The latest TV commercial in Idaho’s governor’s race comes from Democratic candidate A.J. Balukoff, and features a Boise teacher talking about his record as head of the Boise School Board. “A.J. Balukoff made a real difference here. As governor he’ll do that for all of Idaho’s students,” Garfield Elementary School teacher Sonia Galaviz says in the commercial.
“It’s a very positive ad, in support of Balukoff and his leadership of Boise schools, but it is a Boise perspective, rather than a statewide perspective,” said Jim Weatherby, Boise State University professor emeritus and a longtime observer of Idaho politics. “That will resonate in some areas. In other areas that are somewhat anti-Boise, perhaps not.”
The ad touts well-known distinctions the Boise district has earned for student achievement and for higher rates of high school graduates going on to college. Boise High School has long been ranked one of the best high schools in the nation, and the district’s course offerings, programs and facilities exceed those in many Idaho districts.
That’s in part because the Boise district is a charter school district, one of just three, created before Idaho was a state. As such, it has additional property taxing authority, so its funding is more protected than that of most Idaho school districts. However, its per-pupil spending, while above the state average, ranks just 58th out of Idaho’s 159 Idaho school districts and charter schools. You can read my full AdWatch story here at spokesman.com.