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Idaho Education Chief Asks for Increased Budget

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna is seeking a nearly 6 percent increase in funding next year for schools and teacher salaries. Luna is also proposing helping high school juniors and seniors pay for dual-credit classes that help earn college credit before graduation.

The Republican unveiled his $1.37 billion budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. He said the spending increase mirrors recommendations spelled out earlier this year by an education task force assembled by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

If approved by lawmakers, the proposed 5.9 percent spending increase would be the biggest budget for the Department of Education since 2009. Of the $77 million in new money, Luna’s budget recommends using an additional $16.5 million for classrooms to help offset $82 million in cuts made during the economic downturn.

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