Tom Luna

11:53 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Luna: Idaho May Have To Repay $13.3 Million In Education Broadband Cash

Credit 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.

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Election 2014
2:54 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

What Idaho’s Superintendent Race Looks Like Now That Tom Luna Is Out

Tom Luna, flanked by his chief of staff Luci Willits, walks away from the podium after announcing he won't seek re-election.
Credit 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.

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Election 2014
11:08 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Won't Seek Re-election

Credit 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.

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Idaho Legislature
10:17 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Luna Trims Hopes For Idaho Teacher Pay, Still Wants Hike

Credit 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.

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10:42 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Why Idaho's Schools Chief Wants Lawmakers To Collect Internet Sales Tax

Credit 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.

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1:40 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Idaho Falls Teacher, Democrat Announces Her Second Bid For Superintendent Of Schools

Jana Jones ran for the office in 2006.
Credit 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.

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Election 2014
5:16 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Idaho Democrats Look To Replace Superintendent Luna

Credit 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.

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4:14 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

Luna's K-12 Budget Plan Could Mean Less Money For Idaho Universities

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.

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Education Spending
11:07 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Idaho Schools Chief Asks For Big Funding Increase, But Lawmakers Rarely Oblige

Luna unveiled his budget proposal Tuesday in a speech to the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. Here he is talking with audience members afterwards.
Credit 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.

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1:22 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Idaho Schools Chief Tom Luna Seeks 6 Percent Education Funding Increase

Credit 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.

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Wi-Fi Contract
7:04 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Surprised By School Wi-Fi Plan

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.

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3:08 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Idaho One Of Five States That Stand To Lose Most Education Money In Sequester

Credit 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.

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School Safety
5:44 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Idaho Education Superintendent Says Technically, Teachers Can Already Carry Guns

Credit 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. 

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Education Funding
3:40 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Idaho Schools’ Chief Wants 3 Percent Increase In Education Spending

Superintendent Tom Luna last September explaining his budget recommendation. That had to be re-written after the Students Come First repeal.
Credit 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.”

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2013 Legislature
5:00 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Idaho Lawmakers Schedule Education Listening Session

Credit 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.

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School Safety
4:24 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Idaho To Revive School Safety Group

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.

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4:41 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

State Says Prop 1, 2, 3 ‘No’ Vote Means $36 Million Cut For Idaho Schools…For Now

On Nov. 6 Idaho voters repealed a trio of education laws that were put into place in 2011.
Credit 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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Students Come First
3:54 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Idaho Teachers Can Still Get Bonuses Says State Attorney General

Idaho teachers will still get about $38 million in merit-pay bonuses this year even though voters' rejected three education laws.
Credit Staff / Idaho Statesman

Idaho teachers will still get about $38 million in merit-pay bonuses this year. That’s despite voters' rejection of public schools chief Tom Luna's education overhaul.

The Idaho attorney general says the failure at the polls shouldn't affect the payout.

In an opinion made public Monday, deputy attorney general Andrew Snook wrote that teachers who qualified for the bonuses earned them for the 2011-2012 school year — before Luna's merit pay law was voted down Nov. 6.

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Election 2012
4:40 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Map: Voters Overturn Luna's Education Laws, Reject Propositions 1, 2 And 3

Credit Yan Lu / NPR StateImpact

Voters sent a clear message to Idaho lawmakers this week by rejecting all three education propositions by margins of 15 percent or more.

See how each county voted and compare that to support for Tom Luna's 2010 reelection bid.  Click here to explore the interactive map...

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Propositions 1, 2, 3
2:16 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Vote No Campaign Celebrates Victory Over Props 1, 2 And 3, Reaches Out To Luna

Idaho Education Association President Penni Cyr addresses a small crowd outside of Boise High. Also pictured are Vote No spokesman Brian Cronin and treasurer Maria Greeley.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

After voters rejected the controversial Students Come First education laws last night, members of the Vote No campaign gathered outside of Boise High this morning.

Vote No campaign chairman Mike Lanza said that the results of the referenda are clear. He says that voters showed how much they care about local control in Idaho’s schools, and he characterized the election results as “glorious.”  

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