Ybarra’s new red tape committee to meet in secret Wednesday

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m., Oct. 9: Members of the red tape committee agreed on Wednesday to open future meetings to the public and news media, a State Department of Education spokeswoman said. No date is set, but the next meeting could occur in December. 

With 12 weeks to go until the 2020 legislative session, schools chief Sherri Ybarra is convening a new version of her red tape committee.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra

The committee of 18 education leaders will meet in secret, behind closed doors at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. According to Ybarra’s weekly schedule, she is planning to attend.

“Superintendent Ybarra convened the committee in preparation of the next legislative session to help identify opportunities to, as the name suggests, reduce red tape,” State Department of Education spokesman Scott Phillips wrote Tuesday in an email to Idaho Education News

According to a draft agenda of the meeting, the committee will focus on four areas Wednesday:

  • At-risk requirements in statute.
  • House Bill 293, the so-called funding formula “light” bill that creates new enrollment reporting requirements for school officials.
  • Moving the date for the continuous improvement plan (CIP) and discussion of the plan itself.
  • Continued exposure and requirements of training in Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching for teachers and administrators.

Idaho EdNews asked to attend the meeting and write about the group’s ideas for cutting down red tape, but SDE officials denied that request. Phillips said members of the public and the news media will be excluded from the meeting because the committee is not subject to Idaho’s open meeting law. Phillips said committee members will be “presented with the option” of inviting the public or media to future meetings.

Red tape committees are nothing new for Ybarra, who regularly stresses that the State Department of Education is not a compliance or policing agency. An earlier version of the red tape committee also initially met in secret in 2018, until the members voted to open it up to the public.

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The 2018 version of the red tape committee pushed a handful of recommendation to cut compliance reporting requirements that wound up in Senate Bill 1057 last session. However, the Legislature added back in one of the reporting requirements the red tape committee recommended removing — a report of progress toward the previous year’s improvement goals. After adding that reporting requirement back into the bill, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1057.

According to the SDE, the members of the 2019 red tape committee are:

  • Ron Anthony, Buhl School District superintendent.
  • Tamara Baysinger, Idaho Charter School Commission director.
  • Robin Gilbert, Payette School District superintendent.
  • Karen Haines, Inspire Connections Academy principal.
  • Michael Jacobson, Swan Valley School District superintendent.
  • Cindy Johnstone, Vallivue School District director of curriculum and assessment.
  • Heather Luchte, Idaho Division of Career-Technical Education director of performance management.
  • Tim McMurtrey, State Department of Education deputy superintendent for operations.
  • Peter McPherson, State Department of Education chief deputy superintendent.
  • Sandra Miller, Cassia County School District curriculum director.
  • Jodie Mills, Caldwell School District chief academic officer.
  • Wendy Moore, Genesee School District superintendent.
  • Shane Pratt, Rolling Hills Public Charter School principal and superintendent.
  • Mary Ann Ranells, West Ada School District superintendent.
  • Laura Sandidge, Another Choice Charter School head of school.
  • Molly Stein, Soda Springs superintendent.
  • Scott Woolstenhulme, Bonneville School District superintendent.
  • Craig Woods, Emmett School District superintendent.

Of those 18 members, 13 sat on an earlier version of Ybarra’s red tape committee, according to a committee roster provided to Idaho EdNews in 2018.

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