Jerry Evans: Idaho kids deserve better than Propositions 1, 2 and 3

Propositions 1, 2 and 3 — the Students Come First education laws — undermine school boards' control and will funnel money into the coffers of "unaccountable" for-profit online education vendors, says Jerry Evans, a Republican who spent 16 years as Idaho's superintendent of public instruction.

Evans was state superintendent from 1979 to 1995.

Here's an excerpt of Evans' guest opinion:

Garden City mayor: It makes no sense to 'destroy' nature path

Converting 1 1/2 miles of walking path to a bicycle path is unnecessary, costly — and would compromise a rare amenity, Garden City Mayor John Evans said.

Evans submitted a rebuttal to our editorial endorsing Garden City's Initiative A, which would open the city's "nature path" to cycling.

Here's an excerpt:

The legislative money race: some fun with numbers

One of the strange voyeuristic pleasures of election season comes from reading campaign finance reports.

Let’s hit some highlights and some oddities in the local legislative races, by the numbers:

$87,443.72: Do you think West Boise’s District 15 is a battleground, or what? This is the eye-popping total Democrat Betty Richardson has raised for her Senate race, through Sept. 30.

Donna Jones' exit from public service

Donna Jones’ three-decade career in public service ended abruptly Monday, as the state controller retired midterm, four months after suffering a broken neck in a May 25 rollover accident.

Facing a two-year recovery, the 73-year-old Jones made the right call. She stepped aside from her $93,756-a-year job; her former chief of staff, Brandon Woolf, will continue on as controller for the remaining two years of her term.

'Idaho shouldn't dally:' Business group pushes for health exchange

With a key deadline exactly one month away, a state business group today stepped up the campaign for Idaho to create its own health insurance exchange.

The Idaho Health Exchange Alliance urged the state to create its own exchange — an online marketplace where individuals and businesses can shop for insurance.

“Idaho shouldn’t dally in building a health insurance exchange, especially when we know doing it ourselves will keep the federal government out of our business,” said Scott Gipson, president of Caxton Printers Ltd. in Caldwell.

Thomas Howell pledges to bring true change to Ada County commission

It's also rebuttal season, as candidates begin responding to Statesman endorsement editorials.

First out of the gate is Thomas Howell, a Democrat running for Ada County commissioner. Howell touts his experience in health care — and says he will push for "true change" in courthouse politics.

An excerpt:

On the Students Come First fundraising front ...

Two quick tidbits from our editorial board meeting this afternoon with state schools superintendent Tom Luna and Yes for Idaho campaign head Ken Burgess.

• Luna says he knows nothing about the $200,000 donated to Parents for Education Reform, another of the groups contributing to the campaign to uphold Luna's Students Come First K-12 overhaul. The money came from a group called Education Voters of Idaho, but the donor or donors to the group remain a mystery.

Luna said he doesn't know the identity of the donors. "I don't even know how many of them there are."

Idaho politics: Teacher, former GOP lawmaker, rips Students Come First

If Idaho voters want to know the true effects of state superintendent Tom Luna's Students Come First education overhaul, they should ask teachers.

That's the assessment of one 20-year teacher, Mark Snodgrass, a Meridian Republican who served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 2002 to 2008.

Here's an excerpt of his guest opinion:

"Who is better to determine what is in the best interest of your children?

New Plymouth schools chief: Prop 2 give teachers 'skin in the game'

Throughout the debate over Proposition 2 — the teacher merit pay law — the New Plymouth School District has emerged as the proponents' poster child.

In a guest opinion, superintendent Ryan Kerby credits his districts pay for performance plan with helping to improve student scores on reading and standardized tests.

Students Come First: Outspent Idaho GOP plays the victim

Those poor Idaho Republicans.

They’re not used to getting crazy outspent in a high-profile election. That happens to other people. (I’m looking at you, Idaho Democrats.)

But I must give those poor, destitute, desperate Idaho Republicans their due. Faced with a rare opportunity to play the woe-is-us angle, they rallied nicely and almost seemed to savor the moment.

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