Editor’s note: This is the Post Register’s final endorsement of this election season. Endorsements have already been released in the Idaho Falls and Ammon city council races, and in the Zone 4 seat for District 91.
Two quite qualified and talented candidates have filed to contest the Zone 3 seat on the Idaho Falls Joint School District 91 board.
Incumbent Lara Hill, who also serves as chairwoman of the D91 Education Foundation, was appointed to the seat a little more than a year ago. Jim De Angelis, who taught for a decade at Idaho Falls High School, is challenging her.
The board will be well-served by either Hill or De Angelis.
De Angelis has a number of qualities to recommend him, including his experience teaching at Idaho Falls High School, which would give him a unique perspective on the board as it attempts to retain talented teachers. De Angelis has pledged to work to push district funds toward higher teacher pay, in the effort to recruit and retain the best teachers.
Hill is the mother of several students in the district’s school system, and she brings the perspective of a committed parent to the board. She’s new to her position, but she’s made valuable contributions in her year on the board. That year has given her a good understanding of the issues facing the school district as well as the budget and public policy.
We’d like to pick them both, but we can only endorse one.
Our decision comes down to a few, narrow issues.
Hill remains committed to pushing for a new high school in D91, and given the current state of Idaho Falls High School, that likely remains the best option.
De Angelis said he would have preferred it as well, but he’s convinced the community won’t support it. So he thinks the wiser path is likely to renovate and expand the new school. At the same time, some of his improvements to teacher pay would likely require an additional supplemental levy. We think voters might be less willing to support the bond necessary for a new high school if a large supplemental levy is also in the offing.
Given the state of the existing facilities, we think it’s too early to give up on a new high school to serve the city’s core, and we agree with Hill that it should be the district’s highest priority.
Hill has our endorsement.