Wednesday, March 3, 2010

JFAC Approves Public Schools Budget Agreed Upon by Superintendent Luna, Stakeholders

The Legislature’s budget-setting committee today approved a 7.5 percent reduction to the public schools budget for fiscal year 2011.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and educational stakeholder groups representing teachers, administrators and school board trustees had worked with legislators on crafting the budget for the upcoming school year and agreed to the proposal before it was approved Monday.

“While no one is happy with this budget to cut public education, I am pleased we were able to come to consensus and craft a budget that will preserve student-teacher contact hours and those programs that get into the classroom and have the most immediate, positive impact on student achievement,” Superintendent Luna said. 

The budget approved by Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) today includes the $27.5 million in additional revenues Superintendent Luna secured from the State Board of Land Commissioners and other sources within the State Department of Education.

After adding in the funding for estimated growth in student enrollment next year, Idaho public schools budget will be reduced by $128.5 million, or 7.5 percent, next school year. Previously, the shortfall for public schools for FY2011 had been estimated to be between $135 million to $160 million.

Here are the major changes that JFAC has approved to the public schools budget for FY2011, which begins July 1:

  • Funding for teacher and classified staff salaries was reduced by 4 percent. The funding for administrator salaries was reduced by 6.5 percent. The experience and education movement on the grids for all certificated staff are frozen for FY2011.
  • Funding for technology, teacher incentive award, programs for expectant or delivered mothers, gifted and talented, classroom supplies, textbooks, and Safe and Drug-Free Schools programs was moved from line items within the public schools budget into discretionary funding to give districts more flexibility in how they fund these programs next year.
  • Funding for the Idaho Reading Initiative, Idaho Math Initiative and ISAT Remediation funding was combined into one line item and reduced by $2.4 million, or 20 percent.
  • Funding for Limited English Proficient (LEP) was reduced by $2 million, or 33 percent. The $2 million was moved to discretionary funding.
  • Funding for transportation was reduced by 10 percent in addition to eliminating funding for field trips.

~ Melissa M.

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