CDA School Board Has No Remorse for Actions Against Community, Votes to Put $25M Levy on May Ballot
Yesterday was the anticipated CDA School Board special meeting and I’m giving away the ending: the board voted to put a supplemental levy on the May 2023 ballot in the amount of $25 million per year for the next 2 years. The SPFL levy is being tabled for the time being so only the supplemental levy will be on the ballot.
Here’s the main points from the inside meeting:
Every legacy mainstream media outlet was there: CDA Trash Press, KXLY, KREM2, and KHQ. No reason was given when asked about why they’re all here for this meeting and NOT the last meeting about the girl’s bathroom issue. Lots of excuses mixed with ummms and ahhhs.
No responsibility was taken by Shocker or the board about the failure of the levies except at the end of the meeting Casey Morrisroe mentioned that the in perpetuity part is something he wholeheartedly agrees with but “the community has spoken.”
In fact, Shocker placed the blame on the levy failure on a few different points:
He implied that it’s the voter’s fault for not understanding the in perpetuity portion of the levy, and
They were having “too many conversations and not enough focus [about the SPFL].” No mention on the obscene amount of taxpayer money the school district spent on marketing of the levies (rough estimates put the total close to $100k).
This is the first time in over 30 years that a supplemental levy has failed. (This is Shocker’s 3rd levy that has failed in the 2 years since his hire.)
If the board doesn’t approve a new levy to be placed on the May ballot then they will have to cut 25% of district funds (because the state never provides enough for what they want to use).
Finance Director Shannon Johnston went through graph showing the district impacts with or without a $25 million/year levy.
The Idaho Legislature Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has made some new state-funded education suggestions. All suggestions have to be approved by the legislature:
They are going to fund a teacher salary raise of $6,359/year.
They are going to fund a non-teacher staff (aka “classified”) hourly raise to over $18/hr (up from $12).
Next year they will be going back to funding school districts based on average daily attendance instead of enrollment (as they are for this year).
The school district is running with a $2.5 million deficit, but are keeping their budget knowing they are in a deficit.
It was noted that if the JFAC suggestions are approved by the legislature, teachers will make $10/day MORE than an assistant principal.
District employs 1,371 people.
Human Resources Director Eric Davis was asked to make budget cuts for a hypothetical $25 million deficit.
In these hypothetical cuts, 311 people out of 1,371 will be cut.
Levy numbers were discussed. It was mentioned that although they were touting that the levy rate is going to be the lowest rate ever, Finance Director Shannon Johnston had to admit that because everyone’s assessed property values have raised that owners will be paying more than they had paid in the past.
Note: When that information was called out on campaign materials asking voters to vote NO, Casey Morrisroe and Shocker were quoted in the CDA Trash Press stating that those materials were "bogus," "disgusting," "unethical" and "un-American."
After fear mongering by Shocker, Shannon, and Eric (oh wait, does putting fear into people considered fear mongering or is it just a term for those against the levy?) there were no questions for any of them so Leslie Bjerke started the discussion by stating the facts that she’s gathered:
Allie Anderton piled onto the conversation and read a statement, calling out the conflicting information by Shocker and the guidelines that are not being followed, which apparently happens so regularly that Allie suggests that she may have to start recording all conversations so there’s proof of conflict/deception:
Casey Morrisroe is afraid that the mental health providers will go away and recalls the time 5 years ago (today) when the Coeur d’Alene High School principal committed su1cide which was the start of a string of su1cides within the district.
Morrisroe did mention that he feels that the in perpetuity levy is still a good thing but that “the community has spoken.” No remorse for calling that community disgusting and un-American.
Rebecca Smith and Heather Tenbrink basically said the same thing, “we have to try again/we can’t do noting,” “the levy impacts students, community, businesses,” and “it’s a non-option for not doing anything.”
No remorse for dividing the community, fear mongering in the CDA Trash Press opinion pieces, and pushing off all actual school issues until after the election.
After speeches were done, Leslie Bjerke started the money conversation, stating she was ok with asking the community for $20 million per year for 2 years which was the same amount as the last supplemental levy the community has been paying for the last 2 years.
At this point Shocker becomes agitated and starts demanding that Leslie tell him what cuts he needs to make from the HR Director’s previous list to only need $20 million per year. Leslie responded “I’m not going to pick something off that list today but there are places where we can trim.”
It is noted that the school district has not asked for a levy raise in 4 years, but they have no problem asking for more money while on the verge of an economic collapse.
Casey Morrisroe suggests the board stick with $25 million per year, drop the in perpetuity part, and leave it a 2-year supplemental levy.
Allie Anderson suggests a compromise at $22.5 million per year for 2 years, and use land acquisition funds if they need anything covered.
Heather Tenbrink was nervous about using land funds in case the Coeur Terre annexation is approved (public hearing at CDA City Council TONIGHT, 5pm!).
Tenbrink motions to put supplemental levy of $25 million/year for 2 years on the May 2023 ballot.
Before motion is voted upon, Smith mentions there were a lot of interesting ideas on how to save money that came out of the emails they received in the past few days.
Tenbrink casually mentions that she thinks maybe Allie’s suggestion of hiring an outside finance audit would be worth the money.
The board votes and approves $25 million levy to be included on the May ballot. There was no roll call vote so I can’t be sure everyone voted but it passed with at least 3 votes.
Morrisroe wants the board to agree to look into tightening the budget. Smith adds that she wants to look at areas where they can try to rebuild trust within the community.
As chair, no mention of previous comments by board members and superintendent about how the community is “disgusting” and “un-American.”
Also no mention of how much taxpayer money they will be spending on trying to push this levy.
The public portion of the meeting ended shortly thereafter but the board went into executive session after a 10-minute break. During that break time Morrisroe and Hocker went outside to celebrate the levy with an adoring Yes crowd.
Shocker announced that he and teachers are “standing in solidarity with students” who supposedly organized a walkout for this Friday afternoon, starting at 2:05pm.
We will walk out at 2:05 PM, 25 minutes before school ends; one minute for every million dollars that the school will lose if the levy doesn’t pass, and one minute for every percentage of the budget that will be taken away. It’s important to note that this walkout is not meant to show that our education is unnecessary, nor that we are ungrateful for what we have. Instead, it is to demonstrate that there is no point to education with no support of our community. We cannot have a complete, rounded education without the additional funding the supplementary levy would bring us, and we, the students know this to be true. We will demonstrate our collective agreement upon this by walking on Friday. We invite CHS, Venture, and all other schools in our district to stand with us by participating in a walk-out at their own campuses on March 24th at 2:05PM.
Shocker and YES activists are advocating for students to be political pawns. I’ll be patiently waiting for the CDA Trash Press article denouncing activists bringing politics into schools….