Education budget squabble causes delayed adjournment
By ROBERT S. MERRILL
The Idaho legislature is winding up business for the current session. Failure in the Senate to pass a $1.3 billion public schools budget last week extended the session by several days.
The legislature, which had hoped to conclude business prior to Easter, will likely adjourn this week, said Representative Marc Gibbs, of Grace. He said the education bill had been approved by the JFAC committee and House several weeks ago. But Senate lawmakers, at least some of them, felt the proposed spending outline infringed too severely on state education policy.
Gibbs, who sits on the JFAC committee, said some members of the Senate apparently felt JFAC has too much authority in coming up with spending plans for education.
“I don’t think this was as much about the total budgeted amount as it was about the authority issue,” he said.
Gibbs said he hopes the Senate, House and JFAC Committee can resolve their differences and approve a school-spending plan by the end of this week.
Gibbs also said both the House and Senate have finally approved a so-called “fix-it” bill, a $30 million measure which restores funding to public education that was eliminated when voters rejected a “Students Come First” proposition in last November’s general election.
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