Idaho education campaigns top $6 million, besting $4 million record set in 1986

The 2012 campaigns for and against Propositions 1, 2 and 3 have busted the Idaho record for spending on ballot measures, with opponents having raised about $3.6 million and proponents about $2.6 million.

The standard was set in 1986 when 54 percent of voters affirmed the Legislature's passage of the Right to Work law, which bars union membership as a condition of employment. Unions spent $2.8 million attempting to overturn the law, proponents defended the measure with $1.167 million.

While that doesn't account for 26 years of inflation, we're not finished in the battle between teachers unions and much of Idaho's GOP establishment and national supporters of school reform. Expect the airwaves to be chock-full of ads through Tuesday's vote.

Late Wednesday, I spoke with Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melalueca and the big bankroller of Props 1, 2 and 3, who has vowed to counter union money. Said the Idaho Falls billionaire: "I'm not done yet."

VanderSloot's contributions total $1,443,576.

Wednesday afternoon, the Idaho Education Association (IEA) reported a new $100,000 contribution to fight the laws passed by the 2011 Legislature. Last week, after the 7-day pre-primary reporting period closed, the National Education Association (NEA) reported a $740,000 contribution. The teachers unions say the money comes member dues, which fall below the $500 annual threshold for reporting of individual contributors by a non-business entity under Idaho's Sunshine law.

A clear calculation of fundraising to date was made possible by Wednesday's court-ordered filing of Sunshine reports by Education Voters of Idaho, which has raised $641,160, including $250,000 from Albertson's heir Joe Scott and $200,000 from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

This morning, I took a breath and broke down the fundraising and spending by both sides. I read all the reports, including newly filed 48-hour notices.

In short, opponents of the laws authored by School Superintendent Tom Luna and backed by Gov. Butch Otter have raised $3,563,225, all but 4 percent of that coming from the NEA and IEA. NEA has spent $2,814,636, IEA $600,529. Other sources have contributed $148,060.

Most of the opposition dough has gone to the Vote No on Propositions 1, 2, 3 political action committee. But $105,098 was raised by Idaho Republicans for Our Schools, which is wholly funded by IEA. IEA Vice President Rick Jones, a Republican, chairs that PAC.

It's more complicated on the "Yes" side.

The leading outfit is Yes for Idaho Education, which has raised $985,474. Of that, VanderSloot contributed $604,000 and his former Melaleuca colleague Allen Ball gave $150,000.

Next comes Education Voters of Idaho, with that $641,160.

The Idaho Federation of Republican Women raised $428,000, all of that coming from VanderSloot. Melaleuca gave all but $20,000 of the money contributed to the GOP women; another VanderSloot company, Natural Guardian, gave $20,000.

On top of his contributions to the committees, VanderSloot's two companies have reported $411,576 in independent expenditures, principally for newspaper, TV and radio ads.

Parents for Education Reform, an affiliate of Education Voters of Idaho (EVI), has raised a net $150,000. That net figure subtracts $200,350 raised by EVI and transferred to Parents for Education Reform. The $150,000 came from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($50,000), where VanderSloot is a board member, and Students First ($100,000), a Sacramento-based reform group led by former Washington, D.C., School Superintendent Michelle Rhee.

Retiring Rep. Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, chipped in with an independent expenditure of $250.

Grand total for proponents of "Students Come First:" $2,616,460.

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Jeez, its all about the

Jeez, its all about the money. Instead of concentrating on the issue: quality education in Idaho. Should there even be a price tag or consideration on the amount of funding supporting improving education in Idaho. I find it shameful that the rhetoric is centered on whose going to make a buck instead of centering on improving education. The mindset spewed is saying to heck with the quality of education if someone is going to make a buck. Surprise, I gotta tell you, someone always makes a buck.

So if you're more concerned about money you're just saying Idaho's education for its students is not worth it.

Quite frankly, Idaho students are worth it. Worth every stinking penny of it.

Vote YES, YES, and YES.

Hmm, well all the Republican

Hmm, well all the Republican state legislators backing the Yes campaign seemed to be worried about spending money on education as they keep slashing the public schools budget. These legislators think it's OK to buy $1200 laptops but not to hire more teachers so cla$$ sizes will go down. Maybe you should talk to your friends on the Yes side before advocating more spending on schools, none of them would agree with you.

America has Donald Trump...

....Idaho has Frank Vandersloot.

Someone needs to look into this assertion:

Page 140 of the contract for laptops states that HP is building the machines with 2GB of RAM. On page 81 that they propose to install Windows 7 Professional which is a 64 bit OS. Minimum system requirements for that OS = 2MB of RAM. SO - the machines out of the box will basically be able to run the OS and have no memory left to run apps.

Is this true? If so, this is going to cost a lot more than we're being sold...

GB? MB? Which witch twitches from the switch?

2 MEGABYTES is pretty poor for a 8088 PC : )


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Pendleton, my friends agree

Pendleton, my friends agree with YES because they are educated and knowledgeable about the benefits of computers in the classroom. They and I will willing pay more in taxes if necessary to accomplish such. And you need to check your rhetoric about the cost. It is without merit and displays your misunderstanding of the economics of computers in the classroom.


Narrow argument for you to support this shameful legislation. The State is and has been cutting the Ed budget for since yes it is about the money. Why is this a partisan issue. Why is our tax dollars going out of state. Who benefits and why. Why were the laptops at 40 million when this piece of legislation proposed and now we are at 180 million. Read between the lines, this is not cutting cost, no proven studies that this will increase scores, who will make money on this and why????

If you care so much about the students, then you would vote NO, NO, NO.

Get your facts straight.

Ridiculous and narrow argument for opposing this excellent legislation.

The State's tax revenue has been declining since 2006 so yes, it is about the money. The State Constitution mandates a balanced budget. Declining revenue means cutbacks in spending.

Why are outside teachers' unions fighting education reform? Why were the laptops initially projected at over $70 million with the open understanding that was a conservative estimate?

Incidentally, until the SBOE began negotiations for those laptops, the best they could do is estimate, correct?

VOTE YES on PROPS 1, 2 & 3!!!


In the private sector, if your actual cost is double your forecast, you likely lose your job.

So Funny. See Tom8tors comment about the secret contributor M3

So Funny. See Tom8tors comment abou the secret contributor M3 7 months ago.....

Read more here: I understand where the "Spring" in Spring Valley comes from.
M3: "We're not going to 'spring' for it!"

Read more here:

I'll vote for cheaper bacon!


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

Now you's all about union control...

Odd the two most expensive campaigns in Idaho involved union control. Now you know why the NEA paid signature collectors to get this on the ballot.

Education reform is long overdue yet the union fights it at every turn. They'll do anything to preserve the status quo.

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


Voted no.

Thank you.

Your vote for the support of Idaho schools is appreciated.


I will not vote yes as I will be voting NO, NO, NO.

Vote NO on Props 1, 2 & 3!!!

Sorry M8r, I care about the students, teachers and the quality of Education.

You care about partisan BS.


Do you really think there is union control of education in Idaho? Only a dolt could believe such a fantasy.

I feel sorry for you.

Consumed by hate, can you imagine what would happen to your world if, for one second, you realized how foolishly and sadly wrong you are? Your reposting of factless lies day after day does not make them any more true now than the same methods successfully did in 1930's Germany.

I Agree

The methods used by the unions and the Nazi's are exactly the same. Inducing fear, intimidation, hate mongering, attacking dissenters and criminality run amock are the hallmarks of both.

How about one example....

of criminality by the teachers? As I said before, repeating lies does not make them factual. Those teachers send a chill down my spine with their intimidation and hate mongering. Just glad I don't have to live in your sad world.

And when has the No campaign

And when has the No campaign done any of these? Your hyperbole makes you look REALLY STUPID and REALLY HATEFUL.

What a despicable post

Are you so ignorant you know nothing of the reality of Nazism? The people you are calling Nazis are Idaho school teachers. I seriously doubt any of them have run concentration camps, murdered Jews, communists, gays and trade unionists. Besides being libelous and despicable your use of the term trivializes the atrocities of the Nazi regime, not to mention your moronic accusations are untrue. If you had any integrity and decency you would apologize but I won't hold my breath.


Not Nazi's, but, the democrats and their union masters are using the teachers to indoctrinate the children just as the Nazi's did in Germany in the 1930's....Obama and his cronies use the same mantra as an infamous Nazi: Tell a lie big enough and often enough and the people will believe it.

OOO! oooo!

I invoke Godwin's Law! You lost! Argumentum ad Hitlerum.

Thank you, Mister Horschack.


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

It's Already in the Bag.

So, when all Props are soundly defeated with NO, NO and NO, as will become very evident early on in election result tallies, we can all hug ourselves tight, knowing that the likes of TowM8r, EagleWing, etc, etc., ad naseum, will become but a faint memory - the kind of memory you have of throwing up all night, but to wake to a more settled stomach, hope for the future and a song in your heart.

This will be my last pre-election post, as I am planning to spend these last few days talking to people, encouraging them (and driving them, if need be) to vote, and continuing to spread the word that good will prevail, our teachers will have been vindicated, and multi-billionaires will not buy the votes of the fine citizens of the state I was born in and love.

Cheers -


P.S. Vote NO on Props 1, 2 and 3! :)


When you're full of crap, it's probably not something you want people to see. Transparency would be ugly!

How much were Idaho Legislators paid?

Not concerned at all with paid signature gatherers; very concerned with Idaho Legislators paid last session to ram through the bad legislation that is called “education reform.”

How much money did For-profit education companies Apollo Group/University of Phoenix, K-12 Corporation, etc pay Idaho Legislators the past two sessions?

Why did Nonini deep-six the Cronin legislation that would have created transparency, protected Idaho Citizens from bad actors in the troubled For-profit education industry? Why did my Party deep-six Ethics Legislation?

Foster and Fields and the pro prop 1, 2, 3 crowd question Ben Ysursa’s integrity for standing for Idaho citizens specific to Sunshine Laws. Another disconnect between the pro-props crowd and Idaho Citizens.

Parents, Teachers, Students, and yes, even the teachers Union earned our trust.
Lobbyists, Legislators, and the trouble For-profit education industry did not.

Abramoff: "Fire up the jet baby, we're going to El Paso!!" Mike Scanlon: "I want all their MONEY!!!" Email interchange between Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon, February 6, 2002

Already voted no on props 1, 2, and 3.

I am a triple no conservative...

I've been raising children for 33 years and still have two in public schools. All of my others have graduated and are either getting or are done with secondary education. I know good and bad education plans when I see them.

These laws were developed without the input of a single 'boots on the ground' stake holder. They limit bargaining on things that matter, grossly overspend for junk laptops and duplicate programs that exist. As a former Republican I am disgusted to see control taken by the State while funding gets pushed down to the local level.

I hope to see a 'no' victory with a big frickin R next to it. Give back our party or take a walk...

Of course

Yes, of course they were because none of these laws are based on actually improving education. They are about control and profit.

Axe to grind or...

Frank is putting in so much money...nearly $2,000,000.00! Imagine putting that much of your own money into something. Does he blame public education for some possible failure by one or more of his children? Is there an axe to grind with some particular teacher? Or does he stand to gain financially from his investment? Is there something more? Does he hope to gain some control of education by way of his investment? We all know he hates teachers...what he doesn't say is why. So I'm asking: Frank, why do you hate teachers?


He hates corruption (Unions).. Unions once had a place in our country, but, now they are the dredge of society...not so much the private sector/craft workers, but Public Service Unions are stealing money from every American...

Do you mean to say DREGS? RNT U DGN A HOL 4 URSLF?

Dredge :)


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

I think it shows you all have been bored as crap for 26 years!


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<

My big Pioneer CD changer is on RANDOM and it's NICE...

Have PHUN with the coronaries, kids/

PS Billy McConnelly's Route 66 special is repeating on the IdahoPTV PLUS channel as well.


Celebrating five years and one screen ID >|<