State Board vacancy still on hold

Gov. Butch Otter expects to interview four finalists for a State Board of Education vacancy, perhaps by next week.

The vacancy could be filled by mid-April, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian said Wednesday.

The State Board has been shorthanded since November, when Otter appointed Ken Edmunds to head the state Department of Labor.

Shortly after Edmunds’ departure, 24 applicants put their names in for the vacancy. This list included Laird Stone, a former State Board member who now serves as a College of Southern Idaho trustee; Wendy Jaquet, a former Democratic state representative from Ketchum; Gregory Lanting, mayor of Twin Falls; Dale Wheeler, who served on the Nampa School Board until losing a reelection bid in May; Milt Erhart, a former Republican state representative; and Debbie Critchfield, community relations manager for the Cassia County School District and a former school board chairwoman.

It’s not uncommon for a State Board position to remain unfilled for several months, Hanian said.

“This process is not really taking any longer than usual,” he said, “but we should probably also mention that a  good part of it has taken place while the Legislature has been in session, which may have added a few days.”

The new board member would be subject to Senate confirmation in 2015.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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