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Recovering Economy Spells Hope For Idaho Schools

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By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Educators and lawmakers alike are looking forward to Idaho's upcoming legislative session that begins in January.

That's because in the last five years, the Cassia School District cut back on the number of school days, slashed its operating budgets, and spent less to buy new textbooks and instructional materials. Now that the economy's started to recover, educators are hoping they'll see more money from the Idaho Legislature.

Cassia School District Superintendent Gaylen Smyer says, "During that period, the funding to the schools was reduced. We're hoping to be able to recover some of that so we can get back to doing some of the things we've had to limit or eliminate in some cases."

Lawmakers will also have to wrestle with how to fund the Idaho Department of Corrections, another big item on the state budget.

Senator Michelle Stennett, (D) Ketchum, says, "Obviously Corrections is always a large component of the budget. We are talking about government contracts, those are always a large price tag, healthcare within the Corrections Department is always a difficult conversation."

Senator Michelle Stennett points out the need to maintain basic infrastructure like roads.

Stennett says, "When you are very lean like we have been, many of those things get put aside. But the more you wait, the more expensive and catastrophic, it becomes a public health and safety issue at some point."

Now that the economy is beginning to recover, Stennett hopes the need for deep cuts is a thing of the past.

December 20, 2013.


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