Letter to the Editor by Russell Joki, West Ada School Board Trustee, Zone 5


When I ran for the board, my campaign was pretty simple: Fiscal Integrity, Support Teachers, Involve Parents.

That “agenda” has been sharply criticized by the Statesman and by the status quo district administration and their friends. They want to recall me and three other like-minded board members.

What have we done to attract such venom?

We have demanded transparency and accountability.

When we voted against yet another central office administrator, the sky suddenly started falling. We were accused of “micro-managing” by trustee Mike Vuittonet, the former school board chair who never voted against any expansion of administration.

When we exposed the 40% overrun in the Hillsdale Elementary School construction project, trustee Vuittonet’s solution was “borrow from the other construction projects.”

When we demanded financial statements that showed revenue and expenditures to date in each fund, trustee Vuittonet thought it would overwork the staff. The district Finance Director, Alex Simpson, responded with, “No problem. We can easily do that.”

When we voided a one year extension to the superintendent’s contract for the 2017-18 school year, the “Big Administration Cronies” came out in force, demanding our recall. The effort is being led by former Meridian superintendent Christine Donnell and former Meridian board member Reed Olson.

Gee, yah think they have an objective viewpoint?

I proposed a new policy that would require the superintendent to file objections to new city and county residential growth that projects overcrowding in our schools. Trustee Vuittonet opposed it, claiming growth pays its way. If that is true, why, then, do we have to go to the voters every two years with bond measures and operation levies?

The current board majority is fiscally conservative. We will continue to protect taxpayer dollars, reject expansion of the administration, and do everything we can to put more teachers in the classrooms.

I invite you to visit the social media of trustee Julie Madsen (facebook) and read the details behind the superintendent’s contract. I invite you to attend board meetings and tell those who want a return to the status quo that you reject that kind of thinking.

In the meantime, I hope you think carefully about and talk about what will happen if we are recalled. It will mean victory for big spenders and big government.