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February 13, 2005

School still waits for permanent superintendent

From: Twin Falls Times-News, ID - Feb 13, 2005

By Karin Kowalski
Times-News writer

GOODING -- Students at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind are unlikely to see a new superintendent this school year.

Harv Lyter has been the school's acting superintendent since July 2003 and was named interim superintendent in July 2004.

The State Board of Education is asking the Legislature to designate the school's superintendent as an at-will employee. But the matter was tabled last week until Friday.

The House bill would change the status of the Gooding school's superintendent, the president of Eastern Idaho Technical College and the president of Idaho State University so that they and other employees at those schools could be removed "in accordance with the policies and rules of the State Board of Education."

That means, without stating any reason.

Without the change, the state has to show cause to remove those employees. In the case of former Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind Superintendent Angel Ramos, the State Board of Education went through a long hearing process that resulted in a settlement. In June 2004, almost a year after he was put on paid administrative leave, Ramos agreed to resign from the position in exchange for $150,000 and ownership of a computer program he oversaw.

Some see the bill as giving too much authority to the State Board of Education. Ray Lockary, the Area 2 representative and auditor for the Idaho Association of the Deaf, wrote to the House Education Committee saying he believes the measure is a result of the State Board not liking being told it was wrong when a hearing officer twice recommended Ramos be reinstated. He also said the bill does not increase community input into how the school is run.

If the House bill passes, the State Board of Education might start searching for a new Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind superintendent in June to potentially install one for the 2005-06 school year.

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