BOISE, Idaho — Parents were ready to listen to the Boise School District's virtual meeting about the upcoming school year on Monday night. But that meeting didn't happen.
After dealing with technical difficulties for about 30 minutes, the school board voted to postpone the meeting until Tuesday night.
A district spokesperson tells us they made the decision to ensure everyone has a chance to testify.
However, not all the parents who took the time to attend the virtual meeting were pleased with the postponement.
"Absolutely ridiculous Boise School Board. Absolutely ridiculous,” one man said. “Thank you for not allowing many, many people who rearranged their schedule to not have their testimony heard."
A woman followed up his comments with some of her own thoughts.
"I agree, this is ridiculous," she said. "We all made time to be here tonight."
A spokesperson for the district said they were aware of how important the topic was and the level of concern in the community over the district re-opening. In order to ensure everyone had a chance to listen in and testify, they postponed.
“Our commitment is to make sure whoever would like to view the meeting has the ability to do so and we're committed to that process,” District spokesman Dan Hollar said. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. We understand the time commitment that people made to tonight’s meeting.”
The issue at hand was deciding how the Boise School District will reopen schools. They could reopen schools fully with in-person learning, implement a blended model in which students go to school some days and stay at home other days, or they could go completely online.
Karma Nalder has four kids in the school district. Their grades range from elementary to high school. She wants the online option.
“If our teachers are going to be cleaning their classrooms, enforcing all the guidelines, and contact tracing, when are they going to have time to be a teacher?” she asked. “When are they going to be able to teach our kids?”
The school district envisioned some parents not being comfortable sending their kids back. To accommodate, they designed an all-new Boise Online School.
Nalder didn't sign up for the program because she doesn't like the platform it's using. It’s using FuelEducation and she said her oldest child had a negative experience with it.
“We need our Boise School District teachers with our Boise School District curriculum,” she said. “And our Boise School District programs such as Treasure Valley Math and Science Center and the highly gifted program, we need those programs offered online.”
Nalder is in the position to stay at home with her kids. Other parents, though, aren’t. Erin Goodell wants the school board to allow kids to return to schools. Her daughter is 7 years old and is going into the second grade.
“I was encouraged that there was the in-person option," she said. "Especially with working parents, it’s hard to teach our kids. I'm not a teacher and I don't want to pretend to be. I don't want my daughter to be at a disadvantage because I'm not able to provide the education she needs.”
Goodell understands the risk of COVID-19 but says online school simply won't work for her family.
“There's going to be a lot of things lacking and I don't know how you can make that up,” she said.
She wants to be allowed to send her daughter to school with the right precautions in place.
“We try to do the best we can, we try to take the precautions we can that we know will help us stay safe. There is no guarantee but there's nothing out there in life that is a guarantee that says you can't get sick.
The school board rescheduled their meeting for Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
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