Otter set to interview State Board candidates

Once he returns to Idaho on Sunday, Gov. Butch Otter will work to fill the vacancy on the State Board of Education that will be left by Ken Edmunds’ departure. Otter is out of the country participating in a trade mission to Russia.

edmunds
Ken Edmunds

Otter appointed Edmunds to become director of the Idaho Department of Labor on Nov. 15. Edmunds, who has served on the State Board since 2008, will start his new job on Monday.

“We try to fill these positions as soon as possible, but that has to allow for a complete and comprehensive process of interviewing interested candidates,” Otter’s press secretary, Jon Hanian, said.

Several candidates have already signaled their interest in the education post, said Hanian, who did not identify any possible successors.

The seat currently held by Edmunds expires in 2018.

The eight members of the State Board include Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.

Edmunds hails from Twin Falls, and Otter will likely attempt to maintain geographic diversity on the board with the new appointee, Hanian said. Other members of the State Board live in Ashton, Boise, Moscow, Twin Lakes and Preston.

Otter’s appointee will need to be confirmed by members of the Senate Education Committee during the upcoming legislative session that opens Jan. 6

Although members of the State Board serve as the Board of Trustees for Idaho’s four- year colleges and universities, they also provide oversight and governance of K-12 public schools.

On Wednesday, State Board members unanimously voted to formalize previously announced plans to keep existing Five Star State Ratings in place for another school year, administer a field test version of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test and drop the Idaho Standards Achievement Test.

The move was necessary to avoid administering both tests to students this year, which state officials said would have led to testing fatigue. It was necessary to extend the existing Five Star State Ratings for another year because the SBAC field tests will not be tied to accountability this spring.

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