Appropriations Hears Education Budget Proposal
By Kealey Bultena
Members of the Joint Appropriations Committee have heard budget testimony from the last state agency on the list. The Department of Education appears before lawmakers like other state bureaus – slashing funding to fit the governor’s budget proposal.
No one stood up and said cuts to education are bad. Instead, education officials explain how they’ll work. Most of the cuts come by stripping ten percent from per-student state aid to districts.
Another element of the budget decrease is educational technology. Jim Edman with the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications says the DOE will save money by putting off planned maintenance and upgrades for the DDN system.
"Mr. Chairman, I mean we’re rolling the dice in that we’re going to attempt to extend the life on the hardware out there. Not unlike you may have a vehicle that you drive for 5-8 years, and instead of replacing it, you’re going to go 10-12 years," Edman says. "If you blow an engine, it’s an unknown expense, and you’ve got to fix it at that point in time. We’re taking the same approach."
The DDN program connects schools via cameras to offer classes. Edman says the system logged 32,000 hours of use last year.
The Joint Appropriations committee will prepare the final budget for lawmakers to consider during the last weeks of the session.
Member stations download audio file here.