Contributing member: Brad Cuddy

Regarding the proposed changes to the public-school funding formula, Lewiston Schools do not fare well under any circumstances. For that matter, most schools in North Central Idaho lose base funding. That is tough, since funding levels are just now getting closer to where they were before the Great Recession budget cuts.

To mitigate some of the impact, the state says it will hold harmless schools that lose money by keeping funding levels congruent with current levels for three years. A key question is: will that include inflationary adjustments each year? If not, where will the funds come from to adjust wages and salaries (over 80% of the school budget), for the next three years?  Then, of course, after three years pass, we take the funding hit full on.

The key takeaway is this: if this formula were in place today, the Lewiston School District would suffer a $1.4 million reduction in state funding. Even after the numbers are inflated by adding another $130 million to the base budget (which is what the spreadsheet on the legislative web site does), Lewiston loses $400,000 every year. So, to contrast, we lose $400,000 in funding and do not see any benefit from increased overall funding levels. Last year, that amounted to well over $1,000,000.  So, using either approach – we suffer a $1.4 million annual reduction. That is tough.

If it looks like this legislation gets legs, and it most likely will, it is important to contact our legislative delegation and legislators in this entire region and share your views and concerns. Some of the goals and concepts of the formula change are good, but it obviously needs more work, or they need to pump a lot more money into the education budget to keep everyone whole.

Following is a video link produced by the Boise School district that reviews the proposed new funding formula.  It is about 40 minutes long, but it does an excellent job explaining the complexity of the formula.  It is dated back to July but still is highly relevant since the basic elements and assumptions of the formula remain the same. 

This is a link to the Legislative Web Site with more information:

Two spreadsheets are attached that were downloaded from the legislative web site. One shows the impact for Lewiston using this fiscal year’s numbers, which is only real “Apples to Apples” way to see how the pie gets re-divided.  The other one uses the increased funding projection, which adds $130,000,000 to the base amount. 

Also attached is a reprint of an Editorial Marty Trillhaase published in the Lewiston Tribune.




Legislator Information for Districts 5,6,7

Senate Address is P.O. Box 83720Boise, ID 83720-0081
House Address is P.O. Box 83720Boise, ID 83720-0038
District/SeatNameCommittees Local Addressemailsession #Personal #
District 5Sen. Dan Nelson (D)Agricultural Affairs; Health & Welfare; Transportation804 East E StreetMoscow, ID 83843dnelson@senate.idaho.gov208-332-1405208-301-2266
5ARep. Bill GoeslingAgricultural Affairs; Education; Judiciary, Rules & Administration1141 Paradise Ridge Rd Moscow, ID 83843bgoesling@house.idaho.gov208-332-1175208-596-2001
5BRep. Caroline Nillson TroyVICE CHAIR-Agricultural Affairs; Appropriations; Judiciary, Rules & Administration2794 Highway 95Genesee, ID 83832cntroy@house.idaho.gov208-332-1035208-2850182
District 6Sen. Dan JohnsonVICE CHAIR-Finance; Resources & EnvironmentPO Box 2217Lewiston, ID 83501djohnson@senate.idaho.gov208-332-1421208-816-1164
6ARep. Thyra StevensonVICE CHAIR-Revenue & Taxation; Agricultural Affairs; BusinessPO Box 369Nezperce, ID 83543tstevenson@house.idaho.gov208-332-1184208-400-0634
6BRep. Mike KingsleyVICE CHAIR-Local Government; Commerce & Human Resources; Health & Welfare3413 Bluebird CircleLewiston, ID 83501mkingsley@house.idaho.gov208-332-1133208-791-4205
District 7Sen. Carl CrabtreeVICE CHAIR-Transportation; Education; Finance36 White Tail Acres LaneGrangeville, ID 83501ccrabtree@senate.idaho.gov208-332-1355208-983-2176
7ARep. Priscilla GiddingsAgricultural Affairs; Commerce & Human Resources; Revenue & TaxationPO Box 43Whitebird, ID 83554pgiddings@house.idaho.gov208-332-1033208-570-8616
7BRep. Paul ShepherdVICE CHAIR-Transportation & Defense; Education; Resources & ConservationPO Box 277Riggins, ID 83549pshepherd@house.idaho.gov208-332-1067208-628-3695

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