Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra has ignored a request to remove the Idaho Office of School Safety and Security logo from her webpage.
Ybarra’s defiance marks the latest dustup between the two groups as each moves forward with its own school safety plans for Idaho.
Officials from the Office of School Safety and Security — as well as the leaders of several prominent education groups — have complained publicly that Ybarra did not work with them before bringing her own multimillion-dollar school safety plan public.
The issue came to a head Thursday when Rep. Wendy Horman, chairwoman of the Office of School Safety and Security’s advisory board, asked a Ybarra staffer to remove the logo.
“I don’t want to imply this board was aware of until today or endorsed anything in (Ybarra’s) proposal,” Horman said. “I would ask that this is known as a State Department of Education initiative for now.”
When asked about Horman’s request, Ybarra’s State Department of Education spokeswoman said Ybarra will not remove the logo.
“There are no plans to remove the OSSS logo from the list of resources people might find valuable (they previously were – and still are — listed as a resource on our Safe and Drug Free Schools page),” said Kris Rodine in an e-mail to Idaho EdNews. “We did adjust the KISS page to address the unanticipated concern that viewers might see the logo as an endorsement.”
The adjustment Ybarra made was to increase the size of the font that reads “featured resources” above the logo. Although the office is listed as a featured resource of Ybarra’s, Office of School Safety and Security Administrator Brian Armes has said Ybarra did not work with his office to develop the plan before publicly unveiling it.
Reached Wednesday, Horman said she found out about the logo remaining up from Armes and Idaho Education News, and has not talked to Ybarra or her staff about it since last week’s meeting.
“If that’s the case, then I just look forward to having that conversation whenever they choose to call and discuss it,” Horman said.
In an interview last week, Horman said she asked Ybarra’s staff to remove the logo because she received questions about whether the Office of School Safety and Security had endorsed Ybarra’s plans. Horman clarified that the Office of School Safety and Security has not endorsed Ybarra’s plans.
The Idaho Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter created the Office of School Safety in Security in 2016. Ybarra publicly unveiled her KISS proposal at the end of the 2018 legislative session, weeks before she faced a challenge in May’s Republican primary election.
Ybarra has said she will seek more than $19 million in supplemental funding for the current budget year once the 2019 legislative session convenes. The most expensive part of Ybarra’s supplemental funding request is a one-time $18.5 million proposal to pay for school safety and training grants at every Idaho public school.