Eye On Boise

In wake of school reform bills, campaigns gear up, levies sought

"Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform" began collecting signatures today on referendum petitions to overturn this year's three major school reform bills, SB 1108 on teacher contracts, SB 1110 on teacher merit pay, and SB 1184 on funding shifts for technology. Mike Lanza, a Boise father of two and chairman of the group, said, "The referendum effort is now fully under way." The group has launched a website here. Meanwhile, the Idaho Education Association's delegate assembly voted today to endorse the referendum drive; and up in North Idaho, the West Bonner County School District joined the ranks of districts around the state planning to ask local taxpayers to approve increased property taxes in May to help cope with state funding cuts.

"If our levy doesn’t pass on May 17th, we will most likely go to a 4-day week, end all co-curricular/sports for our students, and all employees will take something in the range of a 20% pay cut," wrote West Bonner Supt. Mike McGuire in a note to his local lawmakers. "Also, we will be forced to consider elimination of several teaching positions (probably at the secondary level) within the new legislative guidelines and force our students to take online classes."

Also, a group called "RecallTomLuna.org" that's seeking to recall state schools Supt. Tom Luna and two state lawmakers is planning events around the state Saturday to kick off its separate petition drives.

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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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