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Eye On Boise

Luna: Endowment making a difference for Idaho school kids

Tom Luna (Betsy Russell)
Tom Luna (Betsy Russell)

Outgoing Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna had some parting words at his final state Land Board meeting today, as he ends his eight years in office. “Numerous times a year, I often press this board for larger and larger distributions (to schools ) – and there’s a reason for that,” he said. “These dollars that are provided to our public schools provide us the opportunity to go a little bit above and beyond the ability of the Legislature, and so I thought I’d walk you through just a couple programs.” The state’s endowment, overseen by the Land Board and the state Department of Lands, provides schools $32 million to $34 million year, Luna said. “So what do you get for $32 million to $34 million dollars?”

He pointed to the Idaho Space and Aerospace Scholars program, through which 500 Idaho students have now attended space camp and worked with NASA; state funding for all Idaho high school juniors to take the SAT and sophomores to take the PSAT; $16 million in performance pay for teachers this year through district leadership awards; advanced programs through which tens of thousands of students have earned college credit while still in high school this year; and the state’s math initiative.

“And while we’re always looking for more and I would encourage you to continue to pursue to find ways to increase the distribution, I would just thank you for your dedication to this fund and to this endowment and the good that it’s brought to Idaho kids,” Luna said, “and here’s the evidence.”

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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