Funding formula committee makes one lineup change

When the Legislature’s public school funding committee resumes its work later this year, the committee will have one new member.

Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, will join the 10-member committee that is tasked with revamping the state’s complicated school funding formula.

Den Hartog will replace Sen. Steven Thayn, R-Emmett, on the funding formula committee.

Like Thayn, Den Hartog sits on the Senate Education Committee.

The rest of the funding formula committee’s makeup will remain intact: House co-chair Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls; Senate co-chair Chuck Winder, R-Boise; House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley; Sens. Clifford Bayer, R-Meridian, Dean Mortimer, R-Idaho Falls, and Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise; and Reps. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, John McCrostie, D-Garden City, and Julie VanOrden, R-Pingree.

The Legislative Council met Tuesday morning to assign members to legislative “interim committees,” including the funding formula committee. Interim committees study select issues during the legislative off-season — and the committees sometimes recommend bills that eventually become law.

The funding formula committee met five times in 2016, but its work was confined to informational and field hearings to review the funding formula. In 2017, the committee is expected to work on recommendations to rewrite the formula, and the committee could spend up to $400,000 on staffing and computer modeling to study possible formula changes.

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The committee could have recommendations for the 2018 Legislature.

The K-12 funding formula, used to distribute more than $1.5 billion in state tax dollars, has not been rewritten since 1994.

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