Statesman: New Plymouth faces open meetings investigation

The embattled New Plymouth School District now faces an open meetings law investigation, the Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday.

Several district employees and patrons say the school board and outgoing Superintendent Kevin Barker violated the Open Meetings Law in the process of selecting a new law firm, the Statesman reported.

But one of the district’s newly hired lawyers said legal counsel can be hired without a contract or deliberation in an open meeting.

“Legal services do not have to be bid,” Scott Marotz told the Statesman’s Christina Lords. “They just have to be selected. The firm wears a number of hats, and we provide services to many districts throughout the state.”

Marotz works for Anderson, Julian and Hull, which has performed about $41,300 in legal services for New Plymouth, the Statesman reported.

Trustees and Barker have been at odds with some patrons and the New Plymouth Education Association for months — a dispute that centered on Clete Edmunson’s departure as high school principal.

Barker for months resisted calls for his resignation, and trustees publicly backed the superintendent. But Barker abruptly agreed to resign in late April, and he will receive a lucrative buyout that includes $400,000 from a entity controlled by local businessman Scott Moscrip.


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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