There’s Big Money In Idaho’s Education Referendum Campaigns

Oct 11, 2012

You've likely seen ads or signs encouraging you to vote no or yes on propositions 1, 2 and 3. Each proposition addresses an aspect of Idaho's education laws known as Students Come First. These laws limit collective bargaining, institute a pay for performance plan, and increase technology use in schools. Finance reports were due Wednesday for groups involved and show there's a lot of money being raised to support and fight the laws. 

From late May through the end of September the group Yes For Idaho Education raised nearly $165,000. That campaign wants voters to keep the laws in place. Its contributors include several prominent Republican lawmakers and a $50,000 donation from Melaleuca Inc. That's the company in Eastern Idaho owned by Frank Vandersloot  who has grabbed headlines for big donations to Mitt Romney.

Another group pushing voters to support the laws has raised more than $200,000. The Political Action Committee Parents For Education Reform received that in one donation. The rules governing PAC contributions have allowed Parents for Ed Reform to keep the ultimate source a secret.

The campaign Vote No On Props 1, 2, and 3 has out raised both of these groups. This group wants voters to reject the Students Come First laws. Vote No took in more than $1.3 million. More than a million of that came from the Nation Education Association, the nationwide teachers union.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio