Legislative budget writers voted Monday to increase state support for public schools by 4.6 percent in 2013, bumping up the minimum teacher salary by $500 a year and funding education reforms approved during last year's session, including a statewide laptop program.
The plan would more than offset a nearly $50 million cut to public schools in the current fiscal year while restructuring how Idaho's education money is spent to fund the reforms.
The public education budget for next year totals more than $1.56 billion, when including both state and federal funding. The plan includes $1.27 billion in state general funding, for an increase of about $56 million over this fiscal year, when schools took a $47 million hit.
While the budget includes a 4.6 percent jump in state general funding, the overall increase is much smaller, at 0.4 percent, which Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna attributed to a loss in federal stimulus funds.