BOISE -- Gov. C.L. Butch Otter projects Idaho will end the fiscal year with $50 million in the bank to carry forward, but lawmakers were warned they could have to spend a bulk of that money on education.
The Legislature's budget chief says that's because of agreements Idaho made with the federal government on funding levels for education while receiving stimulus funding and money to preserve teaching jobs.
Cathy Holland-Smith told lawmakers Tuesday that Idaho could have to spend $34.6 million of the projected $50 million on public schools and higher education at the year's end, leaving just $15.4 million to carry forward.
Holland-Smith says lawmakers could give the money to public education, forcing cuts to other agencies to make up the difference. Or they can distribute the money at the end of this fiscal year and deduct that same amount from spending on public education next year, canceling out the difference.