Jana Jones

Ybarra Wins Idaho Schools Chief Race By Fewer Than 6,000 Votes

Nov 5, 2014
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As expected, the closest statewide race of Idaho's 2014 election was for superintendent of public instruction. Unofficially, Republican Sherri Ybarra won with 50.7 percent of the vote to Democrat Jana Jones' 49.3 percent. Just 5,700 votes separated the two candidates.

Idaho Public Television

The two candidates vying for the job of Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction faced off Tuesday night in a debate sponsored by Idaho Public Television. 

Republican Sherri Ybarra and Democrat Jana Jones are competing to replace Tom Luna, who's stepping down at the end of his current term. 

jana jones, education, election 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Democrat running to be Idaho’s next Superintendent of Public Instruction says funding and low morale are the two biggest issues facing Idaho’s schools.

student, desk, classroom
BionicTeaching / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s four-day schools have become a talking point in this fall’s elections — to the chagrin of at least two superintendents that use a four-day instruction calendar.

They say the four-day schools are getting an unfair rap for slashing instruction time, and for compromising quality.

“I understand why it’s out there in the political discussion, because it’s a quick soundbite,” Shoshone School District Superintendent Rob Waite said last week.

It has certainly been a recurring campaign theme.

Idaho should “explore” a more aggressive Internet sales tax, Jana Jones said Friday.

Sherri Ybarra, meanwhile, sidestepped the question, saying tax policy is wholly the job of the Legislature.

In their third head-to-head meeting of the week, the two state superintendent’s candidates didn’t break new ground — and, once again, they generally agreed on many issues.

This story was updated at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 5, 2014

State superintendent’s candidate Sherri Ybarra has edited her campaign website — removing language that was nearly identical to wording on opponent Jana Jones’ website. 

The modifications apparently were made Thursday, a day after Idaho Education News first reported on similarities between the rival candidates’ sites. As recently as mid-afternoon Thursday, the passages appeared twice on Ybarra’s page.

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

After securing a surprise victory in Idaho's Republican primary, Sherri Ybarra now moves up to face Democratic challenger and political veteran Jana Jones in the race for Idaho's top education post.

Unlike the three GOP newcomers Ybarra competed against in the May primary, Ybarra's opponent in November's general election comes with statewide name recognition and has already significantly outraised and outspent her Republican contender.

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra has won a close Republican primary for superintendent of public instruction, setting up what could be one of the most competitive statewide races in November.

Ybarra of Mountain Home took 28 percent of Tuesday's vote. Randy Jensen of American Falls was in second place with just over 24 percent, followed by John Eynon of Cottonwood with 24 percent and Andy Grover of Melba with 23 percent. All four of the candidates came with experience as educators but no political background.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s top education job is up for grabs. That's after Superintendent Tom Luna said Monday he won't run for a third term.

Two Republicans planned to run against Luna in the May primary - north Idaho teacher John Eynon and American Falls principle Randy Jensen. But Luna's announcement that he wouldn't seek re-election could now open the door for more candidates.

Courtesy Jana Jones

Longtime educator, consultant and Democrat Jana Jones is the first candidate to announce a run for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Jones ran for the office in 2006 and narrowly lost to current Superintendent Tom Luna by just 2.5 percent.

Jones says the public has lost trust in Luna after his battles with teachers groups and others over his Students Come First laws. Voters repealed those laws in 2012.