Guardian Top Stories

Boise Schools To Launch Marketing Campaign

Boise Schools has taken a page directly out of the Team Dave play book by seeking an advertising agency to create a demand for their services.

The district will dedicate $175,000 for an advertising campaign in 2018-19, with an ongoing commitment for at least three years, according to documents obtained by IDAHO EDUCATION NEWS. Advertising agencies can submit proposals until Sept. 28.

School officials complain that despite an increasing population, they are losing students to the Catholics and charter schools.

Superintendent Don Coberly explained, “Everybody’s competing for kids and we said, ‘Let’s get the word out that we are the No. 1 choice.’”

The purpose is to thwart “ongoing efforts by the charter school movement, voucher supporters and pro-privatization organizations to chip away at the confidence” in traditional public schools.

Coberly cited Bluum, a nonprofit group that advocates for school choice, and its “20 in 10” goal to create 20,000 new charter school seats in Idaho in the next decade. Coberly also cited legislative discussions of voucher programs, which could divert taxpayer funds from public schools into private or parochial schools.

AG Again Declines To Prosecute ACHD Commish

The criminal division of the Idaho Attorney General’s office has again declined to prosecute ACHD Commish Jim Hansen over a series of e-mails that constituted a “serial meeting.”

The commission voted 2-1 to send a letter (see previous post) asking for action following the original exchange in July. The IDAHO PRESS has a full report.

ACHD Commish Meeting Turns Ugly

Today’s noon meeting of the Ada County Highway District became somewhat raucous after Commishes Kent Goldthorpe and Jim Hansen were recused since they were principals in an open meeting law dispute stemming from e-mails authored by Hansen a month ago.

No public testimony was allowed, but citizens shouted out during the discussion about sending a letter to the Attorney General asking for reconsideration of a decision to not prosecute Hansen. President Sara Baker ejected several people ordering, “Please leave the room!”

Commish Paul Woods spoke in opposition to sending THE LETTER and Commishes Baker and Rebecca Arnold repeated their beliefs that Hansen was guilty of the open meeting violations and “should have known better” than attempting so-called back room deals over ballot language for a vehicle registration fee hike to include transportation earmarks.

When a vote was taken, Baker and Arnold favored sending the letter to the AG and Woods opposed. As the meeting ended there were shouts from those in the audience who obviously supported Hansen.

See previous post for links to all the documents.

ACHD Commish Tossed Under The Bus

The Ada County Highway District commission may not be in the transit business, but the commission chairman at least had no problem tossing a member under the bus.

In a Monday letter signed by ACHD Commission president Sara Baker to the Chief Criminal lawyer at the Idaho Attorney General’s office, the commission appears to have doubled down on its condemnation of Commissioner Jim Hansen’s alleged open meeting violation. The letter was in response to a letter from the AG’s Paul Panther who agreed the e-mails were in violation, but essentially said there was “no cure” for the violation. The full board will decide Wednesday whether or not to send the response to the AG.

Baker disagreed with Panther’s conclusion “that your office has no basis to seriously enforce Commissioner Hansen’s blatant and egregious violations of Idaho’s Open Meeting laws—his efforts to trade votes in secret is the most serious kind of violation that cannot be excluded or ignored.”

Hansen, through a series of e-mails, attempted to negotiate elements of a vote concerning a proposed fee hike for vehicle registrations. The rest of the board declared the move a “serial meeting,” outside the open meeting law.

Baker’s letter also defended fellow Commish Kent Goldthorpe’s use of e-mail to inform his colleagues of Hansen’s e-mail negotiations.

The entire letter to the AG is here.

Commish Hansen responded to the GUARDIAN in a written statement which follows. Continue reading here…

Library Hidden Costs Leave Bad Taste

We have had several readers contact the GUARDIAN expressing concern about the library proposal.

Chief concern is the funding plan which is as “loosey-goosey” as the the fire department bond which was approved by voters, but failed to live up to its promise.

Here is an excerpt from the preliminary contract with the “world class architect.”

p. 18, line 10: “Mr. Safdie requires first-class accommodation for all travel. Principals and other team members require business-class accommodation for travel.”

This sounds like a repeat of previous elected politicos who seem to forget whose money they are spending. We hopefully don’t pay for FIRST CLASS airfare for city workers when they travel, why the heck would we pay for some out-of-town contractor to fly first class?

Combine those little “first class” gems with phrases such as “third party with bonding authority,” vague predictions of donations and some debt,and it becomes obvious the taxpaying citizens of Boise will have little voice in how or IF their hard-earned money will be spent.

The neighborhood libraries worked well after we turned down the $38 million bond. If the idea is to provide library services, let’s do that. Give us a bond proposal with real numbers and we will decide if we want to go into debt for a new central library facility. Forget the sneaky attempts to go around the voters with lease-purchase schemes using tax money diverted to the CCDC.

Hiring a guy who demands “first class” travel sets the wrong tone and leaves a bad taste in our mouth.

The Boise Guardian

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