Otter Stands By His Claims In Transgender Student Dispute

Jul 28, 2016

Credit Idaho Ed News

Gov. Butch Otter is standing by his numbers, in an ongoing dispute over transgender student policies.

Otter maintains that the Obama administration’s transgender student guidelines jeopardize about a third of the state’s education funding.

The claim was made in a legal brief filed by the state Friday — and Idaho Education News first reported about the claim Monday. Writing on Otter’s behalf, staff attorney Cally Younger said Idaho could lose 34.4 percent of its education funding, if it fails to comply with the transgender student guidelines.

That 34.4 percent figure doesn’t square with the state’s K-12 budget; in 2016-17, federal dollars will account for only 13.7 percent of Idaho’s public schools budget.

On Wednesday, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian sent Idaho Education News an email clarifying the state’s claim. He says the transgender student issue jeopardizes all federal funding for education — such as the $400 million in contracts and grants received by the state’s universities, and $4.7 million for career-technical education programs.

In quantifying the potential fiscal impact to Idaho, we looked at federal funding to all of public education in Idaho, kindergarten through higher education,” Hanian wrote. “We stand by our estimate.”

Younger’s 34-page brief does not refer to university contracts and grants or career-technical programs. It refers only to one federally funded program: the $161.1 million Idaho receives for K-12 student aid programs. That does not represent all of the federal funding Idaho receives for K-12.

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