VanderSloot ups his ante to $1-million-plus in battle with teachers unions over Idaho ed propositions

Melaleuca CEO Frank Vandersloot's independent expenditures and contributions to Yes for Idaho Education and the Idaho Federation of Republican Women have now topped $1 million in the contest over Propositions 1, 2 and 3.

After two teachers unions, the Idaho Education Association ($280,000) and National Education Association ($1.06 million) reported spending through Sept. 30, VanderSloot vowed to do what he could to counter.

IEA's spending has reached about $385,000, with a report covering the period Oct. 1 to Oct. 21 due today. IEA on Monday added a $96,000 contribution to Idaho Republicans for Our Schools, which is chaired by IEA Vice President Rick Jones, a Republican. NEA spending has reached at least $1.8 million.

VanderSloot said in a three-page news release Tuesday afternoon that his contributions have topped $1 million, saying the opposition campaign has been dishonest.

Campaign finance reports are posted on Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa's website. To get the full scale of spending in the race, check three places: party committees, measure and miscellaneous committees and independent expenditures and electioneering communications. VanderSloot has made contributions from Melaleuca and Natural Guardian, a company he owns.

VanderSloot's news release follows:

Media Contact
Damond Watkins
208-201-5879 (mobile)
208-528-2011 (office)

Melaleuca Donates over $1 Million to Support Idaho’s Education Reform Laws,
Helps Level the Playing Field Against The Union

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Oct. 30, 2012 – Melaleuca has now contributed over $1 million to support the Students Come First education reform laws that will be on the November 6 ballot as Propositions 1, 2, and 3. Melaleuca’s donations have been used to broadcast television and radio spots and publish full-page newspaper advertisements across the state of Idaho.

Melaleuca significantly increased its financial involvement in the campaign a few weeks ago after learning that the National Education Association (NEA) union had bombarded Idaho airwaves by spending more than $1 million with the Vote No on Propositions 1,2,3 campaign through September. Discloser reports reveal the NEA and Idaho Education Association have funded virtually all of the Vote No campaign, which is now estimated to have surpassed $2 million with one week left to go.

“The national teachers Union has launched perhaps the most dishonest campaign in Idaho history,” said Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot. “We could not just stand by and let the NEA out of Washington, D.C. take over Idaho schools. I think to just look the other way would be morally wrong.” VanderSloot added, “They have spent millions paying for untruthful ads suggesting Props 1, 2, and 3 take away local control, are unfunded mandates, and will increase taxes, while the opposite is true. The propositions will actually put local school boards in control with more input from parents. And they will not cause any new taxes.

“But now the unions have stooped to new lows with an ad that claims to be paid by Idaho Republicans for our schools Pac. This group has nothing to do with the Republican Party. It is run by the vice president of the Idaho teachers union.

“The political funding from the NEA has already turned this into perhaps the most expensive campaign waged in Idaho history. The Union knows it will take a lot of money and a barrage of misinformation to turn voters against the school reform laws.”

VanderSloot explains his company’s involvement with education reform

“I was still in high school when Kitty Genovese was murdered in front of her New York City apartment in 1964. But the story of her death had a serious impact on me. Thirty-seven people had heard her cries for help while her attacker stabbed her dozens of times over a half-hour period. But not a single person came to her aid. The story became national news. The entire nation was in disbelief. Everyone was asking why no one stepped forward to help or even call the police. When the bystanders were interviewed, they had all kinds of excuses. “I thought someone else would do it.” “I didn’t know she was hurt that bad.” “I did not want to risk becoming involved.”

“Sandpoint, Idaho, where I grew up, is a long way from New York City. But Kitty Genovese’s story caused me to make some serious promises to myself as a young man. I did not ever want to be found guilty of what those New York City bystanders were guilty of. I vowed that if I were ever in a situation where someone was being hurt or treated unfairly, I would not be counted as a bystander. I had no idea how that promise would impact the rest of my life. Throughout the years, I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble trying to stay true to that commitment.

“Although my family lived far below the poverty line while I was growing up, my life has now been blessed with resources far beyond what I deserve. I often see situations where I can help. I’m especially drawn to situations where things are being done unfairly to someone else or where someone has an unfair advantage. If a mother doesn’t have the funds to file for divorce in an abusive situation, we will get involved. If someone is being attacked unfairly by the press, we will get involved. If someone with deep pockets is trying to buy an election, we will try to level the playing field.

“There is a lot of unfairness in the world. I certainly don’t believe that it is fair that my family has prospered so greatly while others are struggling. I have lived about two-thirds of my life struggling financially and about one-third of my life in prosperity. I prefer prosperity, but I believe a huge responsibility rests on those who have resources to use those resources fairly and responsibly to the benefit of society as a whole.

“It is no secret that the stranglehold the unions have had on our education system has done American schools a lot of damage. I was thrilled to learn two years ago that Governor Butch Otter and the Idaho Legislature had taken on the challenge of education reform in Idaho. Although the legislation they created is not perfect, it’s really good. Anyone who cares about children will be in favor of Propositions 1, 2 and 3. The new laws take control of our schools away from unions and place it in the hands of local school boards and parents. But, as expected, the NEA (the Washington, D.C. national teachers union) has decided to spend millions of dollars trying to undo the good work of Governor Otter and the Idaho Legislature. Neither the state of Idaho nor the school boards have any funds to fight the union. Local school boards against the deep pockets of the NEA is an unfair fight. That is why Melaleuca has decided to try to level the playing field. We don’t have nearly enough funds to match the national unions. But we can’t stand idly by.

“Many wanted to donate anonymously, but their funds have been tied up because of legal maneuverings. Their desire to stay anonymous is understandable. Many individuals and companies are afraid to fight the union, after all, and this has been a very vicious campaign. The unions have made personal threats to individuals and companies who support the legislation. They threatened our state senators and state representatives with their careers if they voted in favor of the legislation. Superintendent Tom Luna was threatened. His car was vandalized, his tires were slashed and his mother was accosted while she was at home. When I went to testify at the Senate hearings, union president Sheri Wood accosted me and threatened to call for a boycott on Melaleuca. Because of the personal risk that individuals or companies take when they speak out against the union, I don’t believe we should judge them for asking that their donations in support of Propositions 1, 2 and 3 not be disclosed. But someone had to take a stand to try to get accurate information out about the Propositions. Because the Propositions are so important to our children’s future, Melaleuca decided not to be a bystander.

“I have a great deal of respect for Idaho teachers. I had some wonderful teachers in my youth. Great teachers change lives! Some teachers have said that when people criticize the union, the union is really the teachers. I don’t believe that. The teachers I know are not dishonest. The teachers I know would never misrepresent the truth to the degree that the union ads do about the Propositions. The teachers I know would not be trying to misinform the public. Unfortunately, the teachers have been misinformed by their own union. Make no mistake. The teachers are not the union. In some ways, the teachers are victims of the union.

“We hope that people will not believe the union rhetoric about the Propositions. Neither should they take our word for what the Propositions do. People should study the Propositions for themselves. And when they do, we believe that anyone who cares about kids and cares about education will vote in favor of the Propositions. Propositions 1 and 2 are by far the most important. Proposition 1 has been endorsed by the Idaho School Boards Association. That’s because school boards simply cannot do their job without Proposition 1. Please study the Propositions in detail and vote as an educated voter.”
– Frank L. VanderSloot

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1351640228 VanderSloot ups his ante to $1-million-plus in battle with teachers unions over Idaho ed propositions Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wow, what a perspective!

He's been maligned pretty badly but this stuff seems about as genuine and personal as it gets.

I'm voting yes but not because of Vandersloot, Melaleuca, Luna, Otter or even the Republican party. I'm voting yes because I want my son to have an equal playing field when it comes to education. I know he's already more knowledgeable than I was at that age. I know he's destined for something great someday (or, I'd like to believe that).

Nothing against teachers but the union is the problem. The Boise School District master contract proves it beyond any doubt.

Time to put our students first. Time to vote YES on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!


I'm voting no because I know that voting yes will take away that future you desire for your child. I too have a child who was educated in the Boise Schools and now attends Cal Poly. By voting yes, you are voting to take away the opportunity for your child to receive the kind of education that will get him into a place like Cal Poly.

Don't cast your vote for my child's benefit

I don't need you stealing away my son's educational future in the name of some teachers' union.

Boise School District is the prime example of why voting Yes is the right thing to do.


-Teachers' don't pay their own union dues--taxpayers do.
-Teachers' union members get paid for union activities that have nothing to do with professional development or professional leave.
-The Boise Education Assn places it's priorities above those of students.

Literally, the union owns Boise School District. The education costs are among the highest in the state yet student achievement results are only incrementally better when compared to other school districts that spend much less.

Yep, I don't need the teachers' union stealing my money for it's worthless activities. I need the school district placing students first. BSD doesn't do that. BSD places the teachers' union ahead of students' needs.

Read the master contract and learn from it. Try searching online for it. You won't find it!

Still voting YES on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!


I've read everything you've had to say on this subject, this is the first time you've mentioned a son that I have seen, I've listened, looked and read everything I can find on it. To me it always comes down to one specific point. Tom Luna lied to you, I and us collectively and he has continued to do it to pursue his own political agenda. If we need change I'm all for it but not at the direction or discretion of politicians. Any changes should be addressed collectively by those involved, educators and parents, and put before the folks of the State (sans politicians) for approval. I'll go along with you that way but not with Luna or any other politician involved. LUNA IS NOT AN EDUCATOR. (sorry for the caps)

I've mentioned my son often...

...but it's usually in response to the "how much are they paying you to post comments" crowd.

What I find rather crazy about this whole debate is people are overlooking the fact that education does need reformed. Costs are skyrocketing while results are slipping. Our students are the losers.

You might not agree with Tom Luna but you have to admit, we've never had this intense of a debate over our public education system in this State for a long time. If nothing more, the SCF laws have brought all of it to the forefront.

I really don't care whether or not he's a career educator or politician. Are the SCF laws beneficial? I find the answer to be yes.

Nothing wrong with disagreeing but you should see some of the comments from the union crowd, "Why do you HATE children?", "Why do you HATE teachers?", "Why do you HATE education?", and so on.

Claiming Luna has never been in a classroom is just ridiculous even you have to realize that much. Besides, when it comes to education reform, I'd rather see someone unafraid to ruffle a few feathers to get it accomplished versus years and years of delays (which appears to be the IEA and NEA's goal).

The best example is how the IEA supported pay-for-performance before they were against it. After awhile, I realize they'll say anything--no matter how far-fetched--to convince someone to vote no.

I'm voting Yes on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!


So I haven't seen mention of the youngun cuz I jump over most of the hate/ignorant comments. Understand where you're coming from and your rational but still the over riding fact to me is I won't be lied to. As far as a few ruffled feathers...that's an understatement and the yes backers are every bit as bad about saying whatever they think will further their agenda. I'm voting against Pierce, Denney, Boyle and the Props. I'm as conservative as you can get but not a radical. See ya on the threads.

Here's the best point

" I won't be lied to." No matter where you stand on an issue, refusing to either be lied to, nor willing to go along with lies favoring your position, is the mark of a decent man. Today, Chris Christie gave due credit to President Obama. That may be contrary to "party policy" but demonstrates Governor Christie stands above many of his contemporaries. Congratulations on your principled statement.

Well, here's a lie you should avoid...

Consider the vote "No" campaign's recent ads:

The person identified as "Jennifer, Art Teacher" states: "Props 1, 2 & 3 mandate that taxpayers pay for expensive laptops for students".

Yet, Props 1 & 2 have nothing to do with laptops or technology in the classroom!!!

Clearly, the ads contain outright lies intended to deceive voters into voting against all three props.

If you cast your vote based solely upon whether or not you were lied to then you're blindly overlooking the union-funded lies spread by teachers in these ads. They started spreading the lies from the get-go. For example: "Laptops are replacing teachers." No Idaho teacher has been fired for nor replaced by a laptop. No facts exist to demonstrate there is any truth to their statement. They simply threw the claim out there hoping it would stick.

Either "Jennifer, Art Teacher" is an idiot that never read props 1 and 2 or she's simply echoing the lies her union boss told her. One has to wonder why the teachers' union opposes SCF laws with such vigor when they supported pay-for-performance in the past (Prop 2) even working collaboratively with the SBOE?

Lies from the teachers' union? Are those lies intended to deceive voters? You bet they are!!! Now you know where I'm coming from....

"Some teachers have said that when people criticize the union, the union is really the teachers. I don’t believe that. The teachers I know are not dishonest. The teachers I know would never misrepresent the truth to the degree that the union ads do about the Propositions. The teachers I know would not be trying to misinform the public. Unfortunately, the teachers have been misinformed by their own union. Make no mistake. The teachers are not the union. In some ways, the teachers are victims of the union."

Vote YES on Props 3, 2 & 1!!!

Victims of the Union?

A few maybe but not the hundreds of Teachers that are against all 3 propositions. The IEA and NEA leadership is democratically elected by the members. Leaders are current or retired Teachers. The "Union Boss" that you hold in such disdain does not exist. There is more democracy in a Union than in a selection of a CEO.

Vote NO NO NO.

Putin & Chavez

Were "democratically" elected too

Chavez doesn't have a 'fan club'...

Try this! Turn Safe Search off, use Images and type the first word in the band's name...

For the first time in YEARS hardly any of the expected images come up.


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

When that student drops that

When that student drops that $1100 laptop on the hardtop, who gets to pay for the replacement/repair of that laptop? You have noticed the price tag for that magical HP contract, right? Three times the estimate of two years ago!

Already VOTED NO x 3!!


You must be a Democrat voting 3 times... ( I know what you meant, just had to have a little fun)

Buy better food for them kids! Better yet, BAG THAT TOO!


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Bringing Education to the forefront

And agree that we Idahoans will benefit from the discussion only if more parents are involved. To me, that is the missing piece. With families needing two incomes the kids are not getting enough guidance nor are the expectations set high enough that they will do well in school, go to college etc.

I agree, Education Needs to be Reformed. I just hope more parents will do their part by checking homework, attendance, on line activity and support recreation, arts, group participation and oh yes, diet.

Please do. Somebody in Idaho has to.


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

and the for profit education

industry owns Luna....I will take teachers any day...over a large for profit corporation

Vote NO, NO and NO . . .

on Props 1, 2 and 3. Don't fall for the likes of snake-oil salesman Frank Vandersloot's attempts bully with his enormous checkbook. He has shown his true colors again and again (and again) with his propagandized full-page ads full of lies, insults and deceit.

Nothing against the teachers, indeed. You (and your invisible son) are precious.

Yes, Yes, and Yes

So let me get this correct. The unions have spent $1.2 million on their effort, but when Frank Vandersloot joins the the effort of his choice, he is a bully. Your Boise education is showing.

Classic response!!! Love it!!!

Your Boise education is showing! :)

Vote YES on Props 1, 3 & 2!!!

We liked it better when you were goofy. Repent!~


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<


Your son stands little chance with a dad like you.

I'm 10 times the father you'll ever be...

Thanks for affirming what I already knew: The SCF opposition can't stick to the issues. They have to either resort to personal attacks or name-calling.

For example, how would you like it if I said, "Frankly, Spencebert, you're obviously a product of weak sperm."

See how easy that is?

Vote Yes on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!

So you can beat up all the other Dads?


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

VanderSloot....Thnaks for looking out for the

smaller guy....'
Things are tough and I haer of a QE3 of more printing....

Teachers, you have a good profession and have done well; but times do change and the O machine is doing nothing....

Enjoy what we have; it is now gone....

Everybody should know

unions look out for the smaller guy. That is why they call them unions. They are a goup of smaller guys who have hired representation for themselves, which they can only afford by banding together. It is a simple concept.

Administration looks out for administrative bosses and their interests. Frank is an administrator, and administrators tend to be big guys who don't want smaller guys to have any say so. Administrators probably don't want to listen to parents or students either, if it is inconvenient to their motives. Simple concept, but seemingly hard for some to grasp.


A 1 percenter talking about strangleholds.

Leave that to Ted Nugent.


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Nice try VanderSloot.

You have chosen to align yourself with one of the most sleazy, secretive and corrupt political fiascos to hit Idaho in decades, maybe ever. One can only assume that you disagree with the Idaho Secretary of State and Judge Wetherell and side with the group that contributed $200,000+, to your cause, but doesn't have the balls to disclose who they are.
Take you sob story to some of your cronies and quit trying to snowball the people of Idaho, that can see through your B.S.

Overly dramatic and full of it

Let him spend his money. I find it interesting that he pretends to be the victim while accusing union members of actions that he has no proof of. Doesn't matter. All that money is going to waste. If he really wanted to help education he would donate to the schools to purchase supplies, books and other items. It's more fun to spread his hate and pretend like he's been victimized. I call BS on you Vandersloot. Your tears are crocodile tears.

So the unions are terrible for spending $1 million but

Vandersloot is a white-knight sent here to defend the reforms with his $1 million? Interesting. So the union that has almost zero political clout in Idaho is the demon? If the union was so powerful, how did the Luna Laws pass in the first place?

Well said Frank........

The teacher's union always fights change. More parental and local district involvement is a good thing. The union hides behind the kids and tries to scare the parents with their lame ads. Your elected representatives passed this legislation and I agree it levels the playing field especially for rural districts. I work in a large company and laptops/iPADS/iPhones are in the work environment to stay and the kids need experience with working remotely. Especially for kid's parents who can't afford a laptop and internet connection this really helps them. Lame ads showing a kid spilling a soda on the laptop or having it fall out of a locker is pretty simplistic and is insulting to most kids and parents intelligence. I'm voting yes on all three props.

Excellent. I'm voting yes

Excellent. I'm voting yes also.

Clearly you've not walked a

Clearly you've not walked a school hallway lately.

Already Voted NO x 3!!

I not only have walked a

I not only have walked a school hallway lately but volunteer in the school. I readily and overwhelming support YES on all.

Then you should notice how

Then you should notice how kids take "great care" with other's property! If you think it's a great idea for teenagers to carry around a $1,100 rented laptop, then you should vote yes.

I already VOTED NO x 3!

When the students start paying dues

the Teachers Unions will start taking an interest in the students. Good and great teachers do not need Unions they need to be allowed to do their jobs without interference from extortionate Liberal Left Wing and Socialist Unions.

Never, ever been interfered

Never, ever been interfered with by a union. Not an influence in the classroom.

Nice! In other words, the union adds no value to teaching...

which is what I've been saying all along. The teachers' union doesn't exist for the benefit of students. They exist to dominate school boards, collect dues and engage in political advocacy.

Vote Yes on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!

Thats not what he said

He said they had never interfered. He didn't say that they hadn't done anything to provide a better learning environment.You've gotten good at twisting words and making stuff up. You're such a good little Yes follower. You're as full of it as Vandersloot.

IEA adds no value to our students whatsoever

"Not an influence in the classroom" means what? It means the union adds nothing to teaching.

Vote YES on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!

Now I know who you are!

Now I know who you are! You're Glenn Beck! A master at twisting facts to fit that personal, paranoid agenda. My POINT is that the union DOES NOT effect the curriculum of any school subject, nor does it tell me what or how to teach. That comes from working with the School District directors of curriculum. The union is there to make sure that teachers are treated fairly in the workplace. I know you won't agree with this, but I've stated it before: public educators can be vulnerable to the whims of the patrons, school board officials, administrators,and especially to the unpredictability of teenagers making false accusations against teachers. Unions provide protection from such occurences. We have legal recourse, which I'm sure you will agree, is everyone's right.
Furthermore, unions have been instrumental in helping teachers negotiate to keep class sizes down....YES, IT MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE, seeing that teachers have time to plan and collaborate, thereby giving us a life outside the classroom, making sure that teachers are not unfairly treated with extra duties being imposed on us from above thus adding to an already packed day in the classroom. In other words, it helps teachers feel good about going to work everyday knowing they will be treated with respect and fairness by our superiors, or from the arbitrary whims of some patron with a kid that got a B instead of an A in a class. And guess what?? It helps us be better teachers!! If we're better teachers, students are getting a better education.
And of course, you've argued that the IEA doesn't fire teachers. Duh. Of course they don't. Administrators do that, if a teacher is evaluated and for some reason can't improve on how they teach. Happens all the time, whether you believe it or not.
I've just laid it all out to a brick wall, but I'm an optimist and think that'll get it.


You being a Liberal, I don't understand why you give out grades... are you not worried that you may do harm to a child by giving him/her/it a lower grade than another student? Should they not all be equal? Imagine the harm you are doing to the self esteem of these non-A students... Do you ever consider that the A students will eventually be Republicans when they figure out their success in life is being demonized and that they need to now support the lesser students whose careers have not went so well....

Oooooh, good one! RAD count

Oooooh, good one! RAD count a little high today?

The White Rabbit went down THAT hole, hurry, DO!


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<


And they also do not need Right Wing leg. slammed down their throat from a person who has never been in a classroom. Change needs to be brought about by both sides.

From a husband of a North Idaho, Christian, Conservative Republican, Anti Union 1st grade teacher.

You might

want to read the contract that HP made with the state. Betsy Russell spells it out pretty plainly.
Dan, you would do your readers a great service if you provided a link to the contract.
What a sweetheart deal for HP, that is only leasing the computers to Idaho.

I said it once so I guess

I said it once so I guess I'll say it again. Let the yes voters pay for this. They want it? They pay for it. Please don't saddle me with the cost if it turns out to be a failed concept. If successful I will fully support it with all of my heart and cash.
It seems to me that the yes folks can pool their money and supply laptops to prove their point.

Frankie the snake

I can't believe a word this snake oil salesman says. He wouldn't know the truth if it bit him on the .... well you know where. How do I know this, I worked for the snake once and he never said what he meant.


Exactly what do you teach? Lies 101? calling one of this states rags to riches success stories a snake oil salesman just shows how inept and inane you are... Envy is not a good trait and you show it well. I feel sorry for you and any of your students, especially if they have the gall to oppose you on any issue.....sad, really...