Otter defends Idaho ed budget after Luna criticism

Otter defends Idaho ed budget after Luna criticism
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, center, stands by Senate majority leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, left, and House majority leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, right, introduced before his State of the State address inside the house chambers at the state Capitol building on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's aides defended his proposed $1.34 billion budget for public schools, saying $21 million that's going to teachers for bonuses and professional development this year was never meant to continue into the future.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has criticized Otter's budget, saying it neglects teacher pay - and demanding the $21 million be restored.

On Tuesday, Otter's financial adviser David Hahn told the Joint Finance-Appropriations budget committee Otter moved the bonus money to district operations - something administrators pegged as among their top priorities.

Hahn says the $21 million Luna wants wasn't cut, it was just shifted to other areas.

He told the budget panel that boosting teacher pay remains among Otter's priorities, but "we're just not prepared to bite off on that in 2015."