One of the reasons Idaho’s population has been growing so fast is because there is a perception that there is more freedom in Idaho verses other states like California and New York. Well when it comes to education in Idaho many people are finding that the freedom they heard so much about doesn’t exist when it comes to education. Idaho also gives elected bodies a lot of leeway when it comes to the publics involvement in public meetings of elected officials.
This leeway has been most used when it comes to school board meetings. Public comment is forced into written communication that nobody seems to read and isn’t publicly displayed outside of being buried in pages and pages of board meeting documents.
West Ada School District mainly housed in the city of Meridian, also services students in the cities of Eagle, Star, Boise, Nampa and Kuna. This particular school board has had the spotlight on them pretty constantly over the last 2 plus years. The first issue was over school district bond levy’s and with covid emerging moved to the restrictions around how school happens now.
As the school board was entering into the year 2022 current Board Chair Amy Johnson who has been accused of not disclosing conflicts of interest led a surprise work session to further reduce public input into board meetings. Chair Johnson who lost control of two school board zones made some sweeping changes to the publics ability to address the entire school board as a whole. She made these changes with two lame duck board members. Now with 2 new board members coming in to their first school board meeting they will be asked to approve the changes made last month.
Idaho a state that is considered conservative and one of the states in the nation that believes in the voters right to freedom has more liberal policies than their neighbor to the South/West California. The state of California is seen as very liberal and controlling state when it comes to public freedoms yet is way more open when it comes to public meetings.
Idaho open meeting laws allows publicly elected bodies to limit or completely exclude any public comment altogether. This is a stance that West Ada has used to its full advantage. The West Ada School Board Trustees see no reason why the public should ever have to comment on what they are doing.
The annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, West Ada School District, is scheduled for Monday, January 10, 2022 at the District Service Center, 1303 E. Central Drive, Meridian, Idaho. The Board will convene in regular session at 6:00pm.