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Former Blackfoot School District Superintendent Scott Crane issued a brief (but vague) statement following Thursday night's meeting where the board voted to reinstate the $220,000 separation agreement between Crane and the district. Patrons in the district are, again, asking, "Now what?" in what has been a long and drawn-out ordeal for the community.
Crane's statement reads: "I would like to thank my Blackfoot friends and neighbors for their support through this difficult time. I will always treasure the community where Kathy and I raised our children and gave 26 years of service. I appreciate the public's patience as I have quietly allowed the legal process to work. I am pleased that the board voted to uphold the contractual separation agreement."
Amy White, an attorney for Idaho School Board Association, who is temporarily serving as legal counsel until the board of trustees hires a new attorney, cited Idaho Code 67-2347 (Section 6) via speaker-phone at Thursday's meeting, saying that Crane's agreement with the district cannot be nullified, even though Idaho Open Meeting Laws were broken, because the violations were not challenged within 30 days of when the action was taken. White stressed to the board that by breeching the contract, the district would likely face a costly lawsuit brought on by Crane.
Trustee Taylor Johansen, who was the only board member to vote against reaffirming the agreement, urged Crane's attorneys Bryce Lloyd and Justin Oleson (who were present at the meeting) and Crane, himself, to come forward and tell the other side of the story.
"The public needs to know what occurred and why, we as a board, made this decision," Johansen said.
The reinstatement of Crane's contract has left many patrons in the district angered, baffled and asking more questions.
MaLissa Barfuss posted on the newspaper's Facebook page, "How can you file in 30 days on something that was done in a closed meeting, by locked doors that no one knew about? Something is very wrong at the school district and Mr. Crane must know what it is. He [Crane] needs to come forward like Mr. Johansen asked."
Donna Kasteanes asked, "Where's the money going to come from to pay Crane the payment due him in July? We have a right to know why Crane is gone and why the payoff. The kids are not coming first, and now we have to pay for his replacement. A new board is in order."
Some patrons are expressing concern that the ongoing saga of Crane's departure from the district is distracting from other urgent business such as "the hiring of a new superintendent and the supplemental levy election in March."
Board trustee Johansen, who remains the most vocal on the board, siding with the patrons, when it comes to "the public's desire to know the whole story" said, "I hope that he [Crane] will feel compelled to disclose his views on why a buyout was best for the district."