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House Bill 698 – Office of the State Board of Education, Appropriations FY25

House Bill 698 – Office of the State Board of Education, Appropriations FY25

Niklas Kleinworth
March 8, 2024

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

Rating: -3

Bill Description: House Bill 698 appropriates $50,934,000 and 84.25 full-time positions to the Office of the State Board of Education for fiscal year 2025.

Does this budget incur any wasteful spending among discretionary funds, including new line items? Conversely, does this budget contain any provisions that serve to reduce spending where possible (i.e. base reductions, debt reconciliation, etc.)? 

This program adds $250,000 in ongoing funds to support the existing Arts in Rural Public Schools Grant Program. This is new funding after the Legislature appropriated $1 million for this same program last year. This was created by the agency, not the legislature, and is designed to support the abstract goal of promoting arts in rural public schools. This is a frivolous expense.


Is the maintenance budget inappropriate for the needs of the state, the size of the agency, or the inflationary environment of the economy? Conversely, is the maintenance budget appropriate given the needs of the state and economic pressures?

This legislation confirms the program maintenance budget for the Office of the State Board of Education of $49,221,100. This growth from the FY 2022 base is far higher than what would be prescribed by inflationary pressures and growth. This is largely due to increases in ongoing spending through the American Rescue Plan Act and other federal COVID response funding. An additional $30 million to make the Empowering Parents Grants program permanent is also a leading contributor for this sizable increase.


Does the budget grow government through the addition of new permanent FTPs or through funding unlegislated efforts to create new or expanded entitlement programs? Conversely, does this budget reduce the size of government staff and programs except where compelled by new legislation?

House Bill 698 would add a total of 10.00 new full-time equivalent positions to the Office of the State Board of Education. Three of these positions would be college and career coordinators, one for a new IT business analyst, one for a new data governance manager, and one for a higher ed safety and security analyst.

Four of these positions are risk manager staffers that were transferred to the department from the colleges and universities’ appropriation. This component doesn’t necessarily contribute to the overall growth of government, being that it expands the agency with a commensurate decrease in other areas.

Overall, this budget contributes to a net increase of 6 ongoing positions to the size of government.


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