Education: Why the Caldwell School Board Acted

by Judy Ferro

The current turmoil over the removal of Tim Rosandick as Caldwell Superintendent of Schools could be the poster child for open meetings. I think I know the gist of what happened, but, then, so do former Associate Superintendent Chuck Randolph and Russ Beardsley, leader of the effort to recall Trustees Amy Rojas and Leif Skyving.

And we don’t agree.

I have a lot of respect for Randolph, Beardsley, and others who’ve spoken out on this issue so I’ll set out what I do know and invite response.

-As Randolph pointed out, no firing offense, criminal or financial, was involved. If so, Rosandick and Asst. Supt. Asumendi would not be receiving pay for the coming year.

-The fact that the announcement was not expected, doesn’t mean that the decision was a hurried one. Agendas indicate that, in the six months prior to Rosandick’s dismissal, there had been six regular board meetings and 12 special ones, most of which had gone into executive session. In hindsight, these numbers suggest a serious, on-going concern.

-A mutual decision was reached. Rosandick and Asumendi agreed to the change in assignment. Legally, they can speak out, but they have chosen not to. This could be to protect their own reputations and/or to minimize the damage to morale in the Caldwell schools.

-None of the trustees have spoken out on the reason for the decision, but Amy Rojas has stated that “all five trustees were unanimous before the public vote.” (IP-T, July 24, 2015.) Trustees Sandra Dodson and Chuck Stout have not disputed this. Rojas’s truthfulness has been established during nearly eight years on the school board.

-When the Northwest Nazarene faculty were upset about a decision by their administration, they met and voted no confidence. The lack of similar action by Caldwell administrators and teachers suggests either that they are not greatly upset or that they have a greater fear of retaliation than those at NNU. The fact that not a single current district employee has spoken out is surprising.

-Discussing personnel issues publicly can lead to lawsuits every bit as expensive as the board’s agreement with Rosandick and Asumendi. It can also ruin careers. Neither public nor private enterprises make such matters public. One can wonder if anyone would want to work for a school district that did so.

-On-going recall movements against two of the trustees that supported the change will make it more difficult to recruit a new superintendent. Do we want someone desperate enough to walk into such a volatile situation?

Mr. Beardsley has imagined a scenario where the contract change was engineered overnight by two trustees. He recently told KBOI TV that Skyving and Rojas got rid of Rosandick and Asumendi “for no reason.” Did he somehow attend all the board’s closed executive sessions? Or did he use a crystal ball.” A Ouija board?

And are we to assume that Trustee Tom Briten went along with the pair “for no reason” at all? Although Idaho law forbids filing a recall until 90 days after a person’s election, Beardley’s failure to mention Briten’s involvement suggests that he wishes to attack only the two senior members of the board.

Is that really more logical than accepting that the board reacted to a situation they felt would damage Caldwell schools?

Was there a crisis in the Caldwell School District? I challenge you to ask someone who works for the Caldwell School District. Ask someone who trusts you and is willing to speak openly with you.

You might be surprised by what you learn. I was.