, email, phone calls, and letters to the editor. The latest efforts to identify additional monies for education seek to mitigate the damage of sharp cuts this year.
For more information contact:
Representative Wendy Jaquet, (208) 720-0968, firstname.lastname@example.org Representative Shirley Ringo, (208) 301-2272, email@example.com