First off: It's voting day so GO VOTE!
Today is the day where you let the school district know if you approve or disapprove of how they are running their administration. Everyone in Kootenai County is beholden to a school district taxing district so you are able to vote today. Find your polling location below.
Last night’s Coeur d’Alene School District board meeting was on FIRE with parents coming in HOT during the public comment time. Below is a quick recap of the board meeting with NEW video of NEW students standing up and speaking out against the school district not protecting them in the school female restrooms.
Apologies if you do not live in the CDA School District and have to keep seeing these posts. I believe that Coeur d’Alene is the groundbreaking city in Kootenai County and whatever happens in Coeur d’Alene will eventually trickle down to the other cities. Plus CDA is my hometown so I have an added vested interest in the city. 😉
For a quick recap of the past week leading up to last night’s meeting, please see the following 4 articles:
There was a line out the door of the meeting space last night. Community members were waiting an hour in advance of the meeting in the rain as the doors were locked to get into the room. People were reminded of similar instances a few short years ago when another LARGE issue was not being handled by the board district.
Side note: yesterday my daughter reminded me that it was THREE years exactly since the schools shut down due to “C0vid.” Listening to the district’s financials at the end of this meeting it’s easy to see why they’re hurting for money: declining enrollment, younger teachers, and the inability to tighten the budget. I will add the financial docs at the end of this post.
The longest part of the meeting was the public comment section, where many, MANY parents and community members stood up to share their thoughts on a few different issues:
Inactivity of the school administration for protecting girls in their bathrooms.
Also, we find out from parents and grandparents that their (grand)children knew this was happening but didn’t say anything because they “didn’t want to be snitches.”
The fear mongering and of the school administration about the levies and the obscene amount of taxpayer money spent to “educate” the public.
The most powerful public comment is when Julie stood up to give her testimony about what she experienced in the bathroom and the administration’s inactivity thereafter. She is the brave young woman to repeat her story in front of a hundred adults while being livestreamed to put her in her peers’ crosshairs.
What was amazing and just as powerful is a SECOND girl stood up to give her similar testimony, validating everything Julie had said beforehand. People in the audience were stunned that a second young woman would stand up in public to share her experiences; the audience was murmuring throughout her comment about the shock that this was happening in Coeur d’Alene and awe of this girl’s bravery.
CDA Freedom Watch put both testimonies together into one video in case you weren’t able to watch the meeting last night.
Besides public comment, there were a few comments by Superintendent Shon Hocker about the bathroom incident:
(Please note these are just paraphrased versions of Hocker’s comments, to see his full comments watch the full video here.)
The current bathroom incident is handled and because it involves students we can’t comment on this incident here. (This was before Julie spoke during public comment.)
We have guidelines in place since 2014 that my administration didn’t realize we have and these are the only things we have to go off of until the board puts an official policy in place.
We have plans with the transgender students who have let us know and they have access to private bathrooms if they so choose to use.
We should talk about putting policy in place at our April 11 workshop meeting because we can’t really do anything until the state legislature passes or fails SB1100.
A few comments by Erin about Hocker’s comments:
The school district does not have to wait for the state legislature to do anything; the district has the authority to put a Policy 3281 in place now, similar to the draft version being sent around in the Lakeland School District.
No mention that the office and superintendents did NOT follow the 2014 guidelines when they told Julie that “their hands were tied” and they couldn’t keep males out of female bathrooms. The guidelines specifically state that the transgender person can use a private bathroom instead of the bathroom of their biological sex – it does NOT say that they can use bathrooms of the opposite biological sex and girls have to deal with boys in their bathrooms.
Besides the public comment and the bathroom issue, the rest of the board meeting went pretty quickly. There was a presentation about the Nutritional Services department and what they bring to the school district. There are 8 openings within Nutritional Services so if you know of anyone who needs a job have them check out Nutritional Services and all other open positions here.
There was also a presentation on the state revenue financials and there were a few points of interest:
Enrollment is down.
Teachers are younger and make less salary than the ones who have been with the district longer so the district’s average teacher salary is down.
Enrollment (well, average daily attendance) and average teacher salaries are the main points that the state looks at when determining how much money will be appropriated to the school district.
We will get a better understanding of how much of a deficit the district is in next month because they are still working off their June/July budget and the estimate of where they thought they were going to be at this time. They won’t get the actual costs/numbers until April so they will have a better picture of the district’s financials.
Full financials slide deck available to download here.
There was an executive session at the end of the meeting but the public had to leave for that part. Feel free to watch the entire meeting video to get a holistic understanding of the pile of *** the district has stepped into with their actions. 😊