Freedom Foundation writes a budget

This week’s version of an alternative state budget comes to us from the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative watchdog and lobbying group.

The foundation’s version of a 2014-15 budget is heavy on tax relief — to the tune of $180 million, as opposed to Gov. Butch Otter’s $30 million in tax relief.

“Idaho Reports” co-host Melissa Davlin delved into the foundation’s budget further, and here’s what she found for education: a $14 million increase in teacher pay and education funding (Otter wants a $37.4 million overall increase); a $10 million deposit into the public schools reserve account (Otter is seeking $29.3 million, one of several deposits into various reserve accounts); and no money to fund recommendations from Otter’s education reform task force (the governor seeks to scrape together $54.7 million, by adding to the K-12 budget and moving some money around).

The foundation’s non-recommendation is interesting, given the group’s own polling on the issue.

In December, the foundation surveyed more than 400 teachers about a variety of education topics — including the $350 million to $400 million in recommendations from the task force.

A whopping 69 percent of teachers said they supported the recommendations, and said the funding increase “will help ensure improvements in student learning.”

If you’re looking to review one more alternative budget — one with starkly different ideas about education spending — retired state economist Michael Ferguson crafted his own spending plan earlier this month.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday