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Nampa School District board trustee resigns, cites 'demoralizing' arguments

“I am stepping down because I am weary (and) tired...due to the toll this service has taken on my family and me,” the letter reads.
Credit: Nampa School District

NAMPA, Idaho — This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press.

Nampa School Board Trustee Mike Kipp announced his resignation in a letter addressed to the school district, District Superintendent Paula Kellerer, and Zone 2 trustees on Friday.

“I am stepping down because I am weary (and) tired...due to the toll this service has taken on my family and me,” the letter reads. The resignation was effective on Jan. 31.

“Being in a place where people are very upset about the decisions you’re making, it weighs very heavily on you and people have at times been pretty unkind to my family and me,” Kipp told the Idaho Press by phone. “And after a while that just gets you to where you just don’t want to deal with that anymore.”

Kipp approached his role enthusiastically, using the skills at his disposal, the letter said.

“However, at some point along the way, it felt as if the arguments about a global pandemic (and even its legitimacy) had diminished our focus on student achievement,” the letter said. “That was discouraging and even demoralizing.”

One of the board’s statutory mandates is to limit the spread of infectious diseases, and to “rely on health experts to inform us of what those are,” but Kipp felt the board’s discussions often got “lost in the minutiae” about how best to address the pandemic.

The Nampa School District is thankful for Kipp for serving and making kids the priority, said Kathleen Tuck, communications director for the school district. It will be up to the other board members to decide how to fill Kipp’s seat, Tuck said.

Kipp works as a professor of youth and ministry at Northwest Nazarene University. He was originally appointed to the seat in September 2019 after trustee Janelle Stauffer resigned, according to the district’s website, and was later elected to the seat. He faced a recall election in March of 2021 for having voted to continue online learning and delay resuming sports programs in the district, and narrowly won.

Kipp’s decision-making has been guided by a “what’s best for the kids?” mentality, the letter says.

“It is a new day however with a (mostly) new board and my single greatest hope for our board is for fresh perspectives and energy to re-focus on student achievement, the learning loss that has occurred due to the pandemic, and meaningful conversations about the need for a supplemental levy to support our kids,” the letter says. “My hope is that once again our students will be in the very center of the target of all decisions of our board and district.”

In January, three new school board members were sworn in — Tracey Pearson, Brook Taylor, and Jeff Kirkman — all of whom ran on platforms of parent’s choice when it comes to masking and parents having a say in what their children learn in school on topics such as race and social emotional learning.

Kipp has served as the board’s vice chair. During the board’s first meeting of the year, and the first with its new board members, the board voted 3-2 to appoint Kirkman as board chair and Pearson as vice chair, as reported by Idaho Education News. Both Kipp and Mandy Simpson voted against the appointments, citing a desire for more experienced trustees in those positions, Idaho Education News reported.

The next board meeting will be held Monday, Feb. 14.

This article originally appeared in the Idaho Press, read more on IdahoPress.com.

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