Sherri Ybarra

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. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Sherri Ybarra says her at-times bumpy campaign for Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction is a result of increased public scrutiny on a political newcomer. But the school administrator from Mountain Home says she understands the focus that's on her comes with a run for public office.

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

If state superintendent hopeful Sherri Ybarra votes on Election Day, it will be the first time the Republican has cast a ballot in a November general election while living in Mountain Home.

According to Elmore County election records, Ybarra has not voted for a governor, a state superintendent, a president or a state legislator in a general election since moving to Mountain Home in 1996.

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.

Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

Sherri Ybarra is a career educator and accomplished student. And that’s about all she likes to reveal publicly. 

The Republican candidate for state superintendent of public instruction prefers to keep her personal life out the papers and keep the questions and answers focused on Idaho education.

“I’d rather not say,” Ybarra said repeatedly during a recent interview at a Mountain Home coffee shop. She denied a request to be interviewed at her home or her Mountain Home School District office.

education, election
Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

The race to lead Idaho's public schools is growing more-crowded — and potentially more raucous — with the addition of yet another Republican candidate to the field.

Mountain Home educator and administrator Sherri Ybarra threw her hat into ring, announcing Wednesday she'll vie for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary election.

Ybarra joins Republicans already in the race, Grangeville teacher John Eynon and American Falls principal Randy Jensen.

The lone Democratic candidate, so far, is Jana Jones, who was defeated in 2006.

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