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Idaho ed board says no do-over in process of approving UI purchase of University of Phoenix

Courtesy Idaho Board of Education

Idaho’s Board of Education says it will not reconsider whether the University of Idaho should be allowed to buy the for-profit college, University of Phoenix.

The board on Friday refused a request by Attorney General Raul Labrador. He has threatened to sue over what he contends are violations of public meetings law. He says the board held three closed door executive sessions this spring to talk about the Moscow school’s plan to buy the University of Phoenix for $550 million. But he says the board never gave the public a chance to comment before endorsing the purchase.

Attorneys for the board argue the panel was exempt from public meetings requirements because it was discussing ongoing negotiations.

Labrador said he would forgo the lawsuit if the board went back and had those discussions again in public.

But the board decided during a special meeting Friday that it had acted properly. Afterward, board President Linda Clark read a short statement: “The attorneys engaged in this transaction determined that the exemption applied. Even now, with the benefit of hindsight and analysis, we believe the exemption applies. Therefore, no violation occurred and no cure is necessary.”

That’s legal-speak for “we don’t need to do anything over.”

If Labrador sues, the board says it plans to hire an outside attorney, rather than be represented by the attorney general’s office. And it plans to ask Labrador’s office to pay its legal costs.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.