One of the only elected public service roles that receives no form of compensation is that of school board member.
Over the past year, school board trustees have faced lose-lose decisions about resuming in-person classes and sports as a new virus, one we didn’t know much about yet, was spreading in our communities.
Board members were pressured from all sides, and no solution was ideal. If they kept schools closed, students and parents suffered, especially those without alternative child care during the work day. If schools reopened, teachers, school staff, students and their families were put at risk.
As the pressure heated up, some school board members resigned amid backlash and threats of recall.
Trustee Mike Kipp of the Nampa School District has decided to weather the storm. He now faces a recall election on March 9.
Kipp has served on the board since 2019. We have heard no other complaints about his leadership other than disagreement with his votes in September to keep classes fully online and to delay resuming sports. At the time, Canyon County was in the worst health alert level, red, for the rate of new COVID-19 cases.
Even if you disagree with Kipp’s stance, this is not an action that deserves a recall. Recalls are an important tool if an elected official has committed an egregious act or is leading in a dishonest or damaging way. What Kipp did was try to listen to medical experts and make the best decision possible in an incredibly difficult situation.
Residents who are pushing for the recall said they don’t feel represented by Kipp. But they said they were able to meet with him about their concerns and communicate with him over email. Just because he didn’t vote the way they wanted doesn’t mean he’s not listening. Not every vote a school board member makes can align with the desires of each person in their district.
We oppose the recall of a school board member based on their pandemic-related votes. Kipp more recently supported bringing back secondary students full-time after spring break. We see him as someone who is doing his best to listen to medical experts and balance that with the needs and wants of his constituents. That’s the kind of leadership we should support, not punish.