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District 55 patron seeks answers about 'out of ordinary' six-figure payment

August 29, 2012

Patron and former Blackfoot High School teacher Joyce Bingham simply wants to know who was paid (and why were they paid) $105,428 out of the Blackfoot School District No. 55 bank account on July 2, 2012. The payment was made using 'Auto Pay-Zions Bank' (Salt Lake City, UT) and is noted under description as AP Contract Services.
Bingham addressed the school board with her request last Thursday during the public forum portion of the meeting, requesting copies of contracts in which the board issued payments for services throughout the year. She said in particular, the six-figure July payment, appears to be out of the ordinary. According to Idaho Code 9-339, the board has three business days to respond to the request.
Bingham said she received an email from the district's administrative assistant Margaret Contor on Tuesday at 4:19 p.m. stating that since interim superintendent Chad Struhs has been out of town, according to Idaho Code 9-339, her request will be granted no later than 10 business days of the original request.
Code 9-339 reads in regards to request for examination of public records: "If it is determined by employees of the public agency or independent public body that a 'longer period than three days' is needed to retrieve the records, the public agency or independent public body will notify in writing the person requesting to examine the records and shall provide the records to that person no later than 10 working days following the person's request."
Struhs confirmed this information Wednesday, saying, "I've been out of town; I just got back into town and the law allows for a little more time to get the information together."
Bingham, who retired from the district four years ago, said she has a personal interest in this, because as a former Family and Consumer Science teacher she knows first hand how deeply cuts were made within the district.
"I've looked at the budget and I've looked at the cutbacks," Bingham said. "We've cut teachers; we've cut staff hours; we've cut field trips; we've cut so much. I want to know who we paid this money to and how it is providing for the students in District 55."
Bingham said she anticipates receiving the information that she requested no later than Sept. 7.

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