Republican schools chief Sherri Ybarra, who declared she was seeking re-election in a 2015 taped interview, said Wednesday she is holding off launching a formal campaign until later in September.
Idaho Education News discovered her outdated election website Wednesday morning. Information on the site was three years old, and therefore misleading. It identified a former campaign treasurer, outdated endorsements and it didn’t refer to her as the current state superintendent.
That’s because there is no campaign yet, Ybarra said.
“I have not formally announced,” Ybarra said during an interview Wednesday afternoon. “I’m working on the ESSA plan and the state budget, which is due this week and both of those are heavy lifts.”
Ybarra’s 2018-19 public school budget request is due to the state Friday, and the Every Student Succeeds Act compliance plan is due to the U.S. Department of Education on Sept. 18.
“I’m focused on kids and the job at hand now,” Ybarra said.
But Ybarra said she will honor her pledge to run again.
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“I’m seeking re-election and the plan is to make a formal announcement, and then work on the website,” Ybarra said. “So there will be more information forthcoming on that.
“I’m planning on doing that in mid-September,” Ybarra continued. “Traditionally until after Labor Day the electorate is not paying attention, so we will slowly be working on that.”
During a taped interview with Idaho EdNews in December 2015, Ybarra said, “Looking forward, it is a family decision, but at this time we have made the decision that I will run again.
“At this time, that is the decision that we have made and I will be very open and honest with the public and continue to keep them informed as well about plans for the future,” Ybarra continued.
During Wednesday’s interview, Ybarra said her campaign website was “asleep.” But someone made several changes to it about three hours after Idaho EdNews first contacted her SDE staff about outdated information.
Before Wednesday’s changes, Ybarra’s website identified her campaign treasurer as Robynn Schipani. However, more current campaign disclosure reports on file with the Idaho secretary of state’s office list Boise resident Timothy McMurtrey as Ybarra’s campaign treasurer.
Ybarra’s website also listed former state Sen. Tim Corder as a campaign co-chair, even through Corder left Ybarra’s State Department of Education suddenly during the 2016 legislative session.
Ybarra lists outdated endorsements on her campaign website. The campaign website identifies Republican Idaho Falls Rep. Wendy Horman as one of several “legislators for Ybarra.”
Reached by Idaho EdNews on Wednesday, Horman said she has not made an endorsement in the 2018 race. Furthermore, Horman said Ybarra has not approached her for an endorsement.
Ybarra’s website also includes the endorsement of “Senator Cameron, Senate JFAC Chair.” That’s a reference to former state Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, who now serves as director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. Cameron hasn’t served in the Legislature since 2015. Cameron is one of two “legislators for Ybarra” who no longer serves in the Legislature; former House Education Committee Chairman Reed DeMordaunt is the other.
On Wednesday afternoon someone updated her site to scrub references to Schipani, Corder, Cameron and former campaign spokeswoman Melinda Nothern. The misleading Horman endorsement still appeared on the campaign website as of this story’s publication.
During Wednesday’s interview, Ybarra said she had not yet seen any changes to her campaign website.
Ybarra has filed official paperwork appointing a campaign treasurer and raised $900 this year.
Ybarra’s assertion that she hasn’t launched her formal campaign then leaves just one official candidate in the race — Jeff Dillon, the Republican superintendent of the Wilder School District.
Dillon, who has been distributing campaign literature and making the rounds at the summer fair circuit, reported raising $2,870. He launched a campaign website by himself, and said is seeking help to make it more professional and visible.
So far, no Democrats have filed to run for superintendent of public instruction.