Superintendent Tom Luna presents his budget request for Idahos public schools to the Idaho Legislature at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol.
Heres what to watch for:
1. What will happen to teacher salaries? Students Come First reduced teacher salaries by 1.67 percent and put into place pay-for-performance bonuses. Now that those laws are overturned, will Luna propose raises for Idahos educators?
2. How will the request compare to the 2013 budget? The 2013 budget included millions for Students Come First provisions, including pay-for-performance and technology in the classrooms. Without those provisions next fiscal year, will Luna reduce his request from last year? Or will he ask for the same amount of money to redistribute?
3. How will Lunas budget differ from the governors? Gov. Butch Otter presented his budget recommendations to the Legislature after the Jan. 7 State of the State address. The governor recommended $1.6 billion for public schools, but Luna and his department may have different ideas of how much money schools need, and how that money should be divided. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will take Otters recommendation and Lunas presentation into consideration when setting the budget.
4. How will the budget committee respond? This year, the 20-member joint budget committee has 12 new faces, a handful of whom are freshmen who didnt have a front-row seat to the education debate over the past two years. They may have a different idea of how schools should use the money.
5. What about the rest of the Legislature? Budget and policy are inextricably intertwined. The House and Senate Education Committees may propose post-Students Come First reforms that have a fiscal impact. As lawmakers negotiate with the governor, educators, superintendents, parents and other stakeholders on reforms, we may see them come out with proposals that have an impact on the 2014 budget.