Tom Luna

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Tom Luna
Personal details
Born 1958 (age 57–58)
Santa Ana, California, U.S.
Political party Republican
Alma mater Brigham Young University,

Boise State University
Thomas Edison State College

Thomas "Tom" Luna (born 1958 in Santa Ana, California[1]) is the former Superintendent of Public Instruction in Idaho. He was elected to the position in 2006.[2] Luna was re-elected in 2010 following a challenge from the former superintendent of the Boise School District.[3]

Luna served on the Nampa School Board for seven years, three as chairman, and on the Idaho Achievement Standards Commission and Idaho Assessment and Accountability Commission. From 2003 to 2005 Luna worked for the U.S. Department of Education as an adviser to then-U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.[2][4] He is the owner and president of Scales Unlimited, Inc., an industrial truck scale company.[1] In 2012, Presidential candidate Mitt Romney named Luna to Romney's 19-member education policy advisory group,[5] the only state superintendent to be chosen for the panel.[6]


Luna moved to Idaho to attend college at Ricks College, (now Brigham Young University–Idaho) in 1981,[2] and later attended Boise State University. He announced his candidacy for state superintendent in September 2001.[7] In March 2002, Luna graduated from Thomas Edison State College.[8]

Idaho school reforms[edit]

As a member of the Nampa School Board from 1994 to 2002,[1] Luna supported school vouchers and tax credits for private schools as a means to increase competition in education.[9]

Running for the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Idaho position in 2006, Luna focused on promoting charter schools.[9] Columnist William McGurn stated that he found Luna's business experience and lack of education degree, "refreshing".[10]

Students Come First[edit]

The centerpiece of education reforms spearheaded by Luna following his 2006 election as Superintendent is a package of legislation known as Students Come First.[11] Among the reforms in the Students Come First package, passed by the Idaho Legislature in 2011, are:[11][12][13]

  • New limits to the collective bargaining rights of Idaho teachers
  • Raised the annual minimum pay for new teachers by $345
  • Established a performance-based merit pay system for teachers
  • Increase classroom sizes in grades 4 through 12
  • Phase out tenure, instead implementing one- and two-year rolling contracts for every new teacher and administrator, depending on experience
  • Requiring online course credit for high school graduation
  • Providing laptop computers for all high school teachers and high school students and classroom Wi-Fi

Luna's proposed reforms have been challenged though ballot initiatives.[12] Among the opponents is the The Idaho Education Association, a state teachers union.[12][14] Petitions challenging the Students Come First legislation collected enough signatures to place the matter on the state's November 6, 2012, general election ballot.[12] There were three separate ballot propositions[12] because the reforms were passed with three legislative bills.[11] Voters rejected all three propositions on November 6, striking down the reforms.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Luna and his wife Cindy have six children.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Superintendent of Public Instruction, 2006 debate page, Idaho Public Television
  2. ^ a b c d Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Idaho State Department of Education
  3. ^ "Race for Idaho schools chief puts focus on role of office", Betsy Z. Russell, The Spokesman-Review, August 29, 2010
  4. ^ "Idaho education firestorm sparks attempt at repeal", Jessie L. Bonner, Associated Press, (reprinted by KBOI-TV), June 8, 2011
  5. ^ "Mitt Romney taps Idaho superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna as education adviser", Nate Green, Idaho Statesman, May 25, 2012
  6. ^ Russell, Betsy (May 24, 2012). "Luna named to Romney's new 19-member Ed Policy Advisory Group". Eye on Boise. Boise, Idaho. The Spokesman Review. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Take 2: Former Nampa School District Trustee Earns Degree, Right to Seek Office". 0F661F86776B199D. Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Statesman. March 30, 2002. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Take 2: Former Nampa School District Trustee Earns Degree, Right to Seek Office". 0F661F86776B199D. Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Statesman. March 30, 2002. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "Tom Luna's education reform plan was a long time in the making", Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman, February 20, 2011
  10. ^ "McGurn: Son of Scott Walker", William McGurn, Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2012
  11. ^ a b c Students Come First informational website & Students Come First Idaho State Department of Education website
  12. ^ a b c d e "Luna's Students Come First laws head for ballot showdown", Kristin Rodine, Idaho Statesman, August 26, 2012
  13. ^ "Idaho Votes to Phase Out Teacher Tenure, Restrict Collective Bargaining", Fox News, March 09, 2011
  14. ^ "Idaho Education Association". Who We Are. Idaho Education Association. Retrieved August 29, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Laptop and online mandates lose in all 44 counties.", Dan Popkey, The Idaho Statesman, November 7, 2012