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Education funding initiative likely to appear on Idaho's November ballot

Courtesy of Cameron Crow of Reclaim Idaho

Initiative group Reclaim Idaho submitted the required amount of signatures Monday to place an education funding initiative on the November ballot.

If approved by voters, the Quality Education Act initiative would raise $323 million a year to increase education workers’ pay and provide more programs in schools.

Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, says the state ranks last in education funding per a student, and ranks low in teacher pay.

“When we're dead last it means we're not paying our teachers competitively with neighboring states, it means we're not able to pay living wages to our support staff, and we're not able to fund programs including things like carpentry and welding that could actually give kids a chance to make a living when they graduate,” he said.

During the 2022 session, the Idaho Legislature did increase the K-12 education budget, but Mayfield argues the state’s public-school system is still behind other states when it comes to programs for students and competitive pay.

According to the initiative, the increase in education funding would be paid for through a corporate tax, and an income tax on people making more than $250,000 a year.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.