Legislative roundup, 5.4.21: Senate passes key education budgets, including higher ed – Idaho EdNews

On the 114th day of the 2021 legislative session, the education budget debates effectively came to a conclusion.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate approved the biggest education budgets on their docket — a K-12 teacher salaries bill and a reduced higher education budget. Both of these bills passed the House Monday, which means both are on their way to Gov. Brad Little’s desk.

Tuesday’s votes bring legislators a bit closer to wrapping up the 2021 legislative session, already the third longest in state history. But lawmakers continue to wrestle several unresolved issues outside the education arena — property tax relief, federal funding for child care centers and legislative and gubernatorial powers in an emergency. All three of these issues punctuated the Statehouse calendar on Tuesday.

Here’s a look at the Senate’s education votes.

Higher education. Once again, the Senate easily passed a budget funding the state’s four-year schools. But not without debate that adhered largely to party lines.

Sen. Carl Crabtree, R-Grangeville, discusses the rewritten higher education budget Tuesday.

And the debate focused on $2.5 million in cuts in House Bill 387 — which earmarks $313.1 million in tax dollars and $629.9 million in overall funding to higher education.

The cuts — $1.5 million to Boise State University, $500,000 to the University of