GOP Bill in Idaho Requiring Party Affiliation from School Boards Under Fire from Critics

A Republican state representative’s bill is under fire from critics at one Idaho news outlet, who claim that it would “disastrously” overstuff the state’s school boards with partisan hacks, Fox News informed.

House Bill 171, proposed earlier this month by state representative Joe Alfieri, would change the tenure of school board members from four to two years and mandate that all candidates for any school board in Idaho declare their party affiliation or status as unaffiliated.

Being “one of the only areas of Idaho government that runs well,” The Idaho Statesman’s Editorial Board claimed that Alfieri’s plan would amount to “an attack” on school boards.

The law would change school board elections from nonpartisan contests, where voters must focus on issues like qualifications, policy positions, and experience, into partisan campaigns, where all that seems to matter is the R or D behind a person’s name, according to the board.

It went on to say that the fact that most of the people running Idaho’s school districts care more about the technical issues of improving schools than they do about winning favor with their state party bosses.

The board continued by calling the state’s political institutions “virtually universally in ruins” and citing polling that it claimed demonstrated Idahoans had rapidly lost faith in them in a matter of only a few years.

The focus had shifted from pressing issues to “things like pushing transgender kids around and censoring libraries,” according to the report, and the state legislature had become “so dogmatic” that it could not operate.

It would be dreadful if our school system’s administration suffered a similar fate. The board added that since school boards were nonpartisan, candidates had to be chosen based on their ability to perform the duties of the position. If anything, partisan school boards may end up being less competent than the Legislature (if such a thing is feasible), the board noted.

Making headlines will become every school board member’s main preoccupation if the board is made politicized. It was stated that it will serve only as a launching pad for future lawmakers.

The board cited North Idaho College as an example of an Idaho school system that it claimed had previously undergone a “significant partisan takeover,” alleging that the election had been “sufficiently saturated with partisanship” and that it had run the organization “into the ground.”

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