© 2024 Boise State Public Radio
NPR in Idaho
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

West Bonner School District nears finalizing superintendent contract

 West Bonner School District Board of Trustees
West Bonner School District
West Bonner School District Board of Trustees meet on Monday, June 26 as they inch closer to finalizing a contract for the district's new superintendent.

The West Bonner School District Board of Trustees is inching closer to finalizing a contract with their pick for superintendent – a far-right political operative with no experience in education management.

Trustees opened Monday night’s meeting with a split 3-2 vote, allowing board chair Keith Rutledge to move forward a proposed contract from a subcommittee for Branden Durst as superintendent.

Durst, a former Boise Democratic lawmaker, resigned in 2013 after reports questioned whether he lived in his district or in western Washington.

He’s since worked for far-right lobbying groups like the Idaho Family Policy Center and Idaho Freedom Foundation.

The board would still need to approve the agreement before it’s finalized, which is scheduled for debate on Wednesday night.

As Idaho Education News reports, Durst would also need to obtain an emergency certificate to work as a superintendent from the State Board of Education.

Overall, Monday’s board meeting came in fits and starts.

Rutledge took multiple breaks in a back room during discussions about hiring an outside lawyer, each time leaving with his phone in-hand.

Trustee Carlyn Barton confronted Rutledge about his recesses.

“I would also like to have you disclose who you’ve been on the phone with, communicating with,” Barton said.

“I haven’t been talking to anybody,” Rutledge replied, with audience members vocally pushing back.

He then took a fourth, five-minute recess.

Barton unsuccessfully tried to select a lawyer through a competitive bidding process. Instead, it’ll be up to Rutledge’s discretion.

All of this comes amid budget trouble in the school district. Voters there rejected a $4.7 million supplemental levy in May, leading trustees to slash extra-curriculars and sports in next school year’s budget.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2023 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

You make stories like this possible.

The biggest portion of Boise State Public Radio's funding comes from readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

Your donation today helps make our local reporting free for our entire community.