Jones-Ybarra Education Debate Highlights Differences School Spending

Oct 22, 2014

Democrat Jana Jones, left, and Republican Sherri Ybarra, right.
Credit 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. 

Ybarra was asked about her top budget priorities. She said it's not right that schools have to have four day weeks, don't have supplies, and have class sizes that are too large. But she said it's not the job of the state superintendent to set funding levels, that's strictly the job of the Legislature.  

"I am going to be the thorough state superintendent who does not ask for more until she understands that every single dollar has been stretched to the max," she said. "Do I think we're spread dangerously thin? Probably. But as long as I know that everything in that budget gives control to the school districts, I know that every dollar has been stretched, will I then discuss with the legislators any sort of increase in funding."

Jones told viewers schools don't have adequate resources to meet their needs.

"We have over 40 districts that have gone to four day school weeks," she said. "They don't have up-to-date textbooks. They have technology without the bandwidth to use technology. Those are the things that districts are telling me over and over again, that our resources just are not there."

Jones added that it is the job of the state superintendent to prepare a public schools budget and present it to the Idaho Legislature.

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