Idaho Schools Superintendent Won’t Face Recall

By Sean Cavanagh — June 28, 2011 1 min read
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Tom Luna’s name will not appear on the 2012 ballot in Idaho. Not that he ever wanted it there.

Luna, a Republican who was re-elected as Idaho’s superintendent of public instruction last fall, was the subject of a recall effort led by those upset about his support for a series of recently enacted laws that weakened collective bargaining and job protections for teachers and changed how they were evaluated and paid.

But leaders of the recall effort failed to collect enough signatures to have his name placed on the ballot in 2012, according to the office of the Idaho Secretary of State. November of next year was the soonest date a recall election could have occurred, under Idaho law.

“Opponents of the laws have tried to make it personal,” Luna said in a statement. “Reforming education has never been about me. It’s about giving our students more opportunities. Our focus and priority has been and will continue to be implementation of the laws.”

The changes Idaho made to collective bargaining, tenure, performance pay and other areas rivaled those of any state in the country, in terms of their broad scope. And as was the case in other states, Idaho’s laws outraged many teachers, who unsuccessfully fought the proposals as they moved through the Republican-led legislature and were signed by GOP Gov. C.L. Otter.

Luna was the subject of an unusual barrage of criticism during the debate. His opponents hecked him in public and apparently slashed the tires on his truck.

But while Luna’s name won’t go on the ballot, his policies will. Critics of the three education laws backed by the state superintendent were successful in gathering enough signatures to place referenda before voters next year, asking them to vote on whether those statutes should be overturned. So over the next 16 months, Idaho residents will have a lot to consider, when it comes to school policy.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.