Hemorrhaging is bad news. It can kill fast, especially if not recognized right away. Finding the source of the bleeding is essential. Time is of the essence.
Perhaps it’s because of my midwife experience, but I can’t think of a better description of what’s happening in our Blaine County public school system. We have an enormous overspending problem. We spend $18,000 per student ($23,000 if you count the levy money). Idaho’s average spending per pupil is $7,200. The national average is $10,600.
According to the latest US News & World Report , the two top-performing high schools in Idaho are both in the Boise Independent School District, which accomplishes their great results spending $9,600 per child.
The biggest problem we have is that we have not recognized the problem yet. Most people in the community are unaware that the Blaine County School District budget is hemorrhaging at least $44 million dollars of its total annual budget of $78 million, in the sense that this overspending is not producing any better education outcomes.
Increasing numbers of folks are showing up at school board meetings to protest this massive spending and accompanying poor performance outcomes, asking to at least delay deciding Superintendent Lonnie Barber’s contract extension from two to three years out until this extremely concerning situation is further evaluated. The pleas from the public fell on deaf ears. The board proceeded to vote unanimously to extend the superintendent’s contract.
It’s time for full public outcry. Become informed. Take action. Those of us currently living in Zone 2 (call the school district office at 578-5000 if you’re not sure) have the first opportunity to help accomplish this essential change by electing Kathy Baker to the school board this May 21.