Idaho's Governor Says More Covid Money Will Be Routed To Schools

Sep 11, 2020

Idaho Governor Brad Little gestures while answering a question about school funding during a press conference on Friday.
Credit Idaho Public Television

Idaho Governor Brad Little says he’s directing $99 million from what’s left of the state’s federal coronavirus relief money to public schools.

In an announcement in Boise today [Friday] the governor said the federal government notified Idaho last week that it’s allowing more flexibility in how states use CARES Act money for schools.

Little says the money will offset nearly a hundred million dollars in spending cuts he’d ordered earlier this year.

“This makes Idaho one of the only states in the country that has significantly increased funds for education during the pandemic, by the tune of 10 1/2%,” he said.

The governor’s announcement drew praise from Democratic legislative leaders and from the Idaho Education Association. They’ve criticized him for the education cuts and urged him to do more with the relief money, for example, to buy more personal protective equipment for teachers and students in school buildings.

There was also praise from Luke Mayville from the group Reclaim Idaho, which attempted to put an initiative requiring more education funding on the November ballot.

“We’ve promised our students an adequate education. We’ve promised our teachers competitive salaries. So we just have to keep pushing. People all over the state just have to keep raising their voices until we actually meet our constitutional obligation," Mayville said.

The governor also announced the state will also allocate $50 million for a program that pays families whose children are learning at home to buy what they need to get better online access to their children’s schools. He says the details of that are still being worked out.