‘Indoctrination’ task force seeks Boise education records. The cost could top $100,000

·3 min read

The co-chair of the task force looking into claims of “indoctrination” in Idaho schools submitted a public records request to the Boise School District that could cost tens of thousands of dollars, the district said Thursday.

The request asked for all Learning for Justice, English Learners and AVID materials, books, curriculum or other assignments that were used in K-12 classrooms or in teacher trainings over the past year, according to the district. It also asked for any materials, books, curriculum or assignments using Nikole Hannah Jones’ 1619 project or the 1776 project.

The school district said the request was made by Rep. Priscilla Giddings, who co-chairs the task force created by Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin looking into claims of indoctrination in Idaho schools. The task force met for the first time last month and has plans for three more meetings over the summer.

The district called itself the task force’s “latest target.”

The records requests made, according to the school district, could involve thousands of hours, with costs ranging to more than $120,000, depending on the scope the representative wants.

“Representative Giddings requested daily assignments for District K-12 teachers — a request requiring individual teacher-by-teacher searches amounting to thousands of administrative and teacher hours to perform,” the district said in a news release. “Per Idaho Public Records Law, Representative Giddings was informed that such a request would be billed in advance for such a costly and time-consuming undertaking.”

The district said Learning for Justice is not part of its adopted curriculum, nor are the 1619 project or the 1776 project, but teachers are “granted freedom to investigate or discuss controversial social, economic and political issues and problems.” To find out whether these materials were used at all to supplement the curriculum, the district said it would have to reach out to more than 1,500 teachers, who would be compensated at their hourly rates, costing more than $16,000 in total.

In response to the request for English Learners materials and lessons, the district said it has students in that program that take part in the general education curriculum in most of its schools.

“On the latter, if you wish to review all general education materials used for EL students in general education classes, we estimate that it will take approximately 2 hours of staff time to gather the general education curriculum of the Boise School District for those classes (2 hours per teacher with an EL student in their class),” the district said in its response.

That is estimated to cost $121,296.20, according to the district.

The district said Giddings could “narrow the parameters” of the request to lessen the cost.

The request comes after the task force has denied to provide information to the media through public-records requests related to its work.

Becca Savransky covers education for the Idaho Statesman in partnership with Report for America. The position is partly funded through community support. Click here to donate.