[Vision2020] Otter to Fight School Referendum
thansen at moscow.com
Thu Jun 2 08:19:52 PDT 2011
Courtesy of today's (June 2, 2011) Spokesman-Review.
Otter to fight school referendum
Signatures on petitions exceed required number
BOISE Idaho Gov. Butch Otter vowed Wednesday to personally campaign
against the voter referendum to overturn this years school reform
legislation, even as the tally of Idahoans signing petitions to place the
measures on the ballot hit the 65,000 mark nearly 20,000 more than the
Thats the peoples right thats what being part of a republic is all
about, Otter said. He added, Were going to do our level best to make
sure that the correct information gets out.
Three controversial school reform bills passed this year, pushed by Otter
and state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna, remove most collective
bargaining rights from teachers, impose a merit-pay bonus system, and
shift funds from teacher salaries to technology and online learning.
Otter and Luna maintain that the plan, dubbed Students Come First, will
bring needed changes to Idahos education system at a time when funding
has been cut. I think its important that after 40 years of the same
system, we really do need the reform, Otter said.
Opponents needed 47,432 verified signatures to force a vote on each bill;
with all three well above that mark, its virtually assured that theyll
be on the November 2012 ballot.
If they are, said Otter, I hope they fail.
Mike Lanza, a Boise parent and chairman of Idahoans for Responsible
Education Reform, said: The governor has made it clear from the start
that hes a supporter of Superintendent Lunas plan. He did not seem to be
very concerned at all about the enormous public outcry against the plan
when it was in the Legislature, so we believe that the governor is simply
out of touch with public opinion on this one.
The signature count wont be official until next week, when supporters
present verified petitions to the Idaho Secretary of States office on
Monday, the deadline.
But with the states new voter registration database, the Secretary of
States office is able to track how many signatures have been verified by
Idahos county clerks, and as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, those numbers were
65,088 for SB 1108, the teacher contracts bill; 65,252 for SB 1110, the
merit pay bill; and 63,744 for SB 1184, the technology bill.
Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa predicted, These will be Proposition
1, 2 and 3 on the November 2012 ballot.
Lanza said the parent group is continuing to gather signatures because we
know that many Idahoans still want to sign the three petitions.
Idaho has had numerous initiatives make the ballot before, but only four
referendums. We certainly have never had three on one day, Ysursa said.
Thats whats obviously kind of unique about this.
Ysursa said opponents of the measures can challenge signatures in court,
but all will have been verified already by county clerks. These numbers
are more than 10,000 over what was needed its pretty solid that theyre
going to be on (the ballot).
Seeya round town, Moscow.
"The Pessimist complains about the wind, the Optimist expects it to change
and the Realist adjusts his sails."
- Author Unknown
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