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BOISE -- Legislation pushed by the chairman of the Idaho House Education Committee to divert more than $12 million in education funding to hire new teachers has died in committee.

The bill sponsored by Eagle Republican Rep. Reed DeMordaunt would have allowed school districts to use money previously directed toward teacher salaries to add back furlough days or increase the number of educators on staff.

Five Republican members joined Democrats to kill the bill on an 8-8 vote.

DeMordaunt said the measure would bolster salary funding by restoring contract days teachers lost in recent years.

But the bill failed to win over teachers who argued it fails to address bigger problems such as declines in base salaries.

Glenns Ferry Rep. Rich Wills said it would also eliminate budgetary control from school boards.

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