Monthly Archives: March 2013

Barber’s Contract Extended by Unanimous Vote

Last night, the BCSD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to extend Dr. Lonnie Barber’s contract, a package worth around $200,000/yr, for another year. This decision came after much public comment noting consistently mediocre BCSD SAT scores in spite of yearly spending approximately $20,000/student/year. The public comment also questioned the quality of the administration’s oversight of the McKinstry construction work; disagreements about this work has led to the current lawsuit between the BCSD administration and McKinstry. Continue reading


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Mid-Day Update: No On Barber, by Holmes Lundt

As of mid-day today, the No On Barber Campaign has delivered a letter to the Board of Trustees regarding the proposal tonight to extend Dr. Barber’s contract an additional year.

Since delivery, Poll Responses have continued to come in on the matter, many with comments regarding the respondents’ specific opposition to this “automatic” extension of such a lucrative contract.  The vast majority of responses have taken a balanced, even approach– very measured in recommending that the Trustees simply “Wait and See” what happens with the District’s copious problems and whether performance improves.  This seems prudent given the issues the District faces.  If the contract warrants being extended, there remains a full two years within which to do so.

Some responses have talked in specifics about test score trends and academic achievement.  Some have mentioned hiring and retention policies, including preferences made during hiring. Many notes have talked about the obvious “elephant in the room” regarding business management of the McKinstry debacle.  That no matter how the lawsuit resolves, one thing is crystal clear:  the District committed somewhere between $18 Million and $26 Million of our tax dollars to “something” without a clear understanding of whether there was even a contract in place. No matter how the suit shakes out, it seems like reckless behavior to place such a large amount of tax dollars at risk without a complete contract.   From a business oversight perspective alone, this seems like a basis to withhold a contract extension for the “CEO”.

By the end of the year, we’ll know much more about lawsuits and test scores and outcomes for kids.  Until then, the community is speaking with no ambiguity:  “Don’t extend the contract until we know more”.

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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. Continue reading


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