Idaho

Idaho referendum backers deliver petitions

More than 100 backers of referendum measures to overturn Idaho's new school reform laws pass boxes of petition signatures from hand to hand as they deliver them to the state Capitol on Monday to qualify the measures for the 2012 ballot. (Betsy Russell)
More than 100 backers of referendum measures to overturn Idaho's new school reform laws pass boxes of petition signatures from hand to hand as they deliver them to the state Capitol on Monday to qualify the measures for the 2012 ballot. (Betsy Russell)

BOISE - Backers of three referendum measures to overturn this year’s Idaho school reform bills delivered more than 210,000 verified signatures to the Idaho Secretary of State’s office on Monday, far more than needed to qualify the measures for the November 2012 ballot.

Each measure needed at least 47,432 valid signatures of registered Idaho voters; the backers turned in more than 72,000 for each of the three measures.

“The people of Idaho will finally have their say on these widely unpopular laws,” said Mike Lanza, a Boise parent and chairman of Idahoans for Responsible School Reform.

The new laws, championed by Idaho schools Superintendent Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter, eliminate most collective bargaining rights for teachers; impose a new merit-pay bonus system; and shift funds from teacher salaries to technology investments and a new focus on online learning. Luna dubbed the reform package “Students Come First.”



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