- Kelsey Hawes
The Idaho Legislature budget writing committee will craft a spending plan for the single biggest slice of the state's budget this coming week as it launches "education week" at the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee,
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed a 7.9 percent increase in pubic school funding when he opened the 2016 legislative season with his State of the State address earlier this month, calling for something unique: a "tuition lock," meaning Idaho undergraduates would pay the same rate for at least four academic years. He also recommended a
$5 million increase in the state's Opportunity Scholarship program, designed to encourage those with some post-secondary education to return to the classroom.
Opening a weeklong series of presentations before JFAC, Idaho lawmakers are expected to hear from Don Soltman, president of the Idaho State Board of Education, followed by proposals from Boise State University President Bob Kustra and Idaho State University President Arthur Vailas. Other Idaho university and college presidents will follow in the coming days, but the week's biggest proposal should come from Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, who is requesting the legislature "fully restore pre-recession levels of operating funds to school districts."