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Idaho legislators reject plan to change Board of Education appointment process

Idaho's governor appoints seven citizen members of the board.

Coeur d'Alene Republican Rep. Joe Alfieri proposed electing members.

An Idaho House committee on Tuesday considered a proposal by Rep. Joe Alfieri (R-Coeur d'Alene) to change the way members of the Idaho Board of Education are selected.

The authority to appoint its seven citizen members rests with the governor. The state school superintendent is also a member.

“When the gentleman on the second floor appoints the members of the Board of Education, that gentleman, as good as he may be, is going to be slightly biased and there is going to be probably a lack of representation from the minority, whoever that minority may be and I would argue that that isn’t fair," Alfieri told members of the House Education Committee.

Alfieri introduced a bill to instead elect Board of Education members by district. He proposes dividing the state into seven geographic districts and electing one board member from each. He says the races would be partisan.

That bothered a few committee members, including Boise Democrat Sonia Galaviz, who said members of the state Board of Education should not be driven by the same political pressures as other elected bodies.

“I am concerned about the partisanship and the campaigning and the dollars that would be spent towards this when we look to the state board to be a steady hand," she said.

Alfieri acknowledged the move would inject more politics into the process of picking board members.

“We have to recognize that most of what we do is going to have a political aspect to it and what I’m looking to do here is to make it more fair, politically, across the entire spectrum and to provide for better representation of the people, rather than going through a bureaucratic structure," he said.

Alfieri did not prevail. A majority of the members of the committee joined Galaviz in voting not to print his bill or give it a hearing.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.