Our View: 'West Ada School District' makes sense

June 26, 2014 

A number of us would flunk the test if asked to locate and define the boundaries for Joint School District No. 2, or its predecessor, Class A School District No. 2.

That's because, for better or worse, most of us call the 380 square miles of Idaho's largest school district the "Meridian School District" - even though its 36,000 students come from neighborhoods in six different Treasure Valley communities: Meridian, Boise, Eagle, Garden City, Kuna, Star and even a 1.5-square-mile sliver of Canyon County.

That all changed Tuesday when Joint School District No. 2 decided to rename and rebrand itself as the West Ada School District.

Since so much has changed in West Ada County in the last 10 years we think hitting the reset button with the new name makes perfect sense. It will take up the better part of the year to totally turn things, but it doesn't appear it is going to cost much.

West Ada School District Superintendent Linda Clark (how does that sound?) said the district will use up its inventory of stationery and other office supplies with the old name before ordering new. She said some signage at four different buildings will need to change and the secretary of state's office will need to be officially notified. The district website is undergoing a makeover anyway, so it won't cost much, if anything, to recast it as West Ada School District.

At press time it was not known whether the district would continue to operate its own buses or contract with a third party. So, re-lettering the buses is a possibility. Clark pointed out that other districts in the Treasure Valley that contract with bus transportation companies don't feature the name of the district - so there may be no expense at all.

The reasons for the name change are numerous and logical. The old name came with confusion - especially during voting periods for levies and such. People new to the area living outside "Meridian" in Eagle or Star, for instance, would miss opportunities to vote because they didn't think the Joint School District No. 2 or the "Meridian District" was their concern.

In more general terms, West Ada County has evolved and become more autonomous with its own shopping areas and landmarks, such as The Village at Meridian. Clark and her staff - who came up with the name change idea - believe West Ada County is an evolving marker in the region and part of the nomenclature that is here to stay.

While we're speaking of school districts at the west end of the Treasure Valley, we want to congratulate the folks for stepping up and maintaining (Kuna) and restoring (Nampa) the financial stability of their districts by passing levies and making other difficult moves.

We especially want to offer kudos to the two interim superintendents in Nampa who navigated the district through some perilous times over the past two years. You can take your pick about which man walked into the most difficult situation - Tom Michaelson or Pete Koehler - but they rose to the occasion and exercised their considerable abilities to move Nampa School District forward.

David Peterson takes over July 1 as superintendent in Nampa. Though he, too, will have to keep a watchful eye over the district's finances, he will have the "luxury" of devoting more of his attention to the academic and structural goals than did Michaelson and Koehler.

We wish Superintendent Peterson the best.

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