Democrats to Budget Committee:
Meet the Needs of Today’s Students
BOISE – The state’s budget committee has recommended a K-12 budget that is inadequate to meet the needs of Idaho’s children. While the recommendation offers schools more resources—including much-needed investments in teachers’ pay—it’s short of what we need today to give students a competitive edge in a global economy.
The appropriation omits a program to make rural school districts more competitive, undercuts professional development for teachers, and shortchanges technology advances in the classroom. In fact, it falls below recommendations by both Superintendent Sherri Ybarra and Governor Otter.
Schools have endured years of fiscal instability. Now, 94 of 115 school districts fund some essential services through property-tax levies—which amounts to legislative tax hikes on regular Idahoans. Idaho Democratic Legislators do not support forcing Idahoans to pay higher property taxes. Accountable and efficient use of tax dollars is important, but sufficient resources are important, too.
“Public education is our most essential investment. Schools shouldn’t have to live ‘hand to mouth.’ It is no way to invest in our children,” said House Minority Leader, Rep. John Rusche. “Idaho Democrats will continue to work for accountable and appropriate K-12 funding.”
While this budget shows some progress, shortchanging schools fails to prepare Idaho’s children for a 21st-century economy. Until the committee and both chambers invest in a complete education plan that provides adequate funding to our schools, a full school week, and a safe learning environment, there’s unfinished business in the Statehouse.
Democratic legislators are committed to further strides for the success of our students and schools.