BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s State Board of Education convened for a second time this week after facing criticism for making significant decisions regarding teacher evaluations and dual-credit options without properly alerting the public.
Board President Emma Atchley said that the board didn’t violate Idaho’s open meeting laws when members met Monday. However, Atchley said members agreed to meet again on Friday to be more transparent.
The board was particularly criticized for releasing a vague agenda that did not alert the public that the panel would be addressing bill proposals to be submitted to the Idaho Legislature in 2017. That agenda was sent out just several hours before the meeting started, which also sparked talk of a possible violation of the state’s open meetings law, but a similar alert had been posted on the board’s website several days before.
“Questions have been raised that the meeting wasn’t consistent with Idaho’s open meeting laws,”Atchley said. “In an abundance of caution, the board has decided to make the action taken at that meeting void.”
After rescinding Monday’s actions, the board then agreed to back a bill proposal that would increase penalties involving false teacher evaluation data. But the board rejected a proposal that would have tightened high school students’ dual-credit options.
If adopted by the Idaho lawmakers, school administrators would face a $10,000 fine for intentionally submitting false employee evaluations to the state’s Department of Education and undergo an investigation by the professional standards commission. The fine would bump up to $50,000 for any future occurrence. The change would be tied to the state’s five-year plan to increase teacher salaries.
Several members on the board said that having a week’s worth of feedback on restricting dual-credit classes to general election courses raised too many concerns, and the board decided to table the decision.