Boise punished in ed cuts


One of the K-12 education cuts Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has proposed will disproportionately affect the Boise School District, according to Boise Super Stan Olson.

Luna proposes eliminating the cost-per-mile reimbursement for busing students in urban areas, a $1.7 million savings to the state. But $1.45 million of that cut would come exclusively out of the Boise schools, according to a district estimate.

Moscow, Lewiston and Twin Falls schools would also be affected.

Olson and a platoon of Boise School District officials met with Democratic legislators on Monday to put some numbers to the proposed K-12 cuts. Of the $62 million in cuts that Luna has floated, $8 to $10 million would come from the Boise School District coffers.

“We’re very opposed to this,” Olson said of the busing cuts. “We’ve spent a lot of money to get under the cap.”

The state reimburses districts for most of their transportation costs based on either a cost-per-mile or a cost-per-pupil equation—whichever comes in cheaper, below a statewide average. The cost-per-mile measure has incentivized the Boise School District to encourage walking, investing in crossing guards and building a new bus facility.

If they had to rely on the cost-per-student formula, BSD would get less money back, to the tune of $1.45 million.

Luna spokeswoman Melissa McGrath responded:
Superintendent Luna does not want to make these cuts. He has said they are all bad ideas, and we understand that these bad ideas will negatively impact school districts in one way or another. It is unfortunate that we have to suggest cuts like this, but given the economic realities we are now facing, these budget reductions are necessary to meet revenue projections.
Other proposed cuts that would filter down to Boise schools:
  • $1.6 million in discretionary funds
  • $91,000 for field trips and other transportation
  • 4.1 full time equivalent administrative positions
  • Millions of dollars in teacher salary cuts
  • $300,000 for textbooks
  • $50 for supplies in every classroom ($72,000 total)
“Very quickly, it gets to people and positions,” Olson told lawmakers.