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Committee boosts Idaho education budget by 7.4 percent, adding $101 million

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BOISE, Idaho — Legislative budget writers are matching Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's request to restore public education money slashed during the economic downturn by adding roughly $101 million to the Idaho schools budget.

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee approved increasing the schools budget by 7.4 percent on Friday. The proposal now needs to pass both chambers, but the legislation is expected to pass.

The proposal includes allotting $33.5 million to boost teacher pay, part of a five-year teacher pay increase plan lawmakers approved earlier this week.

Idaho lawmakers sliced education funding in 2009 during the economic downturn right after the legislature passed one of the highest education budgets in the state's history.

Lawmakers have since promised to return education funding to previous levels, but have been wary of adding too much too soon.

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