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Eye On Boise

Luna’s truck vandalized; he blames school-reform opponents

The Associated Press reports that vandals slashed two tires and spray-painted the truck of Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna overnight, in a move he linked to his controversial school reform proposals. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Jessie Bonner; Luna and Gov. Butch Otter have scheduled a press conference for 1:30 "about the Students Come First plan and recent incidents."

Schools chief's truck vandalized amid reform furor
By JESSIE L. BONNER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Vandals slashed two tires and spray-painted the truck of Idaho's public schools chief as the furor over his proposed education reforms appeared to grow uglier.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said he woke up early Tuesday and found the word "Luna" painted on the truck with a slash through the letters.

"I'm not pointing any fingers at any individuals or groups, but there's no doubt in my mind" the vandalism involved the reforms, he told The Associated Press.

The reforms call for introducing merit pay and eliminating tenure for new teachers while expanding online courses, increasing class sizes and cutting about 770 teaching positions.

Hearings on the education reforms were expected to continue Tuesday in the Idaho Senate, where the legislation was introduced earlier this month and is now being reworked amid opposition from teachers, parents and some lawmakers.

Luna was heckled Tuesday morning after a live newscast in a downtown Boise coffee shop, and he said he filed a police report after an angry teacher went to his mother's house over the weekend.

Luna denounced the state teachers union Monday, saying organizers of the opposition to his reforms have sent out e-mails including the home addresses and phone numbers of elected officials. Luna said the actions amounted to "union thuggery" as far as he was concerned.

The Idaho Education Association denied sending any e-mails with home addresses or phone numbers.

"The IEA condemns vandalism and urges that anyone found to be responsible be prosecuted for their actions," association president Sherri Wood said. "We do not resort to violence or harassment to solve problems."

The teachers union represents 13,000 members and has condemned parts of the education reforms that would reduce teaching jobs, increase class sizes and require new educators to forgo coveted job security.

"We cannot and will not let stories like this distract us from the fact that the public remains strongly opposed to superintendent Luna's plans to overhaul education," Wood said.

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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