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Betsy Z. Russell - The Spokesman Review
BOISE -- Professional-technical education was slated for cuts in state
funding next year of more than 10 percent, but legislative budget writers scaled back
those cuts Thursday to 7 percent.
North Idaho College counts on those funds for its vocational programs.
"Overall, we thought we did well, and we appreciate what they did," said Sholeh
Johnson, assistant vice president for external relations at NIC.
In the state's professional-technical education budget, the portion of the budget that
goes to community colleges actually was scheduled to be cut back by 11.6 percent in Gov.
Dirk Kempthorne's budget recommendation for next year. Under the plan approved by the
Finance-Appropriations Committee on Thursday, that portion of the budget drops 9.5 percent
Sen. Clyde Boatright, R-Rathdrum, proposed a budget 1 percentage point higher, but Rep.
Lee Gagner, R-Idaho Falls, proposed the plan that passed on a 12-6 vote, so Boatright's
plan didn't come up for a vote.
The joint committee's two Democrats, Rep. Ken Robison, D-Boise, and Sen. Bert Marley,
D-McCammon, proposed an even more generous budget that would've been $2.9 million higher.
It failed on a 12-6 vote, with Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, and Rep. Don Pischner,
R-Coeur d'Alene, backing it, but the committee's other three North Idaho members voting
North Idaho's delegation on the committee backed the successful budget, except for
Boatright, who held out for his more generous proposal, and Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden.
The committee has been paring budgets for most state agencies even further than the
Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, said the governor's budget plan cut too deeply into
"I felt there was a lot of empathy for those programs and what they're doing for the
communities," he said. "I think this is good for NIC."