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Luna accuses teachers unions of lying about reform

FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2012, 3:10 P.M.

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Public schools chief Tom Luna whipped up partisans at the GOP convention in Twin Falls, accusing teachers unions of lying about the 2011 Legislature’s education reforms.

Foes have gotten measures on November’s ballot to torpedo the reforms, which curtail teachers’ bargaining rights, promote merit pay and redirect funding to online classes and student laptops.

Luna on Friday told a 500-plus crowd at the College of Southern Idaho the Idaho Education Association was misleading members about “Students Come First.”

He predicted average teacher pay will rise $2,000 following the reforms, claiming union leaders are keeping details like that from teachers.

Idaho Education Association President Penny Cyr has said Luna’s reforms, coupled with budget cuts, will boost classroom sizes and undermine the teaching profession by suggesting educators can be replaced by computers.

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