Betsy Russell reports that SB 1410, the public school budget, has passed the House on a 54-15 vote; the spending plan, the single largest piece of Idaho’s state budget, earlier passed the Senate 31-4 and now heads to Gov. Butch Otter. Under the budget, state general funds for schools would rise 4.6 percent next year, but total funds would be up from this year’s reduced level by just 0.4 percent.

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, spoke out against the budget, saying it still doesn’t restore a freeze on the first two years of the teacher salary grid imposed during the state’s budget crunch. “Any new teacher coming in to teach for us can look forward to being frozen on the grid for the first three years,” she said.

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