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BOISE -- Gov. C.L. Butch Otter backed recommendations from an Idaho education task force, saying his top priority in 2014 and beyond will be restoring funding to school districts that have suffered recession-fueled cuts since 2008.

Otter told a Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce crowd Tuesday his top spending priority will be restoring $82.5 million in operational revenue lost by Idaho's 115 school districts.

Otter told those gathered these cuts were necessary but unfortunate.

Now that the state's economy is recovering, however, he says the money should be restored.

In all, the package recommended by the education task force last Friday would cost about $350 million, including teacher salary hikes.

Otter says such challenges can't be tackled in a single year, but Idaho lawmakers should pursue them over the next half decade.

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