Friday, October 18, 2013

Idaho Ed News: Luna's K-12 Proposal Criticized by State Board Members

Posted By on Fri, Oct 18, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna didn't make the formal presentation of his proposed 2013-2014 K-12 budget to this week's meeting of the State Board of Education; he sent Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Hancock to present the numbers (Luna is currently in Boston attending Jeb Bush's National Summit of the Foundation for Excellence in Education).

But Luna's ears must have been burning when two Idaho State Board of Education members ripped into his spending proposal.

Idaho Ed News reports that board member Bill Goesling called Luna's proposal for a 5.9 percent spending increase "unacceptable," adding that the such an increase would come at the expense of public colleges and universities.

Idaho Ed News reports that another board member, Milford Terrell, added, "The fact is these numbers are staggering when you look at where we are going and what we are doing and who is going to be robbed in this whole spectrum of moneys."

Goesling went as far as suggesting that the board make its own, separate, recommendation for K-12 spending to the governor prior to the launch of the January 2014 session of the Idaho Legislature.

Idaho Ed News reports that board member Richard Westerberg, on at least two occasions, "jokingly asked if members could take an early break for lunch" to cut through some of the tension.

There was considerably less drama when officials from the University of Idaho updated the board on plans to build a new home for the soon-to-be selected U of I president.

A committee has recommended that a new president's house be built at the same location of the existing residence on Nez Perce Drive following its demolition. The current structure was built in 1967.

The total cost of the project was initially estimated to be $1.3 million, but university officials now say the cost should be less.

State board members have already approved $75,000 for planning and design of the project. The board is expected to get an update on the project at its February meeting.

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