Jeff Dillon says he is running for state schools superintendent to help create a “climate of possibility.”
But first, the Wilder School District superintendent says he needs to raise money and elevate his statewide profile as he challenges a sitting incumbent. And that’s why he submitted his paperwork Friday to launch his campaign.
”For me it’s a lot about name recognition,” Dillon told Idaho Education News in a telephone interview Tuesday. “People don’t know who I am.”
Dillon will run as a Republican, challenging Sherri Ybarra in the May 2018 primary. Herself a political unknown three years ago, Ybarra won a four-way Republican primary and a narrow general election in November 2014. Ybarra has said she plans to seek re-election in 2018 — but in all of 2017, she received only one campaign contribution, and ended the year with a meager $92.78 in her campaign treasury.
Dillon declined to comment on Ybarra’s record in office — or the relationship between Ybarra’s State Department of Education and district superintendents.
“I’ll let you assess that,” he said.
Throughout her three years in office, Ybarra has said the SDE should provide support to local districts, downplaying the state agency’s enforcement or regulatory role. She has tried to reduce the districts’ data reporting burden. However, the SDE and districts have found themselves at odds over the data that the state does collect — in areas such as teacher evaluations and teacher leadership premiums.