Nate Murphy defeated Marianne Donnelly by 123 to 114, which was exactly the same as the original count. Idaho Code states that, unless the election difference is one tenth of one percent of the total vote, the recall costs must be paid by the person requesting the recount. Fortunately for Mrs. Donnelly, the vote was on paper ballots so it was simply a matter of staff from the County Clerk’s office counting the ballots again. There will be no charge for staff time.
Category Archives: School Board elections
As submitted to the Idaho State Journal, 05-22-2011
It was good for The ISJ to editorialize last week about the failure of supplemental levy efforts in Meridian and several other communities. Certainly these failures will present those districts with great challenges. As an example the editorial offered up the chance that some schools might not be able to afford to send teams to the state playoffs. In my opinion, with that example lies the problem.
Might I sarcastically say, “Oh, woe is me.” The fact that some schools might not be able to participate in a post-season athletic competition should pale in comparison with the fact that Meridian could consider laying off as many as 100 teachers, eliminating some “academic” programs, increasing class sizes, cutting back on supplies, textbooks, the list of effects is endless. Yet what garners the attention? Athletics and whether or not we will “go to State” Does no one understand what the prefix word “extra” in extracurricular really means? Does no one see the irony? Where are our priorities?
Here in Pocatello, our elementary students will do without the services of trained library specialist next year. Our middle schools will have only one counselor to serve the 800-900 students in each school. How well is that going to work? Programs have been eliminated. In a time when China has become our biggest business competitor and partner, we have eliminated the Chinese language classes offered at Highland High School. The district is behind the schedule on upgrading and replacing outdated textbooks. Given Mr. Luna’s brave new world of technology, we are woefully under-prepared and lack the finances to create the infrastructure that will be needed to implement his vision. Our own legislators have told us that we have to turn to the community. Fortunately, in Pocatello we have been blessed with voters who support the supplemental levies and understand the necessity. Still, we are facing these cuts in programs and positions while still playing a full schedule of sports and extracurricular activities, so I again ask, “where are our priorities?”
Lest one think that I discount the good things that extracurriculars do for our students be assured that I do not. My own children benefited from these programs, as did I when I was young. However, given the obvious fact that he State of Idaho, for the foreseeable future, is going to continue to underfund education, do we not need to engage in a public conversation about what we want or schools to do? A community wide public conversation not directed by either the educational establishment or any political party. A real conversation. And should that conversation begin sooner, rather than later?
We could start with a discussion of what public schools are supposed to do. In many of the countries who consistently outscore the U.S. in academic endeavors, sports and other extras are a function of the community as a whole, not the schools. The purpose of the schools remains academic in nature. Games, concerts, plays, competitions occur apart from the schools and are supported by those who wish to support those activities. Perhaps we could start there and ask ourselves how we might move forward in this time of shifting paradigms and politically inspired austerity.
Perhaps the Idaho State Journal, possibly with the assistance of the League of Women Voters or some other neutral party, could take the lead in creating this conversation through a series of public forums in which a cross-section of the stakeholders in our public schools participates. Possibly, there may be a better way to approach it. In any case, we are all stakeholders in our public schools and these decisions are too important to leave to a small cadre of people on Poleline rd. or to the tender ministrations of our State Superintendent and his legislature.
- To the Voters of Pocatello: Thank You, Thank You (billspeasoup.wordpress.com)
- Can High School Extracurriculars Get You Into College? (education.com)
After 10 years on the Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees, Chairwoman Marianne Donnelly was defeated last nigh in her reelection bid. A 21-year-old upstart, Nate Murphy defeated Donnelly by nine votes. Incumbent Frank Rash easily won reelection by nearly a two-to-one margin over his challenger.
Why was Donnelly defeated? Could be a number of factors involved. Murphy had a shoes on the ground, knock on doors campaign and Donnelly seemed to think it was not needed. She has never faced an opponent for reelection. The College Neighborhood Assocationalso had a hand in this and I think that teachers may have played a role. There are many teachers who reside in her zone and they have long memories. Donnelly was one of two board members who voted for a larger pay cut last year and teachers haven’t forgotten that. It is also apparent to anyone paying attention that Donnelly will never vary from supporting every proclamation and utterance of Superintendent Mary Vagner and Business Manager Bart Reed (who some at Poleline Rd. call the c0-superintendent). Strange, for a person who proclaimed herself Idaho’s only elected socialist to continuously side with management over labor.
How will things work out? It depends upon Mr. Murphy. He is inexperienced and this is a difficult job. He will learn. Hopefully he will serve the people in his district and not just parrot the Vagner/Reed/Smart line. After all, all of the board members came to the job without any experience. Murphy seems an intelligent young man and he will learn.
This outcome might serve as a caution for Janie Gephardt, the other board member who sought to further cut employees salaries and who also has rubber-stamped everything handed to the board by the Administration. I believe there are even more district employees in her zone than in Donnelly’s and I know they are watching. Unless I’m mistaken she will be up for re-election next year.
As I was gathering signatures for the recall and the referendums yesterday, I had two older fellows suggest that they would like to shoot our Superintendent. They were joking of course, and when I suggested that this was probably not an acceptable form of protest and suggested that they sign the recall petition, they agreed and signed. I understand their frustration. By the way, one of them self-identified as a Republican.
Consider this scenario, brought to us courtesy of Tommy Boy Luna and the Luna Laws
I’m a teacher who wishes to teach an online class entitled “A History of Labor In America” for our school district. I will teach this from my classroom and it will be offered to 9th and 10th graders in my district. Could I also have student sin my classroom, simultaneously taking this class? No. In fact I couldn’t even have students from my own high school take this class on sight. It must be taken, online from a remote location. If I am at High School A when I teach the class , it can be transmitted to High Schools B, C and D for students in a classrooms in those schools but it cannot be transmitted or taught simultaneously to students in my own building or classroom. Explain that please. Could it be an attempt to make sure that “off-site ” for profit providers(campaign donors) be utilized? Oh forgive me! That would be far to cynical a viewpoint wouldn’t it?
So, while I’m not frustrated and angry enough with this stupidity to encourage the taking up of arms, I am frustrated enough to retire from teaching four or five years earlier than I had planned, and I am frustrated and angry enough to put my energy and skill to work to excise from the body of education, the politicians and haters who afflict us.
Nothing here should be construed to indicate any kind of endorsement by the PEA or anyone other than yours truly. These are my thoughts and opinions and I’ll own up to them.
On May 17th, voters will go to the polls and choose people to serve on the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25 Board of Trustees from zones 3 and 4. Since I live in a different zone, I won’t be able to cast my ballot, but as a teacher, citizen and taxpayer in Pocatello, I certainly have a stake in the outcome. Were I able to vote, here’s what I might do.
In zone 3, I can think of no reason to support anyone but the incumbent Frank Rash. Frank has grown into his job on the school board in this past term. He is thoughtful and has shown some independence. Frank was one of the three trustees who refused to go along with the administration and voted for a lesser pay cut than the bean counters and the superintendent wanted (of course we now know that the PEA was right all along and that the reasoning behind the cut was all political smoke and mirrors.) John Wall, the other candidate in zone 3 has no listed phone number. Little is known about him or what he represents. It doesn’t matter. In my opinion, Rash deserves another term.
Zone 4 presents a more difficult scenario for me. Incumbent Marianne Donnelly is a ten year veteran who has never faced an opponent for reelection. She currently serves as the board’s chair and has performed moderately well. She has experience and institutional knowledge going for her. Her opponent, 21 year old Nate Murphy lacks experience and I’m not sure he understands the dimensions of the job. Still, everyone is at some point young and inexperienced and that should not be an automatic disqualifier. He certainly seems smart enough.
Here’s the problem. Donnelly is, in my opinion, a parrot. She is one of two board members who have never, ever questioned any proclamation or idea to issue forth from Bart Reed or Mary Vagner. She is a tool of the administration and voted to cut our pay by 2% more last Spring. Fortunately, she and and her fellow parrot were outvoted. In a telephone conversation last spring, Donnelly told me that she thought that Mary Vagner has never been wrong. There is a thin line between loyalty and sycophancy. I would have a difficult time voting for some one who voted for severe cuts in the pay of employees despite considerable evidence that it was not necessary
So, would I, at this troubled time dismiss her experience and admitted expertise and take a chance on her young, inexperienced opponent? I’m not sure I would know the answer to that question until I was in the voting booth with pencil in hand.
Great editorial in today’s Idaho State Journal. Here’s an excerpt:
To add insult to injury, full-page advertising smeared the professional organization that spearheads collective bargaining for all teachers. One multi-millionaire had his chance to stick out his tongue at teachers in front of the class.
There are those who think teaching is easy. We’re pretty sure they’ve never tried it, especially in this world of absentee parents and distracted kids.
Just to try teaching, you need a bachelor’s degree and the average national cost of getting it is about $30,000. It’s another $16,000 for a master’s and approximately $25,000 for a PhD. Personal cost doesn’t seem to hold much water with Idaho leadership.
Read it all
300 hardy folks gathered in the cold this evening at Optimist Park in Pocatello. They listened to speakers, waved signs, cheered yelled and chanted, all in support of the middle class and working men and women throughout the nation and in protest against the attacks on their rights and their livelihoods by the Republican Party and its Corporate Overlords. Almost every Union in SE Idaho was represented along with their families and supporters. Chants of UNION YES! and RECALL LUNA rang out. Here are a few pictures
The opponents of the District 25 supplemental levy may not have been able to spell (see picture below) but those who support a quality education for Pocatello’s students could certainly read the handwriting on the wall and overwhelmingly approved a $7.5 million supplemental levy today at the polls. The “ayes” garnered the win with nearly a two to one vote margin, 6143-3303. a huge turnout for a levy election. Ironically, the “no-new-taxes-I-can’t-spell-supplemental” crowd probably spent more in opposition to the levy than their small tax increases will cost them in the next several years. Great news on a day otherwise filled with the bad vibes coming from Boise. Teachers, a great deal of the credit for this important victory goes to you. Thanks for all you do.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” Yogi Berra
A comment today from the ordinarily conservative Dave Oliveria at the Spokesman-Review‘s Huckleberries blog:
“If Idahoans let the GOP get away with its trashing of public education, then all those polls that show that this state cherishes education are nonsense.”
First, you can attend the Pocatello Day of Action Rally for Public Education, Teachers, Kids and Unions on Wednesday, 3:30 until 6:30 at the intersection of Alameda and Yellowstone, Pocatello’s busiest intersection. Wear Black to indicate mourning for Education in Idaho. Come to the Old Fred Meyer’s parking lot where sign making material will be available. Bring Family, Friends and stay for an hour at some time during that three-hour period. Hawthorne teachers are starting us off at 3:30. Have your school come as a group if you can. There will be other union folks and some retired teachers on hand too. Come and let folks know that we are still strong.
Second, the next stop for the bills is the Governor’s Desk. E-mail and Call Otter and ask him to listen to the people of Idaho and kill this legislation. It can’t hurt. you can Contact the Governor here.
Third, be prepared to travel to Boise and testify or contact Senators and try to defeat the Technology bill in whatever disguise it reincarnates. It is still insidious and ill-conceived. Teachers for Laptops can’t be the answer. A change of three votes in the senate would have brought all of this to an end.
The Recall Luna Campaign is starting to gain steam. the official kickoff is April 16th. you can get involved, volunteer, donate, spread the word. If you’re on Facebook, here’s The Official Recall Tom Luna page They’re in the process of creating a web page.
Finally, we can look ahead to 2012. No legislation is forever. Luna isn’t Moses come down from the mount with stone tablets. We can elect a few more friendly legislators and work on repealing and redoing. As Yogi said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Keep on Keepin’ On
Courage and Solidarity
- Blunt force (ridenbaugh.com)