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BOISE -- Idaho budget writers have approved $12.5 million to start addressing an estimated $700 million worth of deferred maintenance needs at the state's colleges and universities.

The Spokesman-Review reports the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is using money from Idaho's Permanent Building Fund to help cover the cost of some repairs at the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University and Lewis-Clark State college.

The budget-setting committee approved the appropriation Friday on a unanimous vote after viewing pictures of conditions at the schools, including rotting window frames, cracked sidewalks, leaking boilers and a professor lecturing to a classroom of students under a water-stained ceiling.

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