Monday, April 22, 2024

Vote yes on recall of WBCSD trustees

| August 20, 2023 1:00 AM

I am a 1970 graduate of Priest River Lamanna High School. The solid common core curriculum here enabled me to obtain dual degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Idaho in 1974. After earning a law degree in 1977 and practicing law, I was elected to the Seattle Municipal Court, where I retired after 28 years as a judge. As a Bonner County property owner for over 30 years, I support the recall campaign. I urge community members to vote to recall WBCSD trustees Keith Rutledge (Zone 4) and Susan Brown (Zone 2).

Students deserve the promise of a taxpayer-based, free public education. In the early 1800s, Horace Mann solidified efforts by Thomas Jefferson and John Adams to create a unified school system with a common curriculum devoid of sectarian influences. They knew this was essential for the preservation of the young republic. A standardized education would ensure a citizenry that would knowledgeably participate in civic life, regularly vote to protect rights and freedoms, and recognize and resist tyranny and demagogues. Voters have an opportunity to do just that on Aug. 29, 2023.

Reports of violations of open meeting laws, refusal to recognize the free speech of anyone opposed to the board majority, armed escorts for the hand-selected carpetbagger candidate for superintendent, summary decision-making with no advance notice, lack of transparency for actions, and pushing a community member who dared to question the majority are shocking. Voting to appoint an unqualified superintendent who is applying to the Board of Education for a certificate is disturbing. Voting to pay him a $110,00 salary with additional benefits is irresponsible and arguably malfeasance. I urge people to write immediately to the Idaho Board of Education to reject Mr. Durst’s application.

The hijacking of our school district by so-called ‘Priest River Patriots’, is appalling. They are bullies who are disregarding the needs of the students. Mocking the parents of special-needs children is especially cruel. The idea that my old high school might be sold to a friend of trustee Rutledge to create a charter or fundamental Christian school is reprehensible. And passing over longtime resident Susan Luckey as superintendent clearly illustrates the agenda of Mr. Durst’s Idaho Freedom Foundation, whose marching orders he is clearly following.

Implementation of the Hilldale’s classic education curriculum would be a disaster for the future prospects of the children of West Bonner County. My father, Fred Fumio Kondo, practiced law in Priest River until his death in 1970. He graduated from Priest River High School in 1937. After finishing his first year of law school at the University of Idaho, he and some of his local Italian buddies enlisted in the Army. As a member of the 100th Artillery Battalion attached to the famous 442nd Regimental Combat Unit, he used the math and geometry skills he learned here to place artillery shells ahead of his comrades fighting on the ground. His German fluency and written English language skills were recognized, and he was assigned to the Allied headquarters near Berlin to translate German documents, communicate with German POWs, and write reports to commanding officers.

Four of his brothers and sisters and my three sisters also graduated from the Priest River school system. My sisters went on to successful careers in law, business, and finance. Mrs. Ballbach’s typing class was invaluable to learning keyboarding as computers became necessary tools for writing my legal opinions.

My dad had this quote from Abraham Lincoln in his law office: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Please vote Aug. 29 to ensure that current and future students have the opportunities to develop their unique skills and talents. The schools need a broad-based and solid core curriculum with sports, language, music, arts, vocational skills, and subjects that will prepare them for the future. Whether students stay in the community or leave the area, we need to create an educated populace who will recognize when local boards are being taken over by bullies and tyrants.

My dad fought these fascists and Nazis in Italy and Germany. Now is the time to fight them here on our home front. What the majority board is doing is un-American and must be stopped.