Boise School District takes a stand against education reform laws

Boise School District takes a stand against education reform laws

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 6:31 PM

BOISE -- The Boise School Board is getting political. With the November election fast approaching, the Board of Trustees decided to hold a special meeting Tuesday to take a stance on the education propositions that will be on the ballot, Propositions 1, 2 and 3.

The Boise School Board unanimously agreed to take a "no" vote position on all three of the propositions. That means the trustees support the repeal of the Students Come First laws.

"We always need to ask the question; what will this do for students?" said Board President A.J. Balukoff. "We think these laws will be a hindrance to student achievement and are not helpful to school boards or our teachers, and so we feel like it's in the best interest to repeal these laws."

The Boise School Board believes it has not been given clear evidence or plans to show how the laws will translate to increased student achievement in the classroom.  Specifically, the trustees don't believe there is a plan demonstrating how technology funds would better prepare students for college and their careers.  Finally, the trustees also say that mandating a one-size-fits-all solution is not good for Idaho school districts.

"Our goal is to help inform the public and we hope that they will vote no because that is what we feel will be best for our students," said Balukoff. But he says no matter how people vote he feels it is important that they educate themselves about the education reform laws before they go to the polls.

"We expect that after Boise that there will be numerous other districts that will also take a similar position," said Brian Cronin the spokesman for the Vote No on Props 1, 2, 3 campaign. "We've certainly heard from individual trustees that they are very concerned that they're losing funding and they're losing local control."

We spoke with the campaign manager for Yes for Idaho Education before the Boise School Board voted. He had a very different take on how the board's decision could influence other districts. "Boise has always been a bit of an outlier on a number of education issues," said Ken Burgess. "I won't be surprised if when this is all said and done, if in fact they vote to oppose these laws they may be one of the only school districts in the state that ultimately takes that position."

Voting on the propositions will take place on November 6th.

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