In response to the Election Night collapse of the so-called Luna Laws, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna watched the Idaho State Board of Education this morning as it unwound the state's requirement that Idaho students take at least two online courses in order to graduate from high school in a 7-1 vote. Only one board member, Emma Atchley, voted "no." Even Luna voted "yes" to repeal the rule, but issued a warning for the board.
"One of the things that we saw over the last two years is that school districts that didn't previously offer oline learning began instituting the technology," said Luna. "The last thing I would want to see happen is a school district telling a student wanting online classes that 'We don't offer them here.'" We need to make sure that the opportunities that we created don't shrink."
Board member Richard Westerberg said today's vote was a clear response to the Nov. 6 vote.
"The vote was not equivocal," said Westerberg. ""It was a strong vote from the populace and very specific. I'm going to vote 'yes' to reaffirm what the voters told us."
Luna said that while the vote was clear, the board "needed to go through a different process" to develop online criteria.
"And in December, I will walk the board through each of the propositions and the funding that has been lost," said Luna. "What this amounts to is a mid-year cut to funding for our schools. There is a considerable amount of money that was appropriated by the Legislature. Next month, I'll walk the board through the details and dollar amounts of the impact this has had on specific districts."
All board members agreed that it was "urgent" to recraft the state's online learning guidelines sooner than later.
The board is set to meet again on Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Coeur d'Alene.