Smylie to resign from West Ada School Board

Steve Smylie

West Ada School Board Vice Chairman Steve Smylie is submitting his resignation following a tumultuous few weeks in the state’s largest school district.

Smylie has served on the board for more than four years and trustees will take his resignation up during a meeting Tuesday, district spokeswoman Char Jackson said.

The resignation is the second shakeup on the board in recent weeks. Last week, Ed Klopfenstein resigned as chairman of the school board but elected to retain his seat on the board.

It’s been a rocky month of October overall in the district.

  • Frustrated parents organized a recall petition targeting all five trustees.
  • Last week, Smylie abstained from voting on the district’s hybrid re-opening plan, which the rest of the board approved 3-1.
  • The West Ada Education Association encouraged a massive teacher sickout in protest of offering hybrid, in-person learning now that Central District Health moved West Ada to its highest COVID-19 exposure and risk category. The district was not able to cover the hundreds of absences and cancelled school Monday and Tuesday in response.
  • Then, on Tuesday, the Idaho Freedom Foundation and a group of parents sued the West Ada Education Association, alleging the sickout was an illegal strike.

Efforts to reach Smylie for comment were not immediately successful Friday afternoon.

Smylie is a former Republican state legislator and son of the late former Gov. Robert E. Smylie. Steve Smylie ran unsuccessfully for superintendent of public instruction against Tom Luna in 2006.

Smylie was appointed to fill a vacant West Ada School Board seat in 2016.

Smylie’s term was set to expire January 2022. The school board will declare a vacancy in Zone 3 at Tuesday’s meeting.

This is not the only school board shakeup as volunteer trustees shoulder the burden of making high-stakes decisions among a deadly pandemic.

Last month Troy Rohn resigned from the Boise School Board after complaining that federal and state elected officials have shirked their responsibilities for addressing the coronavirus and kicking the decisions to local officials.

Clark Corbin

About Clark Corbin

Reporter Clark Corbin has covered Idaho government and education for more than a decade. He’s followed every legislative session, gavel-to-gavel, since 2011. Clark is a co-host of the Extra Credit podcast with Kevin Richert published on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter: @clarkcorbin. He can be reached by email at [email protected]

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