UPDATE: Boise School Board Cautions That Blistering Letter, Threatening to Quit ISBA, is a First Draft

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The Boise School Board of Trustees held a special session at Whittier Elementary School October 22.
  • George Prentice
  • The Boise School Board of Trustees held a special session at Whittier Elementary School October 22.

UPDATE: 7 p.m

At its special session Monday evening, the Boise School District Board of Trustees cautioned that a blistering letter expressing a "loss of confidence" in Idaho School Boards Association Executive Director Karen Echeverria was a draft, but the board was prepared to move forward with its critique.

In particular, the document targets Echeverria and the ISBA Executive Board for voting to support Proposition 1 - one of the three tiers of the so-called Luna Laws - just weeks after ISBA President Dallas Clinger told Boise trustees that ISBA membership "was very split on all three measures" of the Luna Laws. Proposition 1, which is on the upcoming November 6 general election ballot, asks Idahoans to approve or reject legislation which limits negotiated agreements between teachers and local school boards.

"We're not complaining about the decision [the executive board] made. We're concerned about the lack of process involving membership," said Boise School Board of Trustees President AJ Balukoff Monday evening.

Trustee Rory Jones said "We're all on board with this," while Trustee Joan Boren suggested that the finished product be shared with other school board trustees throughout the state.

But Balukoff cautioned that the draft, as written, should not be interpreted as the Boise School Board pulling its membership from the ISBA...at least not yet.

"Absent positive action to improve the situation, the Boise School Board will no longer remain members of this association," reads the draft. "We do not take this action lightly. The Boise School Board has a long history of participation with the ISBA."

The draft also says that Echeverria attended a Boise School Board meeting in September to encourage the Boise board to renew its membership with ISBA. But Boise trustees said Echeverria failed to mention the ISBA's Executive Board's "yes" vote on Proposition 1, until after the Boise School Board had already put its membership renewal check in the mail.

Ultimately, the Boise School Board agreed Monday evening to move forward with refining the letter to Echeverria and the ISBA Executive Board.

"Does this letter adequately express this board's concerns?" asked Balukoff.

Trustees indicated that, with a few changes, it did.

ORIGINAL POST 9;30 a.m.

When the Boise School District Board of Trustees gavels in its meeting this evening—to be held at Whittier Elementary School—the board will take up a scathing indictment of Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association.

In particular, the board has documented its concerns for what it calls Echeverria's "deceptive actions in relation to Superintendent Luna's laws," referring to the much debated Students Come First reforms that were crafted, in large part, by Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.

The agenda for this evening's meeting of the Boise School District Board of Trustees has only one item under "other business," labeled "ISBA concerns." But the board is expected to unleash what it calls "a loss of confidence in Echeverria."

Here's a sample of some of what will be put before the trustees this evening:

"Our concern is that Ms. Echeverria intentionally eliminated every opportunity possible for ISBA members to hear or share a view of the laws other than her own and used deceptive tactics throughout the process to ensure her policy view was adopted by the Executive Board."

"We do not take this action lightly," reads the document. "This issue strikes at the very heart of a democratic process we hold dear."

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