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Eye On Boise

Tue., Sept. 25, 2012, 3:46 p.m.

Boise School Board urges ‘no’ vote on Props 1,2,3, Otter urges ‘yes’ vote

The elected Boise School Board has announced it's endorsing a "no" vote on all three school reform referenda on the November ballot, Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Board President AJ Balukoff said, "We have an obligation as the governing body of the Boise School District to use research, best practice and data to provide the best education possible for our students. This includes communicating the implications of new laws for our students, parents, teachers, and our community."

The board, in a news release, said, "The Students Come First legislation restricts what school boards are allowed to negotiate with their teachers, establishes a pay-for-performance bonus system for teachers, diverts funding from local districts to pay for laptops for all high school students, and requires online courses for graduation." Balukoff said, "These three laws politicize public education by taking authority and discretion from locally elected school boards and concentrating it in the Office of the State Superintendent." You can read the board's full statement on the laws here.

Meanwhile, Gov. Butch Otter has issued a statement urging a "yes" vote on the three measures. In response to a television commercial that's being aired statewide by the laws' opponents, Otter, in a written statement sent to KTVB-TV, wrote, "I didn't sign an unfunded mandate into law, and I didn't sign a tax increase into law. What I signed into law was a way to ensure equity and excellence for our students, opportunities for our teachers and accountability for local school trustees. There's plenty of truthful information available to help voters understand why it's important to vote YES for education reform. Don't believe the union bosses."

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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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