State of the state live blog

1:42 p.m.: At 38 minutes, Otter’s state of the state address wraps up. We’ll have complete coverage and analysis to follow here at Idaho Education News.

1:32 p.m.: Otter’s budget earmarks $30 million for some form of tax relief, and he says he looks forward “to having a conversation” about increasing personal property tax exemption from $100,000 to $250,000. The $100,000 exemption, an incremental tax cut worth a little less than $20 million a year, passed in 2013. This plan had consensus support from local governments and education groups, who feared a full repeal of the tax would make their budgets less stable and more volatile.

1:28 p.m.: Otter’s budget makes a big push to put more money into the bank: $35 million into the budget stabilization fund, $29.3 million for public education stabilization fund, $7.3 million for higher education stabilization fund. The budget stabilization fund is at $135.7 million, nearly 5 percent of the state budget. Otter will need to seek legislation to raise this fund cap from 5 percent to 10 percent.

The public school stabilization fund now sits at $62.7 million, the higher education fund sits at $1.2 million.

1:21 p.m.: On school security, Otter says his budget will contain a line item for local pilot projects. It’s a $300,000 line item, Revier said.

1:19 p.m.: On technology, Otter hails the $3 million in technology pilot projects, restates task force recommendation to provide technology in schools, leaving decisions to local administrators. He did urge school districts to use state buying power to purchase technology — and pledges to hook up all elementary and middle schools with broadband by June 30, 2015.

Otter’s budget includes $10.4 million for technology programs, and it does fund a second year of the contract to hook up high schools and junior high schools with WiFi service. In July, amidst legislative outcry over the multiyear deal, Otter had mildly criticized the contract as well. (Here’s a link to what Otter said at the time.)

1:15 p.m.: Otter urges legislators to think of education in terms of “K through career.” “It is a straightforward but profound way of describing our goals for building out and maintaining a continuum of education and training opportunities.”

1:13 p.m.: Otter restates his support for the Idaho Core Standards, but also says he supports legislation to protect privacy and security of student data. Sen. John Goedde and Rep. Reed DeMordaunt are working on a data security bill. “I strongly support that endeavor.”

1:11 p.m.: Otter pledges “making a significant start” to restore operations funds cut from K-12 during the recession. Those cuts came to $82.5 million over five years, but due to growth, it could cost $113 million to replace the funds. Otter’s budget calls for restoring $35 million in operational funding in 2014-15.

1:08 p.m.: Otter: “The task force that I assembled after the 2012 election to study how best to improve Idaho’s public schools … did an incredible job.”

1:06 p.m.: The governor’s speech is just starting. For a flavor of what to expect, perhaps, on K-12, here’s a link to my blog from Otter’s discussion with reporters Friday.

12:52 p.m.: Welcome to our state of the state address live blog. I will update this as Gov. Butch Otter delivers his address, which is set to begin at about 1 p.m.

I’ll also be on Idaho Public Television’s “Idaho Reports” through 2 p.m., offering post-speech analysis with hosts Aaron Kunz and Melissa Davlin, Division of Financial Management administrator Jani Revier and Boise State University political science professor Justin Vaughn.

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]

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