On behalf of students and educators in our districts, we call on district officials to approve budgets that will ensure stable, supportive, safe, and healthy schools for our students.

In the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis, Idaho students have experienced great turmoil and uncertainty. Our public schools should be a place of healing for students and communities as we work through the COVID-19 crisis.  We need to provide students with as much of a stable learning environment as possible with multi-layered emotional supports. Today’s students were experiencing high levels of anxiety and difficulty with mental health issues like depression, suicide, and disruptive behaviors before this natural disaster.  It would be irresponsible to further compromise mental health issues by eliminating staff from schools and exacerbating already woeful student-to-counselor ratios. In many cases, our students’ lives depend on it.

Some districts in Idaho are considering budget cuts that would de-stabilize school environments and, at worst, deny students access to vital services they now, more than ever, will depend on when schools reopen. Now is not the time to hit the panic button and start slashing education budgets. When the school year resumes this fall, in whatever form it may take, students must have access to the fundamental resources to guarantee their health and safety. This includes the custodial services to maintain sanitary conditions, nurses to ensure our students’ health are being monitored, kitchen staff to feed our students, and counselors on hand to step in before a crisis manifests, not after. All jobs are essential.

Idaho has financial resources. Idaho districts have access to CARES Act Federal Emergency Relief Funds, state emergency funds, and in the case of many rural districts, funding through the Secure Rural Schools act. Most districts also have made prudent decisions that allowed them to build sufficient “rainy day” reserve funds.  If a global pandemic doesn’t qualify as a “rainy day”, we don’t know what does. These funds should be used prior to any cuts to personnel and the services they provide. Idaho ranks near last in funding public education, but not because our state does not have resources. This crisis highlights our students’ needs and our collective calling to work together to invest in the schools our students deserve.

We ask school districts to lead, do right by Idaho children and approve budgets that provide stable and equitable services and support for our students.

In unity and with dedication to our students,

John Thomas, Blaine County Education Association

Eva Hale, Buhl Education Association

Ann Glim, Buhl Education Association

RaeAnne Carson, Cassia Co Education Association

Marta Hernandez, Cassia Co Education Association

Kristie Shobe, Filer Education Association

Tina VanAllen, Gooding Education Association

Serena Haga, Gooding Education Association

Elizabeth Torkelson, Hansen Education Association

Jolene Dockstader, Jerome Education Association

Darin Gonzales, Kimberly Education Association

Tina Williams, Minidoka Co Education Association

Wes DePew, Minidoka Co Education Association

Wendy Smith, Wendell Education Association

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.