NAMPA — Four months after being elected to the College of Western Idaho board of trustees, Zone 3 representative April Baylon-Mendoza has resigned. The board accepted her resignation in an emergency session Monday.
“While I am sure there are many questions surrounding my resignation, I will answer those questions simply: I am unable to devote the necessary time and attention that this office deserves due to unforeseen, personal circumstances,” Baylon-Mendoza wrote in her resignation letter. “I regard this role with the utmost respect, and it is only right that it should be filled with an individual whose circumstances allow focused attention to the role without undue disruption.”
Baylon-Mendoza beat incumbent Mary Niland in the November election with 51.3% of the votes and 124,044 votes total.
Baylon-Mendoza said she is dealing with personal matters that have led to her sell her home in Canyon County. She said she can no longer afford to live in Zone 3, making her ineligible for the seat.
She told the Idaho Press her resignation was unrelated to a Facebook post she’d published three days earlier from her trustee account critical of Idaho lawmakers. The post said, “I will always be proud of my Idaho roots and my district 22 but I am officially putting you on notice Representative John Vander Woude and your spawn of Satan Senator Lori Den Hartog. I’m coming for you,” the post said.
Vander Woude and Den Hartog, who are father and daughter, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Baylon-Mendoza told the Idaho Press Monday that she stands by everything she said in the Facebook post. She criticized the two lawmakers from District 22 for failing to support bills in the Legislature that would support low-income students in school districts within their legislative districts.
The Ada County Republicans responded with a post on Facebook calling for Baylon-Mendoza’s resignation and for the CWI board to replace her with “someone who better represents CWI’s values.”
Baylon-Mendoza said she notified the CWI attorney on March 4, a day before her Facebook post, about her plans to resign, and they began drafting the resignation letter then. A college official on Monday confirmed CWI received her resignation letter prior to the post.
“If anyone thinks this has to do with my fb post over the weekend they are grossly mistaken,” Baylon-Mendoza told the Idaho Press in a text message.
Baylon-Mendoza sold her home in the county on Feb. 28, she said, adding that her resignation from the board was two weeks in the making.
CWI board Chairwoman Molly Lenty did not confirm a reason for the resignation.
“It’s a private matter,” she said. “For us, we’re really looking forward to the work we have ahead of us.”
In a statement earlier on Monday, Lenty said, “The Board will be focused on identifying someone from Zone 3 who is committed to upholding the values and ethics that we as an institution and a board hold ourselves to. We are deeply dedicated to the very important work of advancing the College and to serving our students and communities here in the Treasure Valley.”
Baylon-Mendoza earned three degrees from College of Western Idaho and then graduated from Boise State University with a bachelor’s in political science and government. She described herself as a “civil servant at heart” in a November Idaho Press article and said teachers at CWI were influential in her life.
Her main goal when she was elected, she said, was creating more of a community at College of Western Idaho.
“At the time I ran for and was elected to the position of Zone 3 Trustee, I could not have foreseen the circumstances that would ultimately require me to resign,” Baylon-Mendoza’s resignation letter reads. “To me, serving as a trustee for CWI’s Board meant that I could give back to the school that gave so much to me while ensuring its continued success.
“I hope to still be able to support those goals, however, I will not be able to do so as a Trustee.”
Baylon-Mendoza said it was her pleasure to serve on the board. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.
Baylon-Mendoza’s open seat will be filled with an appointment by the board. Zone 3 covers Kuna and parts of Meridian and Nampa. The board is taking applications from Zone 3 residents.
There’s a board meeting at 1 p.m. Thursday, when Lenty said the board will review details on filling the open position. The board hopes to have a new trustee selected in April, Lenty said.
The College of Western Idaho, which has locations in Nampa and Boise, has grown from enrollment of 1,200 in 2009 to more than 30,000 students today, including high school students earning dual credit.