BOISE -- State budget writers approved a 5.1 percent increase in public education funding Monday.

That's about $66 million more than the current year.

The close to $1.7 billion budget approved by the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee includes $35 million from the general fund for discretionary dollars.

It also includes an increase in teacher compensation based on job performance.

JFAC members say the additional funds in the public education budget come from an increase in tax revenue.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna says the budget also includes a 1 percent increase in teacher pay and allocates about $16 million for teacher leadership awards.

There's also a chunk of money set aside for teacher professional development.

I think this budget that was passed this year is really a capstone of everything that we have been working for for the past seven or eight years. said Luna. This budget permanently takes us to a teacher compensation model where at least a portion of a teacher's pay is based on job performance. That's absolutely critical.

The budget also focuses heavily on technology, with $2.25 million for Wi-Fi services and $3 million allocated to a second round of technology pilot projects.

Luna says the budget will help prepare students for life after high school by providing funds for juniors and seniors to earn college credit while in high school.

There are still a few pieces of intent language that need to be worked out this week, but once those details are hammered out the budget will then go on to the House and Senate for approval.

The majority of the money for the public education budget comes from the state's sales tax, plus corporate and personal income taxes.

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