Accusing the White House of “an incredible overreach,” Gov. Butch Otter’s staff attorney has urged a federal court to put the brakes on guidelines designed to protect transgender students’ rights.
But in a 34-page legal brief, filed Friday, Otter attorney Cally Younger appears to greatly misstate the potential fiscal impact of the federal policies.
Idaho filed its brief in U.S. District Court in Wichita Falls, Texas, the focal point in the transgender student debate. It is here that Texas and several other stateshave filed a lawsuit seeking to block the controversial federal guidelines.
A key point in the Idaho brief is that the White House’s May 13 transgender student “guidance” actually constitutes binding policy. Opponents argue that states must comply with the policies, or risk the loss of federal funding for public schools.
“In 2015, Idaho received $161,129,873 in federal education funds,” Younger writes in the state’s brief. “This comprises 34.4 percent of Idaho’s education budget, making Idaho the 15th state that is most dependent on federal education funding.”
The $161.1 million is found in a June federal report on education funding, a document Younger cites in the brief. But that $161.1 million appears to be an incomplete accounting of federally funded programs. Meanwhile, the 34.4 percent figure overstates the feds’ role in funding Idaho education.