BOISE -- An Idaho state court upheld a portion of public schools chief Tom Luna's education reforms, ruling against a legal challenge from the Idaho Education Association teachers union.

The measure passed during the 2011 Legislature phases out some teacher job protections, limits collective bargaining and dumps seniority as a factor in layoffs.

The teachers union had been fighting these changes, arguing they are an unconstitutional attack on educators' rights.

Fourth District Judge Timothy Hansen ruled on Friday that the law passes constitutional muster.

Luna cheered Hansen's ruling along with Gov. C.L. Butch Otter, with both saying it's another step in helping improve Idaho's educational system.

Union lawyer Paul Stark said the organization plans to appeal the ruling to the Idaho Supreme Court.

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