Like most state programs, public education will have to cut its budget by 3 percent. But that money will be restored to the budget, essentially holding it harmless.

A 3 percent cut means $75.9 million sliced from public education agencies. However, legislators and Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. say that money will be "backfilled" to education to make up the difference.

A total of $50 million would be used from monies left over in the minimum school program and about $10 million carried over from the State Office of Education for an approximate total of $60 million in nonlapsing funds during fiscal 2008. Legislative fiscal analysts said they aren't sure at this time where the rest would come from to create $75 million.

State Superintendent Patti Harrington, tearing up as she spoke to legislators Thursday, said she appreciated education being held harmless.

"It's vitally important our kids have continued service this year," she said.

The real discussion is where to find the money for education for fiscal year 2010. The committee agreed Thursday to examine, between now and the general session, what future education budget cuts could be.