Idaho Senators Reject Schools’ Budget By One Vote

Mar 27, 2013

Updated 10:59 p.m. Idaho Senators narrowly missed signing off on a proposed $1.3 billion education budget Wednesday.   The 17-18 vote sends the bill back to the budget writing committee. The legislation which calls for a more than 2 percent increase for K-12 easily passed the House last week. Opponents focused on two problems in debate.

They argued providing more money to school districts for basic operations was more urgent than reversing some teacher salary cuts made during the recession. 

Some senators also argued the budget contained policy mandates that didn't clear the appropriate committees such as setting aside money for teacher bonuses.

This means Idaho's legislative session won't wrap on Friday as leaders had hoped.  Budget committee chair Dean Cameron says Wednesday's vote will extend the session by at least a week. Idaho Education News quotes Cameron saying his committee will start the process to set an education budget again possibly Thursday but more likely Friday.

There is a possibility this school budget could still pass. A rule known as a motion for reconsideration allows one of the senators who voted against it to call for another vote. That would have to happen under legislative procedures by Thursday. (After further study of the statute in question it appears that a motion for reconsideration will not be possible in this case.)

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