BOISE – 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 leader 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 distinctions the Boise district has earned for student achievement. Boise High School long has 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.
However, its per-pupil spending, while above the state average, ranks just 58th out of Idaho’s 159 Idaho school districts and charter schools.
The district’s voters also have been supportive, voting in March 2012 to raise their property taxes by $14 million a year for five years to offset drops in state funding and other impacts of the economic downturn.
Balukoff has served on the Boise School Board – an unpaid, elected position – for 17 years.
For the past six years, until two weeks ago, he was the board’s president.
He opted to step down from the presidency because of his run for governor, but remains on the board.
The ad is running statewide, including in the Spokane broadcast TV market.
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