Meanwhile, also at the Statehouse: Postsecondary budgets pass easily

In contrast to the funding formula standoff in the House Education Committee, the House passed a higher education budget without a hiccup Monday morning.

This bill dedicates $306 million in general fund money to Idaho’s four-year institutions, a 3.5 percent increase.

The bill earmarks $150,000 for software designed to help high school students enroll in college-level dual-credit courses and $50,000 to encourage the use of open-source online college textbooks.

The House approved the budget on a 51-19 vote. Voting no were Republican Reps. Vito Barbieri, Dalton Gardens; Judy Boyle, Midvale; Chad Christensen, Ammon; Sage Dixon, Ponderay; Rod Furniss, Rigby; Terry Gestrin, Donnelly; Priscilla Giddings, White Bird; John Green, Post Falls; Steven Harris, Meridian; Ron Mendive, Coeur d’Alene; Dorothy Moon, Stanley; Mike Moyle, Star; Tammy Nichols, Middleton; Joe Palmer, Meridian; Heather Scott, Blanchard; Paul Shepherd, Riggins; Tony Wisniewski, Post Falls; and Christy Zito, Hammett. Rep. Elaine Smith, D-Pocatello, also voted no.

In other Monday budget news, the Senate unanimously passed the community college budget bill. The bill earmarks $47.8 million in state general fund dollars for the two-year schools, also a 3.5 percent increase.

The higher ed budget now goes to the Senate. The community college budget crosses over to the House.

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