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Lawmakers Hope For Adjournment Wednesday

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By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) -- State lawmakers are rushing to breathe life into a new public schools budget that's become the controversial going-home bill of the 2013 session.

"We're looking at a Wednesday adjournment date for the session," said Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis.

Some lawmakers think that's a bit optimistic and say it could take at least another week to come up with a new spending plan for Idaho's public schools that would pass legislative muster.

But Davis says it can be done by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.

The $1.3 billion public schools budget for fiscal year 2014 passed the House but was killed by one vote in the Senate Wednesday, the fatal blow delivered by senators convinced the budget ran roughshod over policy and paid teachers too much at the expense of school operations.

The do-over process includes bringing the House and Senate education committees into the Lincoln Auditorium at the Statehouse Monday morning at 8 o'clock for separate but simultaneous public hearings.

It sounds confusing and lawmakers aren't sure it's ever been done before.

"We are fast-tracking at least part of the solution to the budget," said Sen. John Goedde, chair of the Senate Education Committee, and a sharp critic of the school spending plan he helped to defeat on Wednesday.

Packing boxes have been placed in the halls of the Statehouse in anticipation of a Good Friday adjournment -- which will not happen now.

Each day the legislature remains in session costs taxpayers $30,000.

"It does cost money for us to be here," Sen. Davis said. "But we also want to get it right and that's what we're trying to do."


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