By Troy Lambert
There have been many disturbing things about the recent school levy failure and the aftermath. A board member at least guilty of ethics violations, if not worse; misinformation; and an insinuation of misappropriation by an unnamed high school teacher that somehow justifies removing funding from the entire district, already financially strapped.
I’m not saying there isn’t room for improvement and a need for additional oversight. Far from it. And I plan to be a part of that process. I’m not saying there are not better long term solutions than a levy. I really do get that. But two things stood out in the meeting the other night, and discussions since.
First an individual stood Wednesday and stated that as a political scientist, he was “disturbed” that the board was running a levy again that had been so recently defeated. It almost sounds sensible, until you factor in a couple things. First, the possible ethical violations by a school board member that very well may have tainted the results almost demand the initiative be offered again to better informed voters. Also it begs investigation. As a political scientist, the insinuation of probable corruption close to an election should be even more disturbing.
Not to mention re-running the levy is legal: districts can run initiatives up to four times a year. As the levy in March was the first, running a second in May violates no law or ethical standard. In fact it seems vital to do so in light of recently revealed information. So it is difficult to understand the “concern” this raises to a political scientist.
Second, the idea was presented, and rebutted well by several who spoke, that learning materials should somehow be a higher priority than teachers. My mom taught Christian school for 32 years, much of that in Southern Idaho. This means two things: first, we ate a lot of potatoes, and second I often heard the words “you can’t have any of that. It’s for my class.” My mom spent tons of her own money on supplies, and as a single parent or two boys she had little or nothing to spare.
Over the years, hundreds of students and parents have thanked her for her work, and the great influence she had on the children who were privileged enough to sit in her classroom. However, not one thanked the textbook, the computer, the extra pencils, treats, or bulletin boards she labored so hard to produce. They thanked HER for things SHE said, the way SHE explained things so children could understand. My mom is a hero in that way. Supplies, a building and textbook did not make the lasting impact on students. A person did, and good people cost money to hire and retain. More money than supplies.
There is much more I could say: how my own children could be affected; how sad I would be to leave Kuna after being here such a short time. I like the small town feel and closeness of this community, but I can’t sacrifice my son’s education for my own comfort. How this can affect real estate values, quality of neighborhoods, and the future growth Kuna seems to desire.
But the most important point is people matter. At the end of whatever decision the public reaches regarding the levy in May are people: teachers, children, business owners, and others. If you think it won’t affect you or someone you know, you are wrong. Support the levy in May, and support our children’s education and our future. Better long term solutions are out there, on both a state and federal level. So after you pass the levy, get involved. Be a part of the solution instead of creating a bigger problem.