West Ada School District’s two new trustees didn’t waste time establishing themselves as demanding accountability and seeking more openness in the district Tuesday
At their first board meeting since being elected in May, newly sworn-in trustees Russell Joki and Julie Madsen sharply criticized the previous board’s decision to extend Superintendent Linda Clark’s contract by one year at its last meeting in June.
Joki, a former school district superintendent, even suggested the new board may look into reversing the old board’s decision..
In June, the outgoing West Ada School Board voted 3-2 to add a year onto Clark’s contract — for a total of three years — just as two of those board members were leaving office. Trustees Carole Sayles and Tina Dean, who remained on the board, opposed the extension.
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“My issue isn’t the performance of the superintendent. I haven’t been on the board long enough to comment on that,” Madsen, newly elected from the Eagle area, said Tuesday. “My issue is if you are going to preach accountability, then we need to model accountability at the board level.”
Clark’s salary is about $143,000 a year.
Joki and Clark clashed over statements made by Clark regarding the state’s new teacher evaluation plan and the evaluation of administrators in West Ada District.
Joki referred to a quote by Clark in an Idaho Education News story in which she referred to several districts giving all teachers the same proficiency rating as “unconscionable.” He then asserted that the district’s evaluation of administrators is lacking. “We don’t know how many of our administrators are proficient,” he said.
Clark countered that she is evaluated annually. And she said her remark about “unconscionable” meant it was unconscionable for any school district to give every teacher the same rating: “It did not recognize those who went above and beyond, and it did not provide the tools for helping those that were in need of help.”
Joki countered that what districts choose to do is their own business.