Three key staffers leaving Ybarra’s SDE

One of schools chief Sherri Ybarra’s deputies, her spokesman and transportation director are all leaving their positions as the new school year approaches.

Meanwhile, another member of her team is taking on an expanding role and her chief policy officer continues to be employed by an outside temporary employment agency, not by the State Department of Education.

The departures include:

  • Marcia Beckman, deputy superintendent overseeing federal programs, left the SDE on Monday after her position was eliminated. Beckman is an 11-year veteran of the SDE, having served under Ybarra, Tom Luna and Marilyn Howard. Beckman has served as a deputy superintendent for federal programs since March 2015.
  • Jeff Church, Ybarra’s press secretary, is leaving the SDE on Aug. 11. Church originally joined the SDE in July 2012 under Luna. Ybarra promoted him to chief communications officer in March 2015. Church said he has accepted a technology-focused role at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “My time at the department was a great experience, working with really good people — internally, and also all of the amazing educators throughout the districts,” Church said.
  • Doug Scott, director of transportation, is leaving his position on Aug. 25. Scott was first hired in December 1998 to serve as a regional transportation specialist. He was promoted to director in February 2014. Scott voluntarily accepted a transportation specialist position in Region Four in order to be closer to his family, the SDE announced.

In other news, Karlynn Laraway, the SDE’s director of accountability, is taking on an expanded role as the state begins to implement its plan to comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Along with the expanded role, Laraway earned a new job title — director of assessment and accountability.

Duncan Robb

Chief policy advisor Duncan Robb has signed a new temporary staffing contract to continue in his current role. Just as last year, Robb is employed by an out-of-state temporary employment services agency named DePaul Industries. Robb is set to make $105,000 a year, payable in weekly installments. That represents a 5 percent raise from last year. As part of the agreement, DePaul charges the state and its taxpayers a 35 percent “mark-up fee” on top of Robb’s salary.

Last year, SDE officials said they chose to pursue this arrangement, rather than the much more traditional route of hiring Robb as a full-time state employee, because Ybarra used up the staffing allocations lawmakers appropriated for salaries.

Robb is the only member of Ybarra’s leadership team that is employed under such an arrangement, and DePaul got the deal under a no-bid contract from Ybarra’s SDE.

Church said SDE leaders have discussed Robb’s contract arrangement, and continue to be comfortable with the terms.

“…There have been ongoing conversations about Duncan’s position and potentially rolling it into a state position,” Church said. “At the current time, Duncan will remain on contract through the temp agency. This provides the needed flexibility to deliver on items, which may not be specifically listed within his contract. The administration remains comfortable with the contract given Robb’s performance in his role, and because of the working relationship with DePaul Services.”

It is fairly common for state employees and educators to shuffle their roles and to accept and leave positions in July and August. The state’s budget year begins July 1, signaling a natural time to make a move. Even at the local district level, many superintendents and staffers take on new roles, change districts or retire over the summer.



Clark Corbin

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