1 in 5 Idaho school districts declare emergencies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

1 in 5 Idaho school districts declare emergencies

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BOISE, Idaho. - Twenty percent of Idaho's 115 school districts have declared a financial emergency this year as they sought to tighten their financial belts after lawmakers in the 2009 Legislature reduced public education funding.

A new state law required districts to declare an emergency before taking measures like cutting teacher pay, hours or contract length.

Paul Headlee, the Idaho Legislature's budget analyst who covers public education, said Wednesday that districts have undertaken a variety of steps to save money after going into emergency mode.

Coeur d'Alene School District officials froze pay for half of its teachers, reduced district contributions to benefits by 3 percent and put a travel moratorium in place.

Pocatello negotiated a 1 percent salary decrease and a freeze on early retirement, in addition to striking two days from the school calendar.

Post Falls avoided layoffs, but still cut its budget 3.1 percent.

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