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Boise student to run for school district board seat: 'students deserve a voice in their education'

The student said he has listened to the concerns of students and parents, and that he wants to bring a new perspective to the school board.

BOISE, Idaho — A senior at Boise High is running for a seat on the Boise School District Board of Trustees. Shiva Rajbhandari made that announcement during a news conference on Tuesday. 

“I believe that students deserve a voice in their education,” Rajbhandari said. “It's time that our school district listens to students. We deserve to have our input considered when making decisions on how to run our schools.” 

He went on to say, “the current Boise schools board has done a really good job balancing the budget and improving equitability across Boise’s 50 plus schools. I will continue to support a fiscally sound, transparent budget, academic rigor and college and career readiness initiatives, and a strong team of stakeholders to lead the district through thick and thin,” Rajbhandari said.

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The Boise student told KTVB, he has listened to students' and parents' concerns and he wants to bring a new perspective. He added that he hopes to have the opportunity to take action. Some changes he is likely to see, include how student mental health is addressed, he said more should be done. Another focus of his: later school start times.

Rajbhandari  said he was inspired to run after he previously reached out to school board members to rally support for a clean energy commitment and long-term sustainability plan for schools and didn’t get a response.

“But rather, we were reprimanded by our administration for talking to the school board without going through them,” Rajbhandari  said. “It seemed that our district saw students not as constituents of the school board, which we elect right every two years, but rather as if our voices don't matter, as if we're not stakeholders in our own education.”

KTVB reached out to the Boise School District after the announcement.

“Regardless of who the individual is, if they meet the requirements, then we certainly welcome their participation,” said Spokesperson for the Boise School District, Dan Hollar.

He says, the district looked back as far as 1971 to see if a student has ever been elected to the board. “Looking at our trustees who had been elected to serve on the Boise school board during that time period, we have no record of a student being elected to the Boise school board,” Hollar said. 

KTVB reached out to the president of the Boise School District Board of Trustee's, Dave Wagers, about his thoughts on a student running for a board seat.

He sent us a statement on the matter: "Steve Schmidt has been an excellent trustee on the Boise School Board. Steve has done his homework, asked difficult questions, and sought to understand how the Boise school district operates. Trustee Schmidt's background in engineering, even temperament, and desire to put students first has proved invaluable in helping our board get to the core of many issues that we have faced. I will be supporting Steve Schmidt in his re-election campaign." 

He added, these are his opinions, and do not represent the school board or administration. 

As for Rajbhandari, he's eager to begin his campaign. 

“I’m so lucky to grow up in a community that tells me every day that my voice matters,” Rajbhandari said. 

Applications for those who are interested in running are available on Monday, according to the Boise School District. The election is scheduled for September 6. The Boise School District also told KTVB, they will send out candidate profile information later next month.

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