House Bill 628 – Public school support, operations

Fred Birnbaum 2020 Idaho Spending Index Leave a Comment

Bill description: Public school support, Operations, Fiscal Year 2021 appropriation

Rating -1

Analysis:

The Operations division is one of the 7 divisions in the K-12 budget and it provides funding for school districts for pupil transportation, salaries and benefits for staff, technology and discretionary funds for educational support services or operations.

One large line was added by JFAC that was not recommended by the governor. The line item is listed as discretionary funding for health insurance for $7.4 million.

The discretionary increase for health insurance, at $7.4 million, does not incentivize schools to save on health care costs. Some districts provide 100 percent premium coverage to teachers, ensuring that taxpayers cover these costs and by providing this discretionary appropriation, JFAC is essentially shielding districts and teachers from health insurance cost increases borne by ordinary taxpayers. Finally it must be noted this money is purely discretionary and should a district decide to use it for salaries, they could.