School Solutions

If your boss tells you it’s “not acceptable” that you failed to do something that they wanted you to do, you could reasonably take that as a threat to your future employment. However, if the thing they wanted you to do is vote, then their words are a likely violation of Idaho law (Idaho Code 18-2318) which prohibits using threats, including “discharging from employment,” in an attempt to influence your vote.

If your boss is also the principal of a Coeur d’Alene school then this is also potentially a violation of school district policy 5270 and 5290, which would make it an ethics violation.

If a district employee sends an email from their school district email account to the parents of the students asking them to vote in support of a school levy then they are likely in violation of Idaho Code 74-604 which prohibits the use of public resources to advocate for a levy.

If you go and have some signs made that tell people to vote for the levy and you post them all around town but you fail to clearly identify who is responsible for the signs then you are in violation of Idaho Code 67-6614A.

All these things have happened, done by the proponents of the Coeur d’Alene School levy. These people who seem to disregard or be ignorant of Idaho election law are the same ones who want you to give them more money. But it gets worse.

Over the last two years, legislators have increased Idaho’s education spending by over $600 million dollars. Also, during COVID, districts were paid per student registration instead of student attendance so districts were being paid for students that were staying home.

Despite the financial windfall, district administers are forecasting doom and gloom. Closing schools, firing teachers, eliminating sports and other painful consequences would result from not passing a levy. For the average homeowner the difference between if the levy passes and doesn’t pass is over $500 per year in property taxes. Meanwhile there seems no serious consideration to cutting the costly administrative bloat; an administration that has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

Let’s consider what could be done if all these “terrible” things come to pass. We would have a few empty schools, some unemployed teachers and no sports because the school district cannot survive on just the funds coming from the state. How do we fix this?

What we need is to have a school that CAN thrive on just the money from the state and it would be great if that school had excellent academic performance such that parents would very much want their students to attend. If only we had an example to prove it can be done.

We don’t have one example; we actually have two: The Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy and the North Idaho STEM Charter Academy. Both have excellent academic performance with long waiting lists of students anxious to attend. Both operate ONLY on the funds provided by the state as they receive NO funding from the school levies. Neither has any problem finding quality teachers who want to teach but not indoctrinate students in woke Marxist ideology.

The solution is obvious. If the CDA School district can’t operate a facility within the limits of the state funding while providing an excellent education, then turn those buildings over to a Charter Academy and let them manage it. Charter schools have an excellent record in both quality education and fiscal administration. With just the funds from the state they are able to educate students and properly maintain and even expand their facilities.

Critics of this solution will say it is unworkable because charter schools don’t provide busses, lunch or sports. True, and yet there is a waiting list so long that the charter schools have an enrolment lottery. Parents are willing to make a bag lunch and drive or carpool their kids to school. As for sports, parents can help out there as well. If the levy doesn’t pass the average household would have an extra $500. Since the average school has 500 students the aggregate savings would be over $200,000 (some households have two students.) Parents could afford to “pay as you go” with a modest fee for equipment and coaches.

Critics will also point to how charter schools aren’t equipped to serve special needs students. True. Those students should go schools that have experts in special needs. By having centers of excellence instead of trying, and failing, to have every school provide every service, you can ensure the best possible outcomes for everyone.

Critics may not want to draw attention to their most important reason against charter schools. Charter schools operate without the Idaho Education Association (union). The IEA is no friend of charter schools because charter schools are an existence proof that a quality, cost effective education is possible without the IEA.

Successful people look for opportunity when change happens. Should the levy fail to pass, and the district is acting like this is likely, then we should take the opportunity to establish charter schools in that facilities the school district closes. This would be a win for students and a win for taxpayers.

It’s just common sense!

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