Idaho Gov. Otter vowed today to personally campaign against the voter referendum to overturn this year's school reform legislation, even as the tally of Idahoans signing petitions to place the measures on the ballot hit the 65,000 mark - nearly 20,000 more than the number required. “That's the people's right - that's what being part of a republic is all about,” Otter said. “We're going to do our level best to make sure that the correct information gets out.” Otter said, “I fully intend to be as involved as I possibly can be,” and added, “I hope they fail.”
Mike Lanza, a Boise parent and chairman of Idahoans for Responsible Education Reform, said, “The governor has made it clear from the start that he's a supporter of Supt. Luna's plan. He did not seem to be very concerned at all about the enormous public outcry against the plan when it was in the Legislature, so we believe that the governor is simply out of touch with public opinion on this one.”
The latest figures show county clerks have verified 65,088 valid signatures to place a referendum on SB 1108, the teacher contracts bill, on the November 2012 ballot; 65,252 for SB 1110, the merit pay bill; and 63,744 for SB 1184, the technology bill. It won't be official until backers present the verified petitions to the Idaho Secretary of State's office on Monday, the deadline, but Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said with the numbers running thousands above the required 47,432, “It's pretty solid that they're going to be on.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.