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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Idaho graduates don’t need to pass science test

BOISE – Idaho is scrapping a rule that would have required high school students to pass standardized tests in science before they graduate, starting with the class of 2013. Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said science classes vary from district to district and students are only tested twice – in the fifth and seventh grades – before they are tested by the state in the 10th grade.

Luna may dip into reserves

BOISE – Idaho state schools Superintendent Tom Luna on Thursday proposed dipping into state reserves for nearly $53 million to help balance next year’s school budget – a proposal that surprised and pleased lawmakers who are facing the prospect of making big cuts in education. “I give him credit for coming up with it,” said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. “Those are the kind of ideas we need in order to balance this budget.”

Federal court nails four for passing phony bills

BOISE – Four counterfeiters have been nailed in federal court in Boise, all for making or passing fake $100 bills in Idaho. One of them, Brian Mercier, 34, of Salt Lake City, pled guilty this past week to counterfeiting; he’ll be sentenced in November. Mercier turned $5 bills into fake hundred-dollar bills by bleaching them and then re-printing them. He brought the counterfeit hundreds from Utah to Idaho in January and passed a number of them at Idaho businesses.

Online program connects Idaho students, NASA

BOISE – Bright, advanced Idaho high school juniors can now compete to get into a new online science and math course offered in partnership with NASA – in part by impressing a local state legislator. “We would like to get state lawmakers involved in this, in endorsing students from their legislative district,” said Idaho Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath.

Luna says he’ll try to lower majority

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna wants to eliminate a constitutional mandate requiring school districts to secure a two-thirds majority of voters in bond elections to raise money for facilities. Luna says the first piece of legislation he will introduce during the next legislative session would lower the majority requirement from 66 percent of voters to 60 percent. School districts could previously choose any date for a levy or bond election. Lawmakers changed that in the 2009 Legislature, limiting districts to four dates a year beginning in 2011.

Idaho schools chief proposes cuts

BOISE – Idaho’s top education official Thursday proposed $62 million in funding cuts for public schools next year, slicing into everything from teacher pay to administration to building maintenance.