It’s the big chunk of new money in 2013-14’s K-12 budget proposal.
It’s also an open-ended line item. No one knows exactly where the money might go — which is the whole idea.
Gov. Butch Otter and state schools superintendent Tom Luna want to earmark $33.9 million for the governor’s education task force. This money would give the 31-member group working capital to enact education reform – that is, if elected legislators agree to cede the money to a board made up predominately of unelected education and business leaders.
On Thursday, Luna made clear that the stakes are high.
In his presentation to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Luna said his proposed 2013-14 budget is flat, save for the task force money. And that’s essentially true: While the Luna budget earmarks dollars for everything from classroom technology to added math and science teachers to increased starting pay for teachers, its 3 percent general fund increase totals $38 million — not much more than the $33.9 million in question.
In a news conference after his JFAC presentation, Luna was blunt about the budgeting prospects. If legislators take that task force money out of the K-12 budget, “It’s not coming back any time soon.” (more…)