The K-12 General Fund Appropriation unfortunately again fails our students and schools. We are more than $175 million short of what we spent in 2008-2009 when new costs for expanded enrollment, health insurance, core curriculum training and inflation are included. The result is overcrowded classrooms, fewer teachers, and higher property taxes.

The K-12 appropriation is up 5.1 per cent but still $43 million less than 2008-2009. But it also fails to account for for 15,000 more students; steep health insurance premium increases; core curriculum training costs and inflation. It is this simple: when Idaho families expand and health insurance premiums soar, the budget needs to increase accordingly. I know many don’t want government to grow, but this is Idaho’s reality. More kids cost more money. Health insurance costs more money. Changing our curriculum costs more money. Inflation happens.

Last week 41 of 46 school districts affirmed or raised property taxes for education. Yet our Legislature takes extra money and puts it into special funds or tax cuts for those who don’t need them.

The Legislature has spent way too much time dealing with guns, “Ag Gag” and other issues. Education was supposed to be the priority this session, but it isn’t. There is still some small hope that we can do better, but it is looking more and more like education will remain underfunded and over-utilized. I will in all likelihood vote against this budget and debate against it as well.

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  • Molly Cochell says

    well said

  • John Owens says

    Agreed. When the priority shifts to cutting taxes, protecting big business, guns on campus, and other issues that take away attention from education, the children will always lose. Only when we make educaiton a priority, will we see change and improvement. That may take a long time. I can’t wait that long.

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