Community Blog: The EDge

The public school budget impasse: partying like it’s 1992?

When a question arises on Statehouse history, you can usually rely on the Spokane Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell to find the answer.

So it was Wednesday, when the state Senate threw the 2013 legislative session into tumult — and sent Statehouse reporters into scramble mode — with a startling 17-18 vote to reject the $1.308 billion public schools budget.

Yes, this has happened before, most recently in 1992. “And it was a doozy,” Russell wrote.

Here’s the quick version of what she learned. In 1992, four budget proposals failed, one in the House, three in the Senate. The fifth and final budget cleared both houses and was signed by then-Gov. Cecil Andrus.

We’re a long way from there, but we know this much. Just writing a second schools budget will extend the 2013 session into next week. Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told the Associated Press that the House and Senate education committees will hold public hearings on the contentious pieces of the budget.

And then, a budget has to find 18 yes votes in the Senate and still find favor with a House that handily supported the first budget, on a 52-16 vote.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

Posted in The EDge