The Idaho Legislature's budget-writing committee has approved a package of six spending plans which together make up the Gem State's K-12 public school budget—a total of $1.56 billion, including $1.27 billion to come from the state's general fund.
The budget includes an increase in the minimum teacher salary from $30,000 to $30,500. Democratic lawmakers unsuccessfully attempted to additionally unfreeze recent pay increases for educators but that effort failed on a 4-16 party-line vote.
"The minimum salary only affects new teachers," said Boise Democratic Sen. Nicole LeFavour in the losing effort. "But unfreezing the grid would have retained some of our good teachers who are leaving the profession in droves."
The education budget also includes one-time funds of $5.1 million for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy, nearly $1 million less than its current spending plan.
"IDLA needs to start standing on its own," said Nampa Republican Rep. John Vander Woude.
The proposed budget still needs full approval from the Idaho House and Senate.