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State’s “Super” Race Super-Expensive: Approaching $300k

October 29, 2010

BOISE, Idaho - Campaign cash is still flowing into the race for superintendent of public instruction, with the latest filings showing a total of almost $300,000 for both candidates: incumbent Republican Tom Luna and challenger, Boise School District Superintendent, Democrat Stan Olson.

Idaho's 2007 "superintendent of the year," Jim Cobble, says he's seeing cash and politics get in the way of making sure a qualified candidate is in office. About 20 years ago, he pushed for a constitutional change so the position could be an appointed one, with the idea there could be more of a focus on resumes and experience.

"And what they truly had from a knowledge base to offer education, not just little districts, large districts, not just superintendents, but clear down to the classroom."

On the money front, Luna is ahead of Olson in fundraising by about $50,000.

Cobble's vision of a perfect state superintendent would be one who focuses on the "we" in the state public schools system -- a person who could help coach educators, students, parents and the business community to work together to improve classrooms.

"As we all know, the importance of education's in the classroom, but you still have to have some expertise in leadership, and sometimes you don't always get that in elected positions."

Cobble is life-long Republican who has served as superintendent in several districts, and is currently the superintendent of the Camas County School District.

Campaign donation filings at www.sos.idaho.gov/elect/Finance/2010/2010_stwd.htm.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - ID