Thursday, January 27, 2011

In Idaho, Students Come First

The following is an op-ed submitted by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna:

When legislators came to Boise this year, they faced difficult choices for public schools – cut more or raise taxes.

In every opinion poll and at the ballot box in November, Idahoans made it clear they didn’t like either option. They didn’t want to see further cuts, and they didn’t want a tax increase.

Something has to be done.

Over the past two years, Idaho has had to cut or shift $200 million from public schools. Even based on optimistic revenue growth, it will take the state 10 years to get per-pupil spending back to where it was just two years ago.

That’s a whole generation of students. It’s clear we cannot continue to cut our schools. We can’t chop more school days off the calendar or further reduce instructional time. Nor can we raise taxes on Idahoans who are already struggling to make ends meet.

Students Come First is the solution. It’s a comprehensive plan to change the system to educate more students at a higher level on limited resources.

Under this plan, we can put our K-12 public schools back on firm financial footing.

By spending what we currently have differently, we can restore teacher pay, invest $50 million in technology, raise the bar academically, and implement a way to reward Idaho’s excellent educators. And we can do it all without raising taxes.

How? By increasing the average student-teacher ratio statewide by less than two students over the next five years, we can save the state more than $100 million a year. These savings will go back into the classroom, giving teachers the tools to manage more students and raise academic achievement.

First, the state will create the 21st Century Classroom that isn’t bound by walls, bell schedules, school calendars or geography. Every student will have access to a highly effective teacher, the necessary technology and academic standards comparable with anywhere in the world.

Right now, school is the least technological part of any student’s day. This must change.

The state will invest $6,000 per classroom in technology, expand digital learning, provide dual credit courses, and even provide a laptop computer or another digital device for every high school student.

We will invest in our educators to make sure every student has highly effective teachers and principals every year. The state will restore teacher pay and implement pay-for-performance to reward excellence in the classroom. This will give teachers more control over how they are paid and the opportunity to earn up to $8,000 a year in bonuses for working in hard-to-fill positions, taking on leadership duties, or working in schools that increase academic growth.

We will empower parents to take a more active role by giving them access to current, accurate data on student achievement and financial matters in every district.

Above all, we will ensure Students Come First.

The result: Every student will graduate prepared for postsecondary education or the workplace, without the need for remediation.

If we don’t do this, then what? We cannot continue to cannibalize our public schools, reducing the school calendar and student-teacher contact time.

This is the best way to put our public schools back on firm financial footing and raise student achievement – by spending what we currently have differently.

The electorate demands it. The economy requires it. Our students deserve it.

Qwest Foundation Awards $90,000 in Technology Grants to Idaho Teachers

Science and math students at Boise High School will have access to a new mobile computer lab and an enhanced online tutoring and assessment program developed at the school with a grant won by their teacher and announced today.

The Boise winner, Heidi Pluska, is among ten statewide of the grants, which are funded by the Qwest Foundation and administered by the Idaho State Department of Education.
Heidi Pluska receives her Qwest Foundation grant award from Idaho Qwest President Jim Schmit and Superintendent Luna.

Pluska won $8,500 to create the mobile computer lab for math and science students and to extend to science students an online tutoring and assessment program Pluska and other teachers at Boise High had created for the math department.

“These teachers are a great example of how we can use technology in Idaho classrooms each and every day to engage students and raise academic achievement,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said. “I am pleased to continue to partner with Qwest to help bring these teachers’ innovative ideas to life and better prepare students for the 21st century.”

Qwest will provide a total of $90,000 to the ten grant winners across Idaho this year, bringing the total over the seven years of the grant program to $490,000. Superintendent Luna and Qwest Idaho President Jim Schmit will present Pluska with her award at the school on Thursday, January 27.

“We have been very impressed with the creativity and overall excellence of the grant proposals,” Schmit said. “This is a great opportunity for Qwest to make a positive difference in the education of Idaho students and to help teachers improve their effectiveness in the classroom.”

The grant program began after a statewide evaluation of technology in public schools in 2003 that found many Idaho teachers need support in integrating technology in the curriculum.

Here is a summary of all 10 Idaho grant winners and their projects:
  • Boise – Boise High School, Heidi Pluska, $8,500 for mobile computer lab and expansion of online tutorial and assesment program.
  • Coeur d’Alene – Woodland Middle School, Dale Johnson, $9,800 for equipment to allow students to make instructional videos about subjects they are studying in class.
  • Hazelton – Valley High School, Sam Franklin, $8,900 for advanced graphing calculators to use in math and science classes.
  • Idaho Falls – Sunnyside Elementary, Michelle Ball, $6,900 for iPads and accessories to allow students to create presentations on planets, constellations and other space topics.
  • Idaho Falls – Westside Elementary, Nicholette Johnson, $8,900 for iPod Touches to create a mobile computer lab for 4th-graders to use for multiple subjects.
  • Jerome – Summit Elementary, Katie Cutler, $8,300 for motion sensitive video games and dance programs to incorporate into physical education classes.
  • Moscow – Lena Whitmore and West Park Elementary, Luella Stark, $9,600 for programmable LEGO robots to teach math, science and engineering at both schools.
  • Preston – Preston Junior High School, Melinda Harris, $9,700 for iPads, iPod Touches and educational software to use in U.S. history classes.
  • Sugar City – Sugar-Salem High School, Marc Gee, $10,000, for video production equipment to allow students to make instructional videos of nearby attractions.
  • Twin Falls – Xavier Charter School, Kim Kokx, $9,500 to build a professional-grade recording studio.
~ Melissa M. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Idaho Adopts Common Core State Standards

Idaho adopted the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and English language arts today, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna announced.  

“This is a great day for Idaho students.  By implementing Common Core State Standards, we can ensure every student graduates from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce, and once there, does not need remediation,” Superintendent Luna said. “This is our ultimate goal, and Idaho students are ready for this challenge.”

The Idaho State Board of Education approved the K-12 Common Core State Standards in November. For final approval, one body in the Legislature had to approve the standards. The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to approve the standards today.

To date, 42 other states or territories have adopted the Common Core State Standards, including Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Idaho initially signed on to join the Common Core State Standards Initiative in June 2009 to develop more rigorous college- and career-ready standards in math and English language arts that are comparable with any country around the world.  The final standards were published in June 2010.

Now that the standards have been adopted, the Idaho State Department of Education will work with local school districts to offer professional development for Idaho teachers in throughout 2011 and 2012.  The new standards will be taught in Idaho classrooms in the 2013-2014 school year. Idaho is currently part of a consortium of 31 states working to build the next generation of assessments that are aligned to these standards. Those new assessments will be delivered in the 2014-2015 school year.

Learn more about Common Core State Standards in Idaho.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Governor Announces $2.75 Million Awarded in Recovery Act Funds for Solar Panels for School Program

Here's a press release sent out by the Governor's Office:

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the awards to Idaho schools for the Solar Panels for Schools Program (SPSP) today.  Although $2,750,000 was earmarked from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this competitive grant program, the Office of Energy Resources (OER) had almost $13 million in requests.  A total of 43 grant requests were received and nine grant awards were offered.  

The OER issued the Request for Proposal (RFP) on August 4, 2010, and the applications were due November 19.  OER utilized an independent oversight committee to provide guidance on the administration of the program. The committee consisted of individuals with expertise in a variety of areas that included electric utilities, education, grant administration, public buildings, as well as solar electric systems.  The oversight committee helped develop the RFP criteria and applied pre-established procedures to evaluate and select proposals for an award.  Awarded proposals were distributed within each of the Idaho Department of Education’s six state regions.  A list of projects that were funded can be found below.

“These projects will help public schools reduce energy operating costs and demonstrate environmental leadership for Idaho students,” Governor Otter said. “An additional benefit is that they will help encourage development of Idaho’s renewable energy resources.”

The grants will be used to purchase and install systems on schools around the state.  Projects range from 36 kilowatts (KW) to 100 KW in size and will generate electricity and revenue to reduce energy bills of the school districts through utility net-metered programs.  The solar electric systems are expected to operate for 30 or more years and will enhance the educational opportunities of the students for years to come.

Successful proposals were from schools that already had achieved a high level of energy efficiency, were situated and designed for easy adaptation to a large solar electric system, had a relatively high expected return on the investment, and showed a strong commitment to the project.

“While it is unfortunate that we were unable to fund all of the requests, these proposals lay the groundwork for future solar projects on schools as we continue to look for additional funding opportunities,” OER Administrator Paul Kjellander said.

School        City  Watts 
Sandpoint Charter High School                  Sandpoint 64,680
Genesee School (K-12)                       Genesee 47,530
Highland High School                                 Craigmont 39,000
Canyon Owyhee School Service Agency    Wilder 99,960
Whitney Elementary                                 Boise 99,960
Carey High School                                 Carey 42,770
Shoshone High School                                Shoshone 36,000
Harold B. Lee Elementary School             Dayton 39,000
Madison High School     Rexburg 86,000

More information about the state energy stimulus projects and the Office of Energy Resources is available at

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Facts About Students Come First

Why Do We Need to Change the System?

The Problem: The current system is not sustainable.

Budget Cuts: The state has cut or shifted $200 million from the public schools budget over the past two years.

A Decade of Lost Opportunity: Even with optimistic revenue growth, it will take Idaho 10 years to get per-pupil spending back to where it was just two years ago. We can no longer rely on federal bailouts to prop up our budget year after year.

Student Achievement: Our students have made significant academic progress in recent years, but still have a long way to go. One-third of our schools are still not meeting our high academic goals, and more than half of Idaho students do not go on to postsecondary education after high school.

Choices: The Legislature has two options. We can continue to cannibalize the system – adding more furlough days, cutting teacher pay further, and reducing student-teacher contact time. Or we can change the system.

Solution: Let’s change the system to educate more students at a higher level on limited resources. We can accomplish this by using existing funding differently, without raising taxes.

What are the Benefits for Students?

Students Come First: Public education will now be focused wholly on the student.

College- and Career-Ready: When students graduate from high school, they will be college- and career-ready, without the need for remediation. Every student will have a highly effective teacher in every year, and a highly effective principal at the head of every school.

State-of-the-Art Technology: No longer will school be the least technological part of a student’s day. Students will now have access to an unprecedented level of technology in the classroom, such as clickers, computers, e-readers, and more.

24/7 Learning: Every student will have access to learning 24/7. All high school students will receive a laptop, which includes the necessary maintenance, technical support and security. They will take at least two online courses a year. They can enroll in additional online courses without prior permission from the district.

More Opportunities: Students will have additional learning opportunities. They can take free dual credit courses their senior year, if they meet graduation requirements early. They will be able to attend high school at a college or university.

Fiscal Stability: Idaho’s students will attend school in a financially stable public education system, without increasing taxes.

What are the Benefits for Teachers?

Restore Pay: The state will fully restore and preserve the salary grid for Idaho’s teachers. Starting pay for new teachers will increase to $30,000. The grid will serve as the base pay for all teachers.

Reward Excellence: Idaho’s teachers and leaders will be rewarded for excellence. Through the state’s pay-for-performance, teachers can earn bonuses of between $2,000 to $8,000 a year for working in hard-to-fill positions, taking on additional leadership duties, or improving students’ academic growth in an entire school.

Classroom Investments: Teachers will have access to advanced technology in the classroom through a historic $50 million investment in clickers, computers, e-readers, and more.

Teacher Training: All professional development and continuing education will be meaningful and focus on what students and teachers need, based on current, accurate data.

Teacher Equity: Seniority will no longer be the determining factor if a district is forced to lay off teachers.

Insurance Options: Similar to what it provides state employees, the state will provide liability insurance options for Idaho’s teachers.

Focus on Growth: Idaho’s public schools will shift to focus on a student’s academic growth in a given year.

Fiscal Stability: The state will create a financially stable education system for Idaho’s teachers without raising taxes.

What are the Benefits for Parents?

Empower Parents: Parents will now have a voice in all teacher and administrator evaluations.  All educator evaluations will be tied to student academic growth.

Prepared Students: All students will be prepared for college, career, and the ever-changing world that awaits them.

24/7 Learning: The state will offer learning opportunities to students 24/7 by providing a laptop to every student and additional virtual education options.

Informed Parents: Parents will have access to clear, understandable data on student achievement results and financial matters in every school district.  Every district will post its budget online. The State Department of Education will publish a fiscal report for every district. All salary negotiations will be held in open meetings, and master agreements will be made readily available online.

Fiscal Stability: The public school system in Idaho will be financially stable without raising taxes. 

What are the Benefits for Local Leaders?

Restore Local School Board Authority: The state will restore authority to locally elected school board trustees. The collective bargaining process at the local level will be streamlined. Idaho will phase out tenure by offering all new teachers a two-year rolling contract. Existing teachers who have tenure will keep it.

More Flexibility in Workforce: The locally elected school board will be granted more flexibility in hiring superintendents at the district level. Seniority will no longer be the determining factor in teacher lay off decisions.

Focus on Growth: All teacher and administrator evaluations will be tied to student academic growth.

Empower Principals: Building principals will now have the authority to make the final decision on staffing at the school level.

Fiscal Stability: The state will create a financially stable public education system without raising taxes.

What Is the Alternative?

The only other options that have been discussed for the K-12 public schools budget next year and in future years are more of the same – more cuts to our public schools.  With more cuts, districts will have to chop days off the calendar, reduce student-teacher contact time, further reduce teacher pay, require furlough days throughout the school year, and slash educational offerings in every district.  

There is none of that in this plan. Above all, there is nothing in the Students Come First plan that hurts Idaho students.

Just look at what we can accomplish by spending what we currently have differently.  We can:
  • give teachers the classroom tools they need,
  • provide teachers additional training,
  • cover the $35 million budget gap we currently have,
  • restore $20 million to maintenance funds,
  • fully restore the salary grid for teachers,
  • raise minimum teacher pay,
  • implement pay-for-performance in addition to the base salary,
  • give all high school students laptops, and
  • fund dual credit for high school seniors.
Before, it seemed daunting and impossible to restore $128 million in funding to our public schools and to create more opportunities for students. But today, we have the solution. This is the only way to educate more students at a higher level with limited resources.

Nobody has presented an idea or a plan that gets us even close to that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Superintendent Luna, Governor Otter Unveil Students Come First Plan

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna today unveiled Students Come First, a comprehensive plan to improve Idaho’s public education system by ensuring we have a customer-driven system that educates more students at a higher level with limited resources.

“In Idaho, we must send a message that students come first,” Superintendent Luna said. “While we have made significant progress in raising student achievement in recent years, it’s clear the current system is not sustainable. We are trying to prepare Idaho students for the 21st century using a 19th century model. It doesn’t make sense. What I propose today is a comprehensive plan that will change the system to match our current economic demands, and more importantly, to meet our students’ needs.”

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said: “This is an agenda focused on Idaho’s future prosperity. It is designed to build a work force and a citizenry ready for tomorrow’s challenges. Based on the fine collaborative work of the Education Alliance of Idaho, the State Board of Education, the Albertson Foundation, the State Department of Education and many others, we have crafted an agenda that puts students first and makes student achievement the foremost goal of our public schools.  We want Idaho schools to be the best and most efficient in the country.  Our plan will use the Idaho Education Network, cutting-edge technology in the classroom, increased support for instructional excellence, and enhanced transparency and accountability to accomplish our goal.  Idaho’s students deserve nothing less.”

In his presentation, Superintendent Luna pointed to the current challenges: “Consider this: over the past two years, Idaho has cut or shifted $200 million from the K-12 public schools budget. Even based on optimistic revenue growth, it will take us the next 10 years to backfill the budget hole created in the past two years. That’s 10 years. We cannot allow a whole generation of students to go through an underfunded system, just so we can keep the current system.” 

For these reasons, Superintendent Luna and Governor Otter created the Students Come First plan to transform education in the State of Idaho. The plan focuses on three pillars: 21st Century Classroom, Great Teachers & Leaders, and Transparent Accountability. 

Here are the elements of the Three Pillars:

The 21st Century Classroom: The 21st Century Classroom is not limited by walls, bell schedules, school calendars or geography. In a 21st Century Classroom, every student has access to a highly effective teacher, the necessary technology, and high academic standards comparable with any in the world.

To create the 21st Century Classroom, the state will invest $50 million over the next two years in both hardware and software for every Idaho classroom. Every 9th grader will be given a laptop, and high school students will be required to take online courses to graduate. Idaho will raise the bar by implementing college- and career-ready academic standards that are comparable with any country in the world. If a student meets graduation requirements early, the state will pay for dual credit courses in the student’s senior year.

Great Teachers & Leaders: Students will have a highly effective teacher every year and a highly effective principal at the helm of every school.

The current way the State of Idaho pays teachers, based on experience and education only, is archaic. To recruit and retain a great teacher and leader in every classroom and school building, the state will fully restore the instructional salary grid, raise the minimum pay for new teachers to $30,000, and implement a pay-for-performance plan that builds on base salaries to reward excellence. The state will continue to empower great teachers and leaders by ensuring all professional development if focused and meaningful. The state will phase out tenure in Idaho schools by offering every new teacher and administrator a two-year rolling contract. School districts will no longer be able to use seniority as the only criteria in determining teacher layoffs. Districts must tie at least a portion of teacher and administrator performance evaluations to student academic growth.

Transparent Accountability: Parents, taxpayers, and policymakers have current, accurate information on all student achievement results and financial matters in their schools and districts.

The state must ensure school district leaders are held accountable for student achievement results and taxpayer dollars at the local level.  To do this, the state will empower parents by giving them input on teacher evaluations and access to understandable fiscal report cards for each district. Locally elected leaders now will have more flexibility to manage from year to year by streamlining collective bargaining practices. In addition, the state will work with every local district to ensure they take full advantage of statewide purchasing contracts, and will require that all taxpayer dollars follow the student.

The Students Come First plan will be funded through existing state dollars. Under this plan, the state will use efficiencies and cost savings found in the current system to invest millions of dollars to restructure our public schools. 

By adapting the funding formula so money follows the student and increases the student-teacher ratio by less than two students per teacher, on average, the state can now invest in state-of-the-art technology for every classroom, meaningful teacher training, laptops for every 9th grader, fully restored teacher pay, pay-for-performance to reward excellence, and dual credit for high school seniors.

Superintendent Luna will present the full budget for the Students Come First plan to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) on Tuesday, January 18.

Learn more about the Students Come First plan.

~ Melissa M.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Superintendent Luna Applauds Governor on Vision for Education

The following is a statement from Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna in response to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter’s State of the State address:

“The Governor has made it clear that his agenda for this Legislature is to change our education system to educate more students at a higher level with limited resources.  This is our number one priority.  We are on the same page, and together, we will get this done.”

Superintendent Luna will present the details of this comprehensive plan to the Joint House and Senate Education Committee at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12.  It will be streamed live online.

~ Melissa M.

Governor Otter Outlines Vision for Future of Education

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter presented his State of the State and State of the Budget address to kick off the 2011 Legislative Session.

In his State of the State address, Governor Otter referred to a plan that he and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna have created to change Idaho’s education system to educate more students at a higher level with limited resources.

Superintendent Luna will present the details of this plan to the Joint House and Senate Education Committees at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12.

The following is the excerpt from Governor Otter’s State of the State Address that addresses K-12 public schools:

Now, we all know that one of State government’s most important responsibilities is maintaining a “general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”

It was an unfortunate necessity that prompted us to reduce the current year’s General Fund public schools appropriation after two years of backfilling with reserve funds and one‐time federal money.

So while my budget recommendation does call for a little more State support for public schools, it also includes significant, targeted investments in our children’s future – investments like a third year of math and science in high school, and paying for all Idaho juniors to take college entrance exams.

Those investments are part of important changes that Superintendent Luna and I are proposing in the way our public schools do their jobs.

We’re proposing to improve Idaho’s education system by advancing the recommendations of our partners in this effort, led by Guy Hurlbutt and the Education Alliance of Idaho.

It will mean a fundamental shift in emphasis from the adults who oversee the process and administration to the best interests of our students.

Our priorities need to be refocused from how much we’re spending to how much our children are learning.

Now, it’s important for you to know that we’re starting from a position of strength. Idaho students continue to out‐perform national averages on math and reading.

That’s despite the fact that we spend far less per student than the national average, and less than half as much as New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Yet our Idaho students generally score higher on achievement tests.

Again, we need to refocus from how much we are spending to how much our children are learning – learning in large measure due to responsible parenting and the excellence and sustained efforts of our fine public school teachers.

That excellence should be rewarded – which is why Superintendent Luna and I are committed to establishing a pay system for teachers that emphasizes their performance, not their tenure.

Truly one of the bright spots of the past couple of years for me has been watching the impact of the Idaho Education Network’s expansion into every corner of our state.

I’ve watched and listened to classes delivered over broadband Internet connections. I’ve talked with the teachers and the high school students who already have earned 1,300 college credits by using the IEN.

I’ve seen how a calculus teacher in Eagle can reach students in Sandpoint and Sugar City.

I’ve seen how our Idaho students can use the IEN to take interactive guided tours of world‐class resources like the Great Barrier Reef, the Holocaust Museum, the Alaska Sea Life Center and NASA facilities.

And just as importantly, I’ve seen how the IEN is becoming a true community and economic development resource.

For example, Superintendent Jim Reed and Principal Dave Davies in Weiser opened up the high school’s IEN connection to the local Chamber of Commerce, which arranged for Idaho State University’s Workforce Training department to provide marketing and management training for local businesses.

Schools also are using the network to offer master’s degree programs, POST Academy training, firefighter and paramedic training, and professional development courses for teachers.

A growing number of school districts are embracing the opportunities. In Idaho Falls, the Bonneville School District is generating revenue and improving the educational experience for students by creating an e‐Center and a Virtual Academy.

The Vallivue School District in Caldwell also is rolling out a virtual school option for students, and several other districts are heading that direction.

Superintendent Luna and I will use the IEN at 3 p.m. today – right across the street at the Department of Education – to answer questions from reporters across the state about today’s address and our education initiatives. And Superintendent Luna will lay out all the details of our proposals this coming Wednesday.

Read the full text of Governor Otter’s State of the State.

~ Melissa M.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Summer Food Sponsors Sought

The Child Nutrition Division of the State Department of Education is seeking sponsors for this year’s program that provides free meals to children from economically disadvantaged families during school summer vacations. Now more than ever, this program is needed to fill the gap for families who may not be able to afford to give their children nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session.

The Department contracts with public and private schools; non-profit organizations; city, county, and tribal governments; and other organizations to feed low-income children during the summer months.  Nationally, more than 26 million children eat school lunch daily when school is in session, and about half of them receive their meals free or at a reduced price because they are from families with low household incomes.  The summer program offers them nutritious food when school is not in session.

Last year, Idaho’s 86 summer food sponsors served approximately 1.3 million meals at 292 sites.  For the 2011 program year, sponsors may be:
  • Public or private nonprofit schools;
  • Public or private nonprofit residential camps
  • Local, municipal, county, tribal, or state governments;
  • Public or private nonprofit colleges or universities that participate in the National Youth Sports Program
  • Upward Bound programs;
  • Libraries; or
  • Private nonprofit organizations.
The 2011 training registration information also is available online. New sponsors are required to attend training at a location near them and to complete a hard copy application as soon as possible.  Continuing sponsors for the 2011 summer program are invited to choose a training session in February or March at a location near to them.

The 2011 training schedule is:
  • February 23 – Lewiston – 1-4 p.m.
  • February 24 – Coeur d’Alene – 1-4 p.m.
  • March 2 – Pocatello – 9 a.m. to noon
  • March 3 – Idaho Falls – 9 a.m. to noon
  • March 8 – Fruitland – 1-4 p.m.
  • March 10 – Boise – 1-4 p.m.
  • March 16 – Twin Falls – 1-4 p.m.
Applications are due to the State Department of Education by May 6, 2011. Additional information about the Simplified Summer Food Program is available from Lynda Westphal

Meals for the Summer Food Service Program must be served in accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC, 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY)."The USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.” 

~ Melissa M.

Inauguration Day

Superintendent Tom Luna was sworn in to his second term of office today on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol.  He was escorted by his wife, Cindy Luna, and sponsored by his mother, Judy Luna.  In the Oath of Office, Superintendent Luna swore to "support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Idaho and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to the best of [his] ability."
Also taking the Oath of Office today were Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, State Controller Donna Jones, State Treasurer Ron Crane, and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.  The Vallivue High School Choral Edition, under the direction of Ron Curtis, sang two musical numbers for the ceremony.

-Camille W.