With a new year comes a new semester at the Payette School District, a new member of the Board of Trustees, Terrie Cathcart-Shurte who was appointed to take over for outgoing board member Elisa Massoth-Gray, and the beginning of a new term for Candita Strong who has served since 2015.

First item on the agenda at the board’s 2020 annual meeting on Jan. 13 was to choose who would be board chairman, a role that is nominated every year. Board member Adam Rynearson served as chairman in 2019.

Ethan Mittlestadt talked about how the position of chairperson should be shared from time to time.

“I’m a big proponent of term limits and I think whoever is chairman of the board should be subject to that type of thought process,” said Mittlestadt, saying that rotating the position among board members would help put the community at ease about those leading their schools. 

Andy Kirkendall expressed concern about the responsibility involved in being chairperson.

“I like the idea of having more training going into it,” said Kirkendall.

Candita Strong pointed out that the role takes time to grow into.

“I agree that we should probably look at changing out the role of chairman at some point. I just think that … if we don’t have the training or the ability to really manage the meeting yet,” Strong said that change shouldn’t be rushed.

Rynearson agreed that the role is tough, while noting the role bears no more power than any of the others.

“It does take quite a bit of time,” to be able to lead, Rynearson said noting he wasn’t expecting to even serve on the board for the six years he has. “A chairman really doesn’t have any more authority.”

Newcomer Terrie Cathcart-Shurte noted that it was most important that whoever took on the role would need to be willing to lead.

“I think that if someone is willing to step up and do that, someone who’s been on the board for a while, that’s something to consider,” she said.

Mittlestadt nominated Rynearson to the role of chairperson for one more year. Kirkendall seconded. Cathcart-Shurte asked Rynearson if he wanted to continue in the role, he said he did. The sustaining vote was unanimous.

Board nominations

Mittlestadt nominated Candita Strong for the role of Vice chairman, to cover for Rynearson whenever he is away and cannot conduct a meeting. Kirkendall seconded. This vote was also unanimous.

Appointments to standing committees included:

- Kirkendall as finance chairman

- Strong to serve on finance committee, as well as strategic planning committee

- Rynearson as negotiations chairman

- Cathcart-Shurte to serve on negotiations committee

- Mittlestadt to serve as chairman on strategic planning committee

Members assigned to ‘all the schools’

A concern about assigning board members to school sites was raised by clerk Barbara Choate.

Mittlestadt expressed the potential for individual bias in being assigned to individual schools.

Rynearson agreed, noting the potential for the community to see such bias. As such, he decided against assigning board members to individual schools, saying the board members’ school assignments would be “all the schools.” 

Meeting dates and times were also set at the meeting, continuing to hold the monthly Board of Trustees meetings in the Galleon Room at Payette Alternative School every second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.

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