In the Classroom

Resignation talk spreads among West Ada trustees

Four West Ada School trustees are facing potential recall. Julie Madsen, (second from left) and board chair Tina Dean,(third from left) have both talked about resigning.
Four West Ada School trustees are facing potential recall. Julie Madsen, (second from left) and board chair Tina Dean,(third from left) have both talked about resigning. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Two of the four West Ada School District trustees facing possible recall are talking about stepping down.

The latest is Chairwoman Tina Dean, who offered to resign during a board training session Jan. 26 if Mike Vuittonet, a board member who has been at odds with fellow trustees for months, also agreed to resign.

“If everybody left and (the board) started over, it would probably be healthiest,” Dean told the Statesman on Tuesday.

Her motive was to find a way to end the grudges and bad feelings that have enveloped the board over the past several months. It would leave new Superintendent Mary Ann Ranells, who is drawing high praise for her work in her first month, without a board harboring old feelings. With a clean slate, Dean said, “there are no more sides.”

Vuittonet turned down the deal. If he and Dean departed, he said, the board would be left with three members who could appoint like-minded people and continue on the path he has opposed.

He said he saw no upside to resigning: “The fact is I am not in a recall.”

Dean said she has considered resigning before the May 17 election if the recall petitions filed Monday are verified and do prompt an election. She has not made up her mind.

“I am a little torn,” she said. “A recall takes away the right of local voters to have a say. It is something I will have to consider.”

On Tuesday, Julie Madsen said she would resign rather than undergo a recall vote, to protect her family and not be party to an election she believes would by financed by special interests.

The two other trustees facing possible recall are Russell Joki and Carol Sayles. They are not talking about resigning.

Dean said she will continue to make decisions for the district that are in the interest of students. “I need to make sure we protect our students,” she said. “I am not a politician. I don’t intend to learn to play political games now.”

She also believes the current recall climate in the district could make passage of a school construction bond difficult. Several parents have said the district needs a new high school — at about $60 million — to relieve chronic overcrowding.

High schools will be among the topics the board will take up in the next several days as it considers redrawing school attendance boundaries to relieve overcrowding at Mountain View and Rocky Mountain high schools.

WEST ADA BOUNDARIES

West Ada School District trustees got a primer Tuesday on proposed boundary changes that could mean 2,100 students would have to change schools in 2016 and 2017.

Parents will get an opportunity to tell trustees what they think during a meeting at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday at the district office.

The proposed plan leaves four of the district’s five high schools at or above capacity and has raised issues about the need for a new high school.

District officials plan to post a detailed PowerPoint outline of boundary changes on the district’s website Wednesday.

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