The Idaho Spending Index serves to provide a fiscally conservative perspective on state budgeting while providing an unbiased measurement of how Idaho lawmakers apply these values to their voting behavior on appropriations bills. Each bill is analyzed within the context of the metrics below. They receive one (+1) point for each metric that is satisfied by freedom-focused policymaking and lose one (-1) point for each instance in which the inverse is true. The sum of these points composes the score for the bill.
Analyst: Niklas Kleinworth
Bill Description: House Bill 208 provides a supplemental appropriation of $1,500,000 to the Public Schools, Teachers Division for fiscal year 2023.
Does this budget contain hidden fund transfers or supplemental expenditures that work to enact new policy or are not valid emergency expenditures? Conversely, are fund transfers only made to stabilization funds or are supplemental requests only made in the interest of resolving valid fiscal emergencies?
House Bill 208 provides a $1.5 million supplemental to Public Schools for the purpose of providing dyslexia training for all teachers throughout the state. Note that this supplemental does not call for carryover authority.
This supplemental appropriation was justified by Superintendent Debbie Critchfield as a way to cover the expenses public schools were obligated to incur through the passage of House Bill 731 of 2022. Despite the timeline in the bill requiring the dyslexia initiative to be in place by the start of the 2023-2024 school year, there was no trailer appropriation considered for this program. Additionally, the fiscal note for the bill only noted the cost of $97,000 to fund the salary and benefits for a new administrator to oversee the program in the Department of Education. The bill made no mention of such high initial and ongoing costs for the program.
The emergency nature of this supplemental is called into question, since HB 731 of 2022 did not call for these expenses. In addition to this supplemental, schools also expect $2.9 million in support for this program through a line item in the budget for fiscal year 2024. Lawmakers should ask the question: if the supplemental needs to be passed for teachers to be prepared in time for the school year, why is there a need for the additional line item for the 2024 fiscal year to do the same thing?
House Bill 208 is not a valid use of a supplemental appropriation.