With teachers union contributions topping $2.5 million in the effort to overturn state Superintendent Tom Lunas education reforms, Idaho Falls billionaire Frank VanderSloot has upped his spending to $1.3 million to support the laws.
We could not just stand by and let the NEA (National Education Association) out of Washington, D.C., take over Idaho schools, VanderSloot said Tuesday.
That group has contributed $2.1 million so far, while its affiliate, the Idaho Education Association, has given almost $500,000 to oppose the Students Come First overhaul.
VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca, has made contributions for TV and radio spots and full-page newspaper ads. His contributions have been divided among the main campaign arm of the proponents, Yes for Idaho Education ($604,000); the Idaho Federation of Republican Women ($418,000); and independent expenditures by Melaleuca and another VanderSloot company, Natural Guardian ($276,000).
Dan Popkey: 377-6438, Twitter: @IDS_politics