Who’s on Little’s State Board of Education short list?

In another wrinkle in the search for two new State Board of Education appointees, Gov. Brad Little offered a spot to a veteran Lewiston school trustee in August.

But Brad Rice turned down the governor’s invite.

Brad Rice

Rice publicly discussed the offer during an Aug. 19 assembly at Lewiston High School, covered by Justyna Tomtas of the Lewiston Tribune. Marty Trillhaase, the Tribune’s editorial writer, referenced the exchange in an editorial this week.

Why did Rice say no?

“One of the paramount reasons for me is we are not done here yet. I love this district, what we do for kids and the progress we’ve made,” Rice said, according to Tomtas’ report. “This year and the following year might be two of the most exciting years ever in this district, and I want to be a part of it.”

Rice has been on the Lewiston school board for nine years, including six years as president, Tomtas reported.

Rice has two significant things in common with Shawn Keough, the longtime state senator Little appointed to a State Board position last week:

  • Both have been busy this summer with Little’s Our Kids, Idaho’s Future task force; Rice served on a task force subcommittee focused on school facilities and school safety.
  • Neither applied for a board vacancy — at least by the June 17 deadline announced by the governor’s office back in May. As a result, neither Keough nor Rice appeared on a list of 38 applicants the governor’s office released at the time.

Keough applied in August, but it’s still unclear whether the governor’s office urged her to apply. She wouldn’t say this week, and neither did the governor’s office.

There is nothing legally binding about the June 17 application deadline, and Little is not required to choose from that field of applicants. It’s not clear that Little has moved on from those 38 applicants. It is clear that he has expanded his field of vision beyond that list.

Little still has one State Board vacancy to fill.

To get a better sense of who Little might be looking at, Idaho Education News filed a public records request Wednesday for resumes of every State Board applicant — including, but not limited to, the 38 people who applied in June. Since public agencies have three business days to grant or deny a records request, we also asked Little’s office Wednesday to provide a list of all State Board applicants.

“The governor’s office received your public records request and will respond within the legally established timeframe,” Little spokeswoman Marissa Morrison Hyer said in an email Thursday.

When we learn more, we will follow up.

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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