Eye On Boise

Supt candidates speak out in closing comments

Stan Olson and Tom Luna, candidates for state superintendent of schools, debate in front of a live audience in the Idaho Capitol Auditorium on Tuesday night (Betsy Russell)
Stan Olson and Tom Luna, candidates for state superintendent of schools, debate in front of a live audience in the Idaho Capitol Auditorium on Tuesday night (Betsy Russell)

In their closing comments at the end of tonight's debate, each candidate for superintendent of public instruction spoke out. "Idaho needs a real advocate for education," incumbent Supt. Tom Luna declared. He then asked, "Is an advocate for education someone like me who is reducing his pay by 4 percent ... (or) my opponent, who pays himself $175,000 a year and doesn't reduce his pay by one dollar?" He said, "Folks, actions speak louder than words. I have always been an advocate for public education, not just in words but in deed." He said kids need to realize their dreams. "If you elect me again, I'll fight every day to make that happen."

Olson said there are "very defined distinctions between the two of us." He said of Luna's comments in the debate, "I've heard this for four years, I have been boots-on-the-ground on the receiving end of this and I know full well that politics has trumped educational leadership year after year after year." The state's largest school districts have been "able to deal with it and move forward," he said, but not the majority of districts that are smaller and rural. "We need to do better," Olson said. "We are cheating the children of the state. We are giving them false hopes and giving them inadequate preparation ... for the life that is before them. ... We must do better." He said he wants to "begin the process of transforming education back to where it should be."




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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