Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, March 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 50° Clear

Election Center

Proposition 3

Idaho Propositions 1, 2 and 3

Whether or not to repeal Idaho’s controversial new school reform laws is the hottest election issue in the state this year, with three referenda on the ballot.

A “yes” vote on Propositions 1, 2 and 3 would keep the “Students Come First” laws proposed by state schools Superintendent Tom Luna in place; a “no” vote would repeal them.

Because lawmakers pushed through follow-up bills adding emergency clauses to all three laws after opponents began gathering signatures for the referendum, the laws already have begun being phased in, rather than having been put on hold until the election; but that would stop if voters turn their thumbs down on some or all of the measures.

Luna promoted the reforms as a way to do more in Idaho schools without spending more money, after three years of unprecedented school budget cuts that he called Idaho’s “new normal.”

Results for each proposition are listed separately:

Proposition 3: Classroom Technology, Online Learning
Referendum to approve or reject legislation amending school district funding, requiring provision of computing devices and online courses for high school graduation

Rewrites Idaho’s school funding formulas to direct funds within the public school budget to the reform programs, including merit-pay bonuses, a new program to provide technology boosts including a laptop computer for every Idaho high school student and teacher, and a new focus on online learning.

Redirects a portion of existing state funding for schools to online course providers; the funds would automatically flow from school districts to the providers if students enroll in the courses, with no permission from school districts needed. Reduces state funding for Idaho Digital Learning Academy, a state-operated online course provider, with the idea that it could tap into the same formula as other providers if students choose its classes.

Directs state Board of Education to determine the number of online classes to be required for high school graduation; in response, the board has set that figure at two online classes. Funds dual-credit courses, for both college and high school credit, for students completing high school graduation requirements before their senior year. Shifts $14.8 million a year from teacher salary funds to help pay for the new programs. Directs funds within the school budget to math and science boosts to meet a new graduation requirement. Permits public colleges to run charter high schools.

Election results

Option Votes Pct
No 432,656 66.71%
Yes 215,867 33.29%

Related coverage

Students Come First back on agenda

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers on Monday took steps to reinstate parts of the controversial Students Come First school reform laws less than three months after voters overwhelmingly repealed them. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna championed the laws to roll back teachers’ collective bargaining rights; impose a new merit-pay bonus system; and dramatically boost technology in Idaho classrooms, including requiring online classes and supplying a laptop computer to every high school student. The bills passed in 2011 without a single Democratic vote in support and amid widespread opposition from teachers and others; in November, Idaho voters repealed all three by large margins.

Idaho may revive voter-rejected teacher contract limits

Less than three months after voters overwhelmingly repealed them, Idaho lawmakers on Monday reintroduced four bills to reinstate parts of the controversial “Students Come First” school reform laws, focusing on portions limiting teacher contract rights.

Goedde: Pay cuts beat teacher layoffs, focus on successes to build teacher morale

Senate Education Chairman John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, said he backs new legislation allowing school boards to cut the salaries of experienced teachers because it beats laying off teachers. “When you’re given X number of dollars to employ teachers, either you employ less teachers and increase…

IEA chief: ‘This is the Luna Laws all over again’

Idaho Education Association President Penni Cyr is disputing Idaho School Boards Association chief Karen Echeverria’s assertion that the IEA only had problems with two portions of Proposition 1, regarding continuing contract rights and limiting teacher negotiations to just salary and benefits. “Frankly, everything in Proposition…

Of ‘tenure,’ continuing contracts, and what would and wouldn’t change…

Before she proposed her four pieces of new legislation this afternoon, Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association, said she thought the Idaho Education Association, the state’s teachers union, really only objected to two parts of the voter-rejected Proposition 1: Banning teachers…

Durst: ‘I’m wondering how this improves teacher morale’

Sen. Branden Durst, D-Boise, asked Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Karen Echeverria about the recent Office of Performance Evaluations report that found a sense of “despair” among Idaho’s school teachers, and how the legislation she’s proposing to bring back parts of the “Students Come…

Four bills introduced to reinstate parts of voter-rejected ‘Students Come First’ laws

Four new bills proposed by the Idaho School Boards Association were introduced on party-line votes this afternoon in the Senate Education Committee to roll back collective bargaining rights for Idaho teachers, echoing some of the provisions in the voter-repealed Proposition 1. On all four, the…

Ed stakeholder group meeting today, you can watch live online

The governor’s Task Force for Improving Education is meeting today from 10-3, at the Yanke Family Research Park, Room 207, 202. E. Parkcenter Blvd. in Boise. The morning portion of the meeting is being streamed live here, though the afternoon work session won’t be streamed;…

Luna urges 3 percent more for schools

BOISE – A humbled Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna told state lawmakers Thursday that regardless of how it’s done, he wants Idaho to keep investing in teacher pay and classroom technology. Luna, whose ambitious “Students Come First” school reform laws were roundly rejected by voters in November, including plans to supply every Idaho high school student with a laptop computer, said he’s OK with the money being spent differently – but he wants it spent on schools.

Luna: Keep investing in teacher pay and classroom tech, regardless of how it’s done

A humbled Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna told state lawmakers today that regardless of how it’s done, he wants Idaho to keep investing in teacher pay and classroom technology. Luna, whose ambitious “Students Come First” school reform laws were roundly rejected by voters in November,…

Initiative hurdles proposed

BOISE – Some Idaho lawmakers want to make it harder for citizen initiatives to qualify for state ballots. The move by Idaho state Senate Republican leaders happened Monday in the wake of Idaho voters’ rejection of three school-reform laws last November.

Albertson Foundation threatens to withhold $4.5M in program funding

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is threatening to withhold $4.5 million it’s promised to Idaho next year for a computer program to track student progress. The foundation in Boise says the money…

IEA releases ‘Education Excellence’ report from teachers on how to improve schools

The Idaho Education Association has released a report on its recommendations to improve public schools in Idaho, a year in the making from the IEA’s Education Excellence Task Force, which included a dozen top teachers from around the state. The recommendations range from making preschool…

‘Community Conversation’ set tomorrow night on future of Idaho’s schools

Boise State Public Radio is hosting a “Community Conversation About the Future of Idaho’s Schools” Tuesday night at Salt Tears Noshery, 4714 W. State St. in Boise, starting at 6 tonight. Reporter Adam Cotterell and Morning Edition host Scott Graf will lead an informal community…

Eye on Boise: Unallocated money in school budget may stay put

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers who’ve been hoping to raid Idaho’s public school budget now that voters have rejected three school-reform laws had a setback last week: Doing so would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature’s 20-member joint budget committee. Redirecting the reform funds within the public school budget, on the other hand, would require only a simple majority on the joint committee.

Stakeholder task force begins exploring education issues, panel’s scope…

At the first meeting today of the governor’s 31-member education stakeholders task force, members spent some time hearing about the fiscal impact on the current year’s budget of the failure of Propositions 1, 2, and 3, and the ongoing programs in school districts for which…

Education stakeholders group holds first meeting today

Gov. Butch Otter’s education stakeholders’ group has its first meeting today, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Yanke Family Research Park at 220 E. Parkcenter Blvd. The group has 31 members and is chaired by state Board of Education member Richard Westerburg….

Moving ‘Students Come First’ money out of school budget would require 2/3 vote of JFAC

As the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee went over its complicated rules this morning, Legislative Budget Director Cathy Holland-Smith highlighted JFAC Rule 13 – To reopen a budget, either to put more money in – a supplemental appropriation – or to take money out – a negative…

Otter facing battles within GOP

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter faces a major leadership test when Idaho lawmakers convene their legislative session on Monday: convincing many from his own party that it’s in the state’s best interest to run its own health insurance exchange, when many want no part of “Obamacare.” Otter’s tried before to convince recalcitrant fellow Republicans to do something they didn’t want to do, notably failing in 2009 to get them to raise state taxes to fund major road improvements. He tried vetoes. He tried arm-twisting. But his own party didn’t budge.

Otter announces school improvement stakeholder group, no 2013 legislation

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announced today that he’ll form a broad stakeholders’ group to examine the best ways to improve Idaho’s schools in the wake of the failure of the voter-rejected “Students Come First” reform plan, and said he’s not looking for legislation in 2013….