- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - State budget writers have agreed to allocate a 6.3 percent budget increase to Idaho’s public schools.

The Spokesman-Review (http://bit.ly/2l5cqu5 ) reports that the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee set the public schools budget for fiscal year 2018 at $1.68 billion on Monday. For the second year in a row, the schools budget is just slightly under what Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra originally proposed.

Lawmakers decided to boost discretionary funding for Idaho classrooms rather than adding a new $15 million line item to help cover health insurance costs as requested by the governor. The K-12 budget plan also includes $62 million to fund teacher pay increases, $5 million more for classroom technology and a $4.25 million increase for professional development.

The education proposal must now pass the House and Senate, but budget bills rarely change once leaving the budget-setting committee.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com

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