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Eye On Boise

Wed., Oct. 27, 2010, 2:31 p.m.

Supporter has ties to program she lauded

The Associated Press reports that a fan of public schools chief Tom Luna wrote Idaho newspapers this month to praise his math initiative, but the supporter did not disclose her role with a company hired as part of the program. Marisa Alan identified herself as a "parent and educator" in her letter applauding Luna, a Republican running for a second term, and his efforts to improve student math skills. But Alan failed to mention her role with Apangea, a company that Luna's department has contracted since June 2008 to provide web-based math programs in grades 5-12 as part of the Idaho Math Initiative.

In her letter, Alan praised Luna for "wisely" choosing to continue funding the math initiative. The state is paying Apangea $1.3 million this fiscal year as part of the program.

Alan, who is listed as an Apangea contact on the state Department of Education website, did not immediately return a request for comment. Supporters of Democrat Stan Olson, who is challenging Luna in November, first pointed out Alan's role with Apangea.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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