Idaho Lawmakers Mull 'Moving Parts' of Education Funding


The State Senate Education Committee met Thursday afternoon with an “ambitious agenda,” according to Coeur d’ Alene Republican Chairman John Goedde, including several presentations related to education finances.

Present lawmakers first examined some scenarios for rearranging the 2013 public schools budget following the “Students Come First” repeal.

“These are a couple of different ways to look at these different moving parts and look at the impact on school districts,” said State Department of Education presenter Jason Hancock before encouraging lawmakers to consider other alternatives as well, including some to be presented by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in front of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee next week.

“I’m sure we’re going to address this again in the not-too-distant future,” Goedde said.

The majority of the meeting was comprised of a presentation by Deputy Superintendent Tim Hill on the topic of public school finance. An informational slideshow broke down figures Hill said lawmakers “hopefully already know,” but should be refreshed prior to making decisions pertaining to public school funding.

Above all else, Hill urged lawmakers to look at education as a service industry in terms of funding it.

“If you look at one dollar in the operational budget, 85 cents of that is spent on salaries and benefits,” he said.
“We’re paying for teachers to teach and administrators to administrate and everyone else to do something.”

The legislators on the committee asked few questions during or after the hourlong presentation.

“This is my 13th presentation of School Funding 101,” Sen. Goedde joked.