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Education Budget Cuts Not Needed in Idaho?

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 By Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID, Contact
February 27, 2009

Boise, ID – Creativity may be the key to making sure Idaho public school budgets don’t have to be cut. While state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna says the federal stimulus money is going to help mend education budget shortfalls, he claims it won’t be enough and cuts are still needed.

The Idaho Education Association disagrees. President Sherri Wood says the federal money, plus state rainy-day funds, could save the day.

"It’s our hope that we explore every option available to us before we start talking about cutting budgets. We believe there are avenues out there that we can take a look at."

Wood says Idaho school budgets are already thin, so cuts would put the quality of education at risk.

"Here in Idaho, we have the sixth-largest class sizes. We are 47th as far as the money we spend per child. So, it’s not about cutting out a bunch of fat here."

Wood says the federal money and rainy day funds can carry Idaho education budgets through 2011, at which point, Luna predicts state revenues will have returned to this year’s appropriation levels.

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