The Boise School District board of trustees race is blessed with three excellent candidates vying for two six-years terms.
After considering incumbent David Wagers (appointed to the board 18 months ago), Beth Oppenheimer and Monica Walker, we endorse Wagers and Oppenheimer because they have the deeper and more pertinent experience the job demands.
The district is much more than a $200 million business that employs 3,000 people — though that should never be discounted. It is also an education incubator for preparing students who will lead us in the future. In many ways, the product it produces is our future.
So we need trustees versed in education matters and up to the challenge of making the most of the available financial and human resources. We need community members who have demonstrated they have the discernment and passion to do what is best for our children. These positions receive no compensation except the satisfaction of helping students reach their potential.
Wagers embodies a rare combination of business acumen (president of the Idaho Candy Company) and an education background. Besides his time as a Boise trustee, he has served on the Anser Charter School Board.
As Boise schools undergo a facilities audit, Wagers’ experience in maintaining and evaluating buildings is key. His upbringing in Boise schools and now as a parent with children in the district informs him on what matters most to teachers and parents. That has given him the insight to understand there are no one-size-fits-all solutions and “we have to find different ways for kids to learn.” Wagers brings independent thinking to the board in a collegial way, and that trait has made him a most valuable addition to trustee discussions.
Oppenheimer’s experience as an involved parent and education champion in the community is well known. She is executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children and a tireless advocate for early childhood education — though all of the candidates see this as a critical need.
If there is an education or child-care issue under consideration in the city, county or before the Legislature, Oppenheimer has demonstrated she will have a child’s best interest at heart.
She has a reputation and rapport with parents in the community that would serve her well as a trustee, and she listens. “There are many households where both parents work,” she said.
The combination of Wagers and Oppenheimer would bring two valuable perspectives to an already successful school district. They have the skills and determination to better prepare our children with preschool options and follow through with a range of offerings in high school. We are pleased they recognize that not everyone is headed for college and some will benefit from vocational-technical classes that prepare them for jobs in the trades.
Had Walker been running against candidates with less education experience than Wagers and Oppenheimer, she would have earned our endorsement. She impressed us as a smart, caring parent and businessperson with good perception. She projects sound values and strong community commitment by volunteering for nonprofits and serving on local boards. We hope she pursues elected office in the future.
Statesman editorials are the unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman’s editorial board. To comment on an editorial or suggest a topic, email editorial@ idahostatesman.com.
Boise trustee election
Early voting for this at-large race continues through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the school district office, 8169 W. Victory Road.. Election day is Tuesday. The two candidates with the most votes will be seated on the board.
Vote Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at many, but not all, Boise public schools. These locations are likely different than your normal polling place.