A group fighting in favor of Idaho’s controversial Students Come First laws has released its secret list of donors, and it includes some surprises.
Probably the most surprising name on Education Voters of Idaho’s list is that of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. He gave $200,000 in support of Propositions 1, 2, and 3.
Another major out-of-state donor is Foster Friess, who gave $50,000. Friess is a prominent backer of conservative candidates and causes, perhaps best known for his support of former Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum.
The most notable in-state donor is Joseph Scott, an Albertsons’ heir who has reportedly made millions by investing in online education. Scott contributed $250,000. Simplot, Coeur d’Alene-based Hagadone Hospitality, and businessman Larry Williams are also on the list.
Education Voters of Idaho filed its financial disclosure report only after Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa filed a lawsuit last week. A district court judge found in Ysursa’s favor on Monday, and the group said Tuesday that it would not contest the ruling.
Education Voters of Idaho is working to keep the Students Come First laws in place. The Idaho Legislature passed the package of education laws in 2011. The laws do many things, but they are known chiefly as measures that limit teachers’ bargaining rights, institute pay-for-performance, and fund a technological overhaul of Idaho classrooms.
The laws will be put to a vote next Tuesday, November 6. They’re addressed on the ballot by the three measures known as Propositions 1, 2, and 3. “Yes” votes will keep the laws in place. “No” votes will repeal them.