Idaho state Superintendent Tom Luna, who took office New Year’s Day, has fired 19 staff members of the Idaho Department of Education, and another five, including outgoing schools chief Marilyn Howard, have resigned. The 24 departing employees represented about 18 percent of the department’s 133-person roster.
According to the department, the shift was part of Mr. Luna’s reorganization of the office into five bureaus, each with its own deputy superintendent. Most of the vacant positions have been filled, said Chief of Staff Luci Willits.
“This is just a normal part of any transition,” Ms. Willits said, noting that Idaho has been undergoing many changes recently, including a new governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter.
Last month, the department was under some scrutiny when Ms. Howard awarded merit bonuses to almost all of the staff shortly before her retirement (“Bonuses Prompt Backlash in Idaho,” Dec. 20, 2006.)
A version of this article appeared in the January 10, 2007 edition of Education Week