District stays mum on agreement

From the Idaho FallsPost Register

By Nate Sunderland

An agreement between Blackfoot School District 55 and former Superintendent Scott Crane, made prior to his retirement, is being denied public purview at Crane’s request.

The Post Register and former Blackfoot teacher Joyce Bingham are suing the district for documents detailing the nature of the agreement and a $105,428 contract payout made to an unnamed source the day after Crane’s June 30 retirement.

District 55 officials have refused to release documents relating to the agreement or the payout citing personnel laws in Idaho Code.

There is no direct evidence linking the contract payment and the agreement; however, Bingham’s attorney, Jared Harris, and the Post Register are acting on the assumption that the issues are related.

The Post Register also is seeking public response for an alleged breach of Idaho’s open meeting laws. The Post Register has sent notice to the district of its belief that the school board violated open meeting laws by making an agreement with Crane during an executive session.

The agreement was made April 24 during an 8-minute executive session called ostensibly to consider the hiring of a new employee. During the executive session the board “executed an agreement with (Crane)” according to the meeting minutes.

An affidavit written by interim Superintendent Chad Struhs was submitted in response to the Bingham lawsuit by District 55 attorney Dale Storer on Tuesday.

In the affidavit Struhs writes, “I contacted Dr. Crane and urged him to allow the District to release the requested agreement (but) Dr. Crane declined to do so.”

It’s unclear how the agreement allows Crane, a former employee, to dictate the actions of the school board and district officials.

Crane could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He now serves as superintendent of the Grand Canyon School District in c.

School board members could not be reached or declined to comment on the matter Tuesday.

Struhs declined to comment pending a hearing Nov. 30 between the Post Register, Bingham and the district. At the hearing a judge will make the determination whether the pertinent documents should be released.

From the Idaho FallsPost Register

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