Tumultous times in West Ada: A brief recap

It’s been a tumultuous five months in the West Ada School District — culminating Friday with Linda Clark’s resignation as superintendent.

To recap, and to look ahead a little, here’s a chronology of events:

May 19: Election night brings a shakeup to the West Ada School Board. Challenger Julie Madsen ousts longtime trustee Anne Ritter, while Russell Joki wins an open board race. The elections signal a shift in the balance of power on the board.

Linda Clark
Encircled by district staffers, West Ada superintendent Linda Clark announced her resignation Friday. Employees applauded Clark after she read a brief statement announcing her retirement — and blasting the current school board.

June 23: A divided board votes 3-2 to extend Clark’s contract through 2017-18.

July 1: Madsen and Joki take office. Soon after, the new trustees question Clark’s contract extension.

July 31: Gov. Butch Otter names Clark to an open seat on the State Board of Education. This also becomes a bone of contention, as trustees question whether Clark can juggle her two roles.

Aug. 11: On a 3-2 vote, the board rejects Clark’s recommendation to hire an assessment director, at a salary of about $100,000.

Sept. 3: Trustees agree to pursue a two-year, $28 million supplemental levy.

Sept. 29: Trustees vote 4-1 to rescind Clark’s 2017-18 contract extension, saying it was discussed in an illegal executive session. During a tense school board meeting, former district superintendent Christine Donnell appeals to the audience to launch a recall election against the four trustees who rescinded the extension.

Oct. 2: A competing recall drive emerges — this one targeting Mike Vuittonet, the one trustee who voted to keep the 2017-18 contract intact.

Oct. 16: Clark and board chair Tina Dean meet behind closed doors to discuss ways to build “a more positive relationship” in the district. Attorneys for Clark and the district attend the meeting, which district spokesman Eric Exline describes as “productive.”

Oct. 23: Clark submits her resignation, effective immediately.

Nov. 3: West Ada voters will decide the fate of the supplemental levy.

Sometime in 2016: Clark’s appointment to the State Board will come up in the Senate Education Committee, and the full Senate. Her appointment is still subject to Senate confirmation.

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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