No On Barber Campaign

updated 3/12/2013 at 3:39pm

Holmes Lundt, Barbara Browning and others yesterday formed the No On Barber Campaign. A letter written by them is making its way around the Wood River Valley. Some people report receiving the email letter several times. The letter states:

“Blaine County School District Board of Trustees will meet Tuesday, March 12 to vote on extending Superintendent Lonnie Barber’s lucrative contract from July 2015 to July 2016.  Before they do this, they need to hear from the voters of Blaine County.

“For those who may not be aware, Dr. Barber’s tenure has included:

  • $18 million lawsuit that has resulted from $26 million construction work awarded to McKinstry Corp. by Superintendent Dr. Lonnie Barber on a no-bid basis.  The McKinstry contract could now cost taxpayers $26 million PLUS hundreds of thousands of dollars–and potentially millions– in lawyers fees.
  • SAT scores and graduation rates that are significantly lower than the best districts in Idaho, despite an average per pupil funding rate of over $20,000 per year, among the highest per pupil funding rates not just in Idaho, but in the US.
  • Hundreds of students opting out of BCSD to attend local independent schools (including two that opened in the past few years, despite the poor economy).

“Despite this record, Dr. Barber is the highest paid superintendent in Idaho (higher even than the Boise superintendent, who oversees 8 times more students), with a salary is in excess of $158,000.  He is one of the most well-compensated public officials of any type, anywhere in the state.  In addition to his salary, he gets a free car from BC taxpayers, is paid $9,000 annually toward his retirement and enjoys some of the most expensive health insurance anywhere.  His total package is well in excess of $200,000.

“On Tuesday, March 12,  BCSD Bd. of Trustees will meet to vote on whether to extend Dr. Barber’s contract for one year from July 2015 to July 2016. We ask that you join us in asking the board to “Just Say No” to an automatic extension of Dr. Barber’s contract.

“Please indicate your view by placing “No On Barber” in the Subject line or Message body. Your email address will be entirely confidential.

“The quantity of responses will be forwarded via a single letter to the Board of Trustees prior to this week’s meeting, as a straw poll on the automatic granting of such lucrative contract extensions in such a climate.”

You can also email the Trustees directly:

  • Steve Guthrie:
  • Don Nurge:
  • Paul Bates:
  • Kathryn Graves:
  • Shawn Bennion:
  • Laurie Kaufman:


Filed under News

6 responses to “No On Barber Campaign

  1. Clarification: I did not begin or organize the No On Barber Campaign as was reported in the Idaho Mountain Express. While I am in agreement with it, I cannot take any organizational credit other than posting about it here at BlaineParents.

  2. Parent

    Thank you, Blaine Parents, for shedding the light on this situation. Dr. Barber has never even been interviewed for this job–he was handed it by the previous superintendent. Incredible. The district needs to get a top-notch search firm and GET THE BEST LEADER POSSIBLE. Our district is in disarray and simply can’t compete even with the better districts in Idaho, let alone nationally–despite $20,000 per pupil funding! Where is the board in all this?? Isn’t finding the best leader their number one job?

    This Barber situation is simply incomprehensible…

  3. Bob Hunter

    The top administrators have a line item under the administrators section of the BCSD budget for 2012/2013 an amount set aside for staff training of which their are only 11 members. Supt. Barber is one of the eleven members. This line item has a cost of 250,000 dollars. The same line item
    in the 2011/2012 BCSD budget is only 37,500 dollars , no explanation was ever given for the huge increase.

    • There’s a definite lack of transparency in the budgeting process. If you ever sit through one of their “budget planning sessions” in the summer (it’s more fun than watching a Senate filibuster) you’d notice that few details are ever provided as the “year to date” spending or “actual expenditures” on any given line item. It makes it very hard to understand why and how certain items are adjusted upward.

      The other thing that’s little known in the community is how much excess cash gets carried over year to year, because the “Budget Stabilization” is so generous. Each year they’ve tended to carry over at least 8 figures worth of excess income. The last time I checked, they had well over $20 Million in cash.

  4. WTTU

    You know that all of the school officials are public employees and you can request at anytime their contracts. You can see exactly what all the top administrators are getting every year. More people should request these as it is all public information and the MTExpress should public these contracts every year so votes and parents get to see what the administration of this district really earn in addition to their high salaries.

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