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Rep. Giddings requests public records from Boise School District that would cost over $150K to assemble

Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, left, and Rep. Priscilla Giddings speak during their first education indoctrination task force meeting at the Idaho Capitol on May 27.  (Nik Streng/Idaho Education News)
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, left, and Rep. Priscilla Giddings speak during their first education indoctrination task force meeting at the Idaho Capitol on May 27. (Nik Streng/Idaho Education News)
By Betsy Z. Russell Idaho Press Idaho Press

The Boise School District is responding to a public records request filed by the co-chair of the lieutenant governor’s Indoctrination Task Force, reports CBS2 News, but if she wants to see everything she requested, it will cost more than $150,000, the district said in its response Thursday.

The district says Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who is running for lieutenant governor, requested curriculum and lessons related to the district’s English Learners program and Advancement Via Individual Determination Program, also known as AVID.

Giddings, who co-chairs Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s new school indoctrination task force, also requested all materials from programs that are not part of the district’s adopted curriculum, which include the Learning for Justice program (formerly Teaching Tolerance), the Nicole Hannah Jones 1619 project, and the 1776 project.

The request makes the Boise School District the “latest target” of the Indoctrination Task Force, a district spokesman said. The district said the request included daily assignments, “a request requiring individual teacher-by-teacher searches amounting to thousands of administrative and teacher hours to perform,” a spokesman for the district said.

The school district made the curriculum materials that the district has adopted available to Rep. Giddings, in accordance with Idaho’s Public Records law. The district also informed Giddings that the request involving daily assignments would be billed in advance.

The Boise School District has English Learner students at 48 of its schools. “If you wish to review all general education materials used for EL students in general education classes, we estimate that it will take approximately 2 hours of staff time to gather the general education curriculum of the Boise School District for those classes (2 hours per teacher with an EL student in their class),” the public records response said. The district estimates it will cost about $121,296.20.

While the other materials mentioned in Giddings’ request are part of the adopted curriculum, “pursuant to District Policy 2181, District teachers are granted freedom to investigate or discuss controversial social, economic and political issues and problems,” the response said.

Giddings’ request applies to 1,509 district teachers, CBS2 reported. If she wished to question teachers about the materials, “Each teacher’s time would have to be compensated at their hourly rate, which averages $43.60/hour,” the response said. If each teacher spent 15 minutes reviewing the request, the district says each of the two requests would cost about $16,448.10.

McGeachin’s office is currently refusing to release public records requested by Capital Sun reporter Audrey Dutton including the public comments McGeachin solicited that were submitted to her task force by citizens; former U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson is representing the Idaho Press Club in continuing to pursue access to those public documents under the Idaho Public Records Act. McGeachin’s office has hired a private attorney, Colton Boyles, to represent her in the public records dispute. You can see CBS2’s full report online.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @ BetsyZRussell.

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