Friday, May 6, 2011

April Brings Good News for Idaho Students

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna sent the following e-mail message to school district superintendents and school board trustees this afternoon:

The Idaho Division of Financial Management reported great news today about the state’s April revenues coming in above projections. We still have to wait for May and June numbers before we know for sure, but this could possibly mean more money for Idaho’s public schools this year.

April revenues came in at more than $13 million above projections, DFM reported today. Therefore, state revenues now stand at an estimated $74 million above what was originally anticipated by the end of April 2011. If projections stay on track through the end of June 30, Idaho’s K-12 public schools could receive up to $50 million more in discretionary funding under this current scenario.

K-12 public schools would receive this funding because of Senate Bill 1207, a maintenance of effort bill that the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law this year. I thank them for their foresight and continued commitment to public schools, especially during the tough economic time Idaho has faced. We all know that, based on projected state revenues, the Legislature had to make the difficult decision to reduce funding for public schools by $47 million. However, at the same time, they approved Senate Bill 1207 to ensure that if revenues did come in above projections at the end of the fiscal year, a large portion of that additional money would go toward K-12 public schools. Right now, that additional money could mean $50 million for public schools.

However, I again must caution everyone that the fiscal year is not over yet. We still have to wait for May and June revenues, and June is another big month. Therefore, we will not know whether schools will receive any additional money until after the fiscal year ends on June 30. Still, I think we can all agree this is a positive sign for our economy and good news for our schools today and in the future.

We will keep you posted on the projected revenue figures throughout the rest of the fiscal year. For more information, you can download the “Idaho Outlook” on DFM’s website.

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