Board passes resolution calling for special election
In accordance with Idaho Code, members of the Blackfoot School District No. 55 board of trustees passed a resolution to ask Bingham County for a special election "on the next available date."
That special election in August will address the petition to recall trustee Peter A. Lipovac. The board voted 4-0 to submit the resolution with Lipovac abstaining.
"Under advice of my attorney, I'm not going to say anything," Lipovac said following the vote. "But, I will be coming out with a letter shortly."
Lipovac has the right to respond to the recall petition's charges on the same ballot.
County prosecuting attorney Scott Andrew said that, despite charges to the contrary, it is his opinion that allegations the petition contains untrue statements, those statements don't meet the test for the filing of felony charges.
"It's up to the voters to decide," Andrew said. "I have not seen one thing that would have been a violation of Idaho Code."
A group calling for Lipovac's removal from the board submitted the requisite number of signatures to the county election office on March 9. The petition alleges that Lipovac travelled to a conference in New Mexico without board approval. It also alleges that he has a conflict of interest regarding his support of the formation of Chief Tahgee Charter School.
Before the board went into executive session to consider their response to the call for a resolution on the petition, five members of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes spoke in favor of Lipovac.
One said the petition is symptomatic of problems in the school district where patrons don't have a say.
Another said she wasn't aware of the redistricting of Zone 1, which Lipovac represents. It has changed since he was elected in 2009.
Maxine Edmo noted that she, as a parent, was "always trying to defend our Indian children" as they attended Blackfoot District schools.
Roseann Abrahamson, a teacher at Shoshone-Bannock High School on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, told board members of her experiences when she first came from California to teach.
She said she attended a cooperative with teachers from Blackfoot School District when an English teacher looked her up and down and said, "so you're the one who takes our trash."
She said students who pass from Fort Hall Elementary, which is administered by the Blackfoot School District, to Shoshone-Bannock High School, which is administered by the Tribes, many could not read.
"Where do they come from?" she asked the board members. "Blackfoot School District," she said, answering her own question.
The board recognized the Blackfoot High School debate team, which initially was announced as the state champion only to be asked to return their trophy because of a computation error.
"We still know they're state champions in our heart," said board chairman Scott Reese.
Brian Moore represented the Environmental Protection Agency in presenting the school district with an Energy Star Award for outstanding energy management in nine of its buildings.
Superintendent Scott Crane and trustee Mary Jo Marlow noted that there was no interest from patrons in the possible consolidation of the Blackfoot Sixth Grade School and Mountain View Middle School.
Crane noted that the annual board meeting at Fort Hall Elementary will be April 26 at 6 p.m. He said district officials will reschedule their annual meeting with the Fort Hall Business Council and noted that the public hearing for Indian Education Programs will be April 19 at 6 p.m. at the Blackfoot Performing Arts Center.
Following a presentation from leaders of a committee which sought public input on the school district calendar for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, the board accepted the proposal to start school on the Wednesday the Eastern Idaho State Fair starts and end it after Memorial Day. Spring break will continue to be a week long but will be moved to the end of March, matching dates with other area schools and Idaho State University. Thanksgiving break will remain three days long and the Christmas break will still be eight days long.