Taking Politics out of our Schools

At last Tuesday’s West Ada School Board meeting there was no shouting out about recalls, just quiet understanding that this new board is in listening mode. Our new board is in the process of trying to fix a past system that has been riddled with political favoritism and non-transparent deals. Education is supposed to be about teaching our children, not about who can get the biggest compensation package.

It was clear at last night’s meeting that this new board is about getting down to the business of listening to the teachers and administrators about what problems need to be solved in our schools and that they truly care. They took a big step forward in transparency and accountability unlike some members of the last board. The West Ada School district became the 15th school district to become compliant with state rules of transparency by posting the last 2 years of contracts for employees. Why is it that the last board couldn’t get these contracts displayed during their term as board members? It’s time for the ousted board members to get over losing the election and to lend support to the new board as they have a difficult job ahead.

We need to take politics out of our schools, and this silly idea of a recall election is all about politics and who is in control of the $400 million school budget. I believe our money is now in good hands, and we need to give this new board an opportunity to show what they can do. The fact that they have to raise $28 million dollars in a new levy to add nine more school days and more teachers is just a product of growth in the district. It is also a failure of our legislators in the capital to give this and other districts enough funding so that levies would not be necessary.

We all want our children to get a good education, but due to the crony politics in our state it becomes more difficult each year. Remember the Wi-Fi scandal which so far cost taxpayers over $40 million dollars because of a sweetheart contract. Education is a big business for many corporations, and if you don’t think there is any hanky-panky going on you better think again. Political favors are traded for contracts all the time; we just never hear about it because of the lack of transparency. The West Ada school board has enormous power with a budget of over $400 million from all sources, and that is why we need honest caring board members who have high ethical standards. If you want to make sure your children get a good education, parents need to be more involved in the process of local control. If you don’t get involved, the politicians will take over and all will be lost. You can only affect change and control if you are involved in the process.