Idaho might be able to boost payments to public schools, without compromising the long-term health of its state land endowment accounts, according to two of the four Republican candidates for state schools superintendent.
Andy Grover of Melba and John Eynon of Grangeville indicated support for such a move, which has been advocated by outgoing State Superintendent Tom Luna. But this has proven to be a tough sell on the all-Republican state Land Board. Luna has argued unsuccessfully to boost the $31.3 million annual payment to keep pace with inflation and enrollment growth, while his Land Board colleagues opted to build reserve to cover five years of payments.
The next superintendent will inherit Luna’s spot on the Land Board. The five elected officials on the Land Board — state schools superintendent, governor, secretary of state, attorney general and controller — meet at least monthly to guide state policy on Idaho’s endowment lands. K-12 is by far the largest endowment beneficiary.
All five Land Board seats are up for grabs in 2014, and all five Republican races are contested on May 20. Idaho Education News surveyed the GOP candidates on Land Board issues. Click here to see what they had to say.