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Reclaim Idaho submits signatures for K-12 funding initiative

Education

BOISE (AP) — Organizers of an education funding initiative turned in more than 100,000 petition signatures to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday in hopes of getting the Quality Education Act on the November ballot.

Most of the signatures gathered by Reclaim Idaho have already been verified by local county clerks, but the secretary of state’s office must conduct a final review before the measure officially qualifies for the ballot. The Quality Education Act would generate an estimated $323 million each year for K-12 education by increasing income taxes for corporations and the state’s highest-earning residents. That’s about a 14% increase over the current state funding.

Under the plan, the corporate income tax rate would increase from 6% to 8%, and individuals earning more than $250,000 taxable income — or $500,000 for joint filers — would be placed in a new 10.925% income tax bracket. The revenue would be used for things like teacher and support staff salaries, reducing class sizes, hiring school counselors and psychologists, providing classroom supplies and materials and for special education services and programs like art, music, career-technical education and full-day kindergarten.

Idaho is dead last in the country for per-student spending, according to a 2021-22 ranking report from the National Education Association. The Gem State spends $8,662 annually per student. Utah is the only other state spending less than $10,000.

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