Tom Luna

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

In a ruling that could have major implications for broadband service in schools — and a multimillion-dollar price tag for  Idaho taxpayers — a District Court judge has tossed out Idaho’s $60 million school broadband contract.

The disputed Idaho Education Network contract was declared void late Monday afternoon by 4th District Court judge Patrick Owen.

Owen sharply criticized the state Department of Administration for continuing to try to salvage the 2009 contract, after carving Syringa Networks out of the deal to provide broadband to 219 high schools across the state.

School Kid, Education, Computer
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is proposing a 6.9 percent budget increase to Idaho's public school funding for 2015. Luna says the budget calls for the largest spending increase he's ever proposed in his nearly eight-year tenure.  

Luna unveiled his budget Tuesday to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and legislative leadership. However, because Luna isn't seeking a third-term, it'll be the winner of the November election who will be tasked with selling the $94 million budget increase to lawmakers during the next legislative session.

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Takes Nonprofit Job

Aug 19, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

When State Superintendent Tom Luna leaves office in 2015, he will join a nonprofit education vendor.

Luna will join Project Lead The Way, an Indianapolis-based organization providing programs and teacher training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the so-called “STEM” fields. Luna will be the nonprofit’s vice president of policy, advocacy and research.

Luna will oversee four regional directors, as well as a team of policy analysts and researchers.

Technology, education, computer
Shane Pope / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho may have to repay $13.3 million if federal officials determine the state broke contracting rules on a $60 million education broadband project mired in a lawsuit for nearly as long as it's existed.

Department of Administration director Teresa Luna told the House Education Committee that even should Idaho prevail in the legal case, it still could be forced to repay the money that's gone to the Idaho Education Network.

The project is already growing far more expensive than Idaho intended.

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.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna won't run for re-election, clearing the way for Democrats and Republicans in a race for an open seat.

Luna said Monday he decided not to run, feared his candidacy would become a political distraction and take away from his efforts to implement recommendations of a recent task force.

Luna says he's talked with former Republican state Sen. Melinda Smyser, wife of a prominent Capitol lobbyist, about running if he doesn't.

But he said he's not yet ready to endorse anybody.

Tom Luna
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna trimmed his request for pay hikes for Idaho's public school teachers, but still wants to boost salaries.

Luna spoke to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Thursday.

Last year, his original proposal included $42 million for boosting teacher pay in fiscal year 2015.

After Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter this month recommended no additional state funding to boost salaries, however, Luna now hopes his latest plan is a compromise with lawmaker appeal.

It foresees $23 million going to lifting teacher pay.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna told lawmakers Wednesday they must consider collecting the sales tax on Internet purchases in order to fund improvements to the state's education system.

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.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Democrats are hoping to unseat Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in 2014.

The Idaho Statesman reports the state's minority party believes a Luna foe could succeed by focusing on Luna's K-12 reforms that were rejected by voters in 2012.

Democratic Party Chairman Larry Kenck says voters who dumped those propositions will likely vote against Luna, a Republican.

Some Idaho Board of Education members fear a proposed 5.9 percent funding hike for public schools in 2015 could come at the expense of universities.

On Thursday, board member Bill Goesling of Moscow worried the $77 million increase public schools chief Tom Luna wants for K-12 schools would siphon money from colleges including the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Boise State University.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s school superintendent Tom Luna released his budget request for next year Tuesday. Luna is asking for a $77.8 million bump in state spending for education. That would be a 5.9 percent increase. That’s how much the Legislature increased education spending in 2007, the year before the financial crisis. Since then, the education budget has seen big cuts, and more recently, modest increases.

Tom Luna
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho public schools chief Tom Luna is seeking a nearly 6 percent increase in funding next year for schools and teacher salaries.

Luna is also proposing helping high school juniors and seniors pay for dual-credit classes that help earn college credit before graduation.

The Republican unveiled his $1.37 billion budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. He said the spending increase mirrors recommendations spelled out earlier this year by an education task force assembled by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Some Idaho lawmakers are upset by State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna's announcement that a $2.1 million annual statewide Wi-Fi network contract will run for up to 15 years — without prior legislative budget approval.

Luna's office said Wednesday Education Networks of America won the contract to equip as many as 340 Idaho high schools with the wireless Internet technology. Nine companies submitted bids. ENA's came in under the $2.25 million set aside by the 2013 Legislature for next year.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

It’s been several days since the federal spending cuts known as the sequester went into effect, and it’s still unclear how they will impact people’s lives.

mrbill / Flickr Creative Commons

After Idaho schools’ chief Tom Luna made his budget request to lawmakers Thursday he explained his proposal to reporters. A reporter asked Luna his view on proposals floating around the capital to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Superintendent of Education asked lawmakers Thursday to increase funding for public schools by 3 percent. For some details on that proposed budget our education reporter Adam Cotterell joined All Things Considered host Samantha Wright in the studio.

Here follows a transcript of that conversation:

Samantha Wright: Adam Where should we start?

Adam Cotterell: How about where Superintendent Tom Luna started with lawmakers?

Tom Luna: “A lot has occurred since I stood before you a year ago.”

Empty Classroom
Karen Apricot New Orleans / Flickr Creative Commons

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — House and Senate education committees will hold a "listening hearing" on Feb. 1, an opportunity for the public to weigh at the Legislature just months after public schools chief Tom Luna's overhaul went down to defeat.

Leaders of the panels in both chambers announced the session on Monday.

It's due to run between 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol's basement auditorium.

House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt said he wants to invite everyone to share their thoughts on improving Idaho's public schools.

Idaho’s Department of Education will reconvene a group that made safety recommendations for Idaho schools four years ago. That’s from a memo that schools’ superintendent Tom Luna sent Monday to district leaders, charter school administrators and school principals. The memo comes in response to Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut.

Kids In School
Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Idaho school Superintendent Tom Luna said this week the voter repeal of his education laws would mean a financial hit to districts. Today his department released an estimate of that impact. It says the Nov.

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