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BOISE - Idaho’s dominant Republican establishment appeared headed for a rare rebuke from voters Tuesday, as school-reform measures pushed hard by state schools Superintendent Tom Luna and GOP Gov. Butch Otter trailed at the polls throughout the night.
BOISE – Idaho voters are riled up and ready to vote, with a contentious school-reform debate reverberating in the state’s airwaves and decisions looming on every seat in the Legislature, key local races, two constitutional amendments and seats in Congress. Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa is predicting that 78 percent of the state’s registered voters will cast ballots, and forecasting a long night of ballot-counting before final results are tallied. Some large counties have advised election-night workers their shifts could run to 5 a.m. the next day.
BOISE – It turns out that the “buyout” clause in the state’s $182 million laptop contract is not what the state Department of Education originally described – a cost that “is only paid if the contract is severed for some reason” and “may or may not be paid.” In response to my inquiries, after I found no reference to such an early-cancellation buyout fee in the contract, department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath told me, “That would be my error.”
BOISE – The latest campaign ad in Idaho’s school reform fight features Gov. Butch Otter endorsing Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in a positive, feel-good message. “Education in Idaho is at a crossroads,” the casually dressed governor says in the commercial, which is running statewide, including in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene market. “This election year we’re being asked whether we will keep meaningful education reforms on the books or go back to the old way of doing things.”
The latest campaign ad in Idaho’s school reform fight features Gov. Butch Otter endorsing Propositions 1, 2 and 3 in a positive, feel-good message.
BOISE – A secretive campaign group that claimed to be providing Idaho parents a voice in the state’s school reform referendum fight actually was bankrolled in large part by an Idaho grocery heir and by the billionaire mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. That news surfaced when Education Voters of Idaho, acting under a judge’s order, filed its campaign finance disclosure report on Wednesday afternoon. Bloomberg gave $200,000 to EVI, which financed TV ads across the state backing Idaho Propositions 1, 2 and 3. His donation was eclipsed only by that of Albertsons heir Joseph B. Scott, who gave $250,000.
BOISE – A former Idaho state official now with Education Networks of America would play a key role under the state’s $182 million, eight-year contract for laptop computers for high school students. The contract, obtained Tuesday by The Spokesman-Review under the Idaho Public Records Law, includes information about key staffers for the companies that partnered in the successful bid, including Hewlett-Packard, Education Networks of America and Xtreme Consulting. Among them is a familiar name: Garry Lough, Idaho director of customer services for ENA.