1. It’s not about protecting taxpayers: Hoffman, the president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, is suing the Boise School District over $35,000 of expenditures. To put that in perspective, if the state’s education budget was a $100 bill in your pocket, Hoffman would be suing for 2 cents of it. If that $100 bill was the state budget, Hoffman would be arguing over a single penny. Ironically, the Idaho taxpayers Hoffman says he wants to protect will be picking up the Boise school district’s legal bill.
2. It’s not about children: Hoffman says he wants to fight for Idaho students by saving them $35,000. But back in February, Hoffman proposed slashing education funding by $58 million. If that wasn’t enough, in April, Hoffman supported killing a child support bill, which jeopardized $200 million in support payments owed to Idaho children. Call us skeptical but we don’t think Hoffman can establish a pro-student track record with one bizarre lawsuit that takes money from education and gives it to lawyers.
3. It’s not about education: Hoffman is suing to stop an agreement between the Boise School Board and Boise teachers that has worked well for 20 years. The agreement solidifies a relationship that has helped make the Boise Independent School District one of the top performing school districts in the nation. If Hoffman wanted to better the state’s education system, forcing a school district to pay unnecessary legal fees is a strange approach.
4. It’s not about school funding: Five days before Hoffman announced he’s suing Boise schools over $35,000, he said Idaho should make it harder for struggling school districts to raise levies even though 93 of Idaho’s 115 school districts require supplemental levies just to stay afloat. That’s right, five days!
5. It’s about Wayne Hoffman: Moments after Hoffman announced his lawsuit at a press conference on the steps of the State Capitol, his political organization blasted a fundraising email about it – almost as if that was part of a plan. In the following days, the organization bragged about having the story picked up by right-wing “news” outlets. Come to think of it, fundraising and publicity appear to be the priority here. But we can fix that. If Hoffman really wants to fight for Idaho students, we’ve compiled a list of things he could do to make a substantive difference.
- Support Supt. Sheri Ybarra’s proposed 2017 education budget
- Demand education funding be restored to pre-Great Recession levels
- Work to get more state funding to struggling rural school districts
- Admit that then-Gov. Jim Risch’s tax shift from property to sales taxes was a disaster for schools
- Advocate for universal pre-K schools
- Work to reduce the cost of higher education
- Lobby for higher teacher pay
- Quit grandstanding on the backs of middle-class workers (i.e. teachers)