West Ada trustees question Clark’s State Board post

The tension between West Ada superintendent Linda Clark and her district’s trustees continues to build, as some school board members are questioning Clark’s appointment to the State Board of Education.

linda clark
Linda Clark

According to a Thursday story from Bill Roberts of the Idaho Statesman, some school board members are questioning whether she can juggle the two positions, and whether last week’s State Board appointment constitutes a conflict of interest. Trustees might try to challenge the appointment, Roberts reported, but one school board member questions whether such a move would accomplish anything.

Gov. Butch Otter surprised many observers last week when he appointed Clark to a vacant post on the State Board. She begins serving this month, and her term runs through 2020, but her appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Clark has told Idaho Education News that she intends to stay on as West Ada superintendent, and says her State Board responsibilities should not consume much more time than her previous appointments to state education committees. Clark served on Otter’s education task force in 2013, and served on a followup committee that worked on a plan for tiered teacher licensure — a controversial plan that was tabled when Idaho established a career ladder to boost teacher pay.

Meanwhile, nothing in state law precludes Clark from also serving on the State Board, Otter spokesman Jon Hanian said.

Clark is under contract through as superintendent through 2018, after a divided board granted a one-year extension in June. However, that extension is also under scrutiny, since it was approved before new trustees Russell Joki and Julie Madsen joined the five-member board.

More reading: Idaho Education News digs into who applied for the State Board post, and who made Otter’s short list.