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House Passes Public Schools Budget For 2013

The Idaho House has approved a 2013 funding plan for public schools that increases the minimum teacher salary and funds new education reforms, including merit pay bonuses and laptops.

House lawmakers voted 54-15 to send the budget to the governor’s desk.

The plan includes $1.27 billion in state general funding, a $56 million bump over the current fiscal year. That’s a 4.6 percent boost in state support, but the overall increase is much smaller at 0.4 percent when including federal funding.

Idaho Falls Rep. Jeff Thompson says that’s still a significant improvement for public schools.

Republican Reps. Leon Smith and Tom Trail joining Democrats in opposition to the budget. Boise Rep. Grant Burgoyne argued the plan fails to provide adequate salary improvements promised to teachers upon an improving economy.

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