Regan picked as new trustee - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Regan picked as new trustee

Fills position vacated by Jim Purtee

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Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - School board members in Coeur d'Alene selected Brent Regan Monday for appointment to the district's board of trustees.

Regan's selection was made following a two-hour and 15-minute public interview of three potential candidates, including Christa Hazel and Casey Morrisroe.

The sitting board members - Tom Hamilton, Terri Seymour, Ann Seddon and Jim Hightower - grilled the trustee hopefuls, asking questions that touched on a broad range of issues including school safety, the upcoming maintenance and operations levy that will go before voters in March, the recently eliminated International Baccalaureate high school program and the Primary Years Programme at Hayden Meadows Elementary, and how they will deal with it when they find themselves in disagreement with some of their constituents.

All three candidates mentioned funding when asked what their greatest concern is for schools.

"The greatest immediate concern is the levy and the budget, and underlying that is a structural issue," Regan said.

He noted that a $3 million budget shortfall the district faces is 5 percent of its $60.2 million annual budget.

"I'm an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs have a term for a 5 percent cash shortfall in operations. It's called 'Tuesday,' because we're always operating in a cash lean environment," Regan said. "In fact, organizations are well to operate in a cash lean environment. If they're cash rich, they tend to get fat and lazy and tend to end up destroying themselves."

The "structural issue" must be addressed also, Regan said, so the shortfall isn't a re-occurring problem.

None of the candidates said they would seek to reinstate the IB or PYP programs, each saying the programs proved to be too controversial for the district.

"I don't believe IB and PYP hold a monopoly on critical thinking," said Christa Hazel.

Casey Morrisroe, a Hayden Meadows parent, said he and his wife chose the school for their daughter because they were familiar with it since his wife had taught there for several years, not because of PYP. Morrisroe said they were comfortable with the school's staff and knew there was good parental involvement and a supportive PTA.

"That's, to us, the cornerstone of a good education. You've got to have the parents involved," Morrisroe said.

The interviews took a tense turn when trustee Ann Seddon asked the applicants how they would deal with personal attacks on blogs and in other media.

"I hate to lay it out there, but I'm just warning you. How do you think you'll handle it?" Seddon asked.

After Christa Hazel responded that she knows that things which are written as web comments are often not factual or accurate, trustee Terri Seymour asked Hazel if she had ever called Seymour and Tom Hamilton members of the Aryan Nations.

Hazel said she did not, but said that two years ago, she did question why two trustees had a post office box that was registered to the Aryan Nations. The post office box number registered to a campaign website for Hamilton and Seymour in January 2011 had previously belonged to a white supremacist church. Hamilton told The Press, at the time, that it was a "very unfortunate coincidence."

"Do you realize the effect that it had on our personal and private lives?" Seymour said. "And it hasn't died. It is continuing to go on and on, and it has to do with this very group that you're involved in."

When Hazel asked what group, Seymour named the CEP (Coeur d'Alene Education Partnership), a new nonprofit education watchdog group made up of parents and citizens, including several former board members.

Hazel said she's not a member of the nonprofit.

"Are you going to be able to work with this board, whether you're elected or appointed?" Seymour asked.

Hazel, who has sought appointment to the board two times previously, spent several years on the district's Long Range Planning Committee, and is vice-chair of the Bryan Elementary PTA, said she would be able to work with the board. She said she has discussed the post office box issue with Seymour and Hamilton several times.

Some of the questions asked of the applicants had little to do with the role of a school trustee.

Jim Hightower asked the candidates if they would support a tax increase, other than a property tax increase, to better fund education in the state. If the tax structure were to change, it would be a legislative decision, not a local one.

"I support looking at every and any avenue possible to bring tax relief for our taxpayers and bring adequate funding to our schools. The idea that we're at the bottom of the heap as far as funding public education, and public education is a constitutional requirement in the state of Idaho," Hazel said.

Regan's selection was almost unanimous.

The trustees had a first round of voting in which they each selected their top two choices. Regan was the only candidate among each of the trustees' first round picks.

In the final vote, Hightower, Seddon and Seymour selected Regan. Hamilton chose Morrisroe as his top choice.

The term Regan is completing by appointment ends June 30. He will have to seek re-election in May to continue in the seat.

Hazel and Morrisroe each said they will challenge Regan at the polls in May.

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  • Justin Cottrell posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Dec 19, 2012.

    Justin Cottrell Posts: 157

    Randy, you can do better then HBO, you're a major step above the filth that slimes about that place.

  • Justin Cottrell posted at 6:34 am on Wed, Dec 19, 2012.

    Justin Cottrell Posts: 157

    Congrats Mr. Regan!

    Of course that Dumb Freaking Oaf (D.F.O.) and his socialist band of wrist-draggers will be driveling and spewing even more of their filth now.

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:14 am on Wed, Dec 19, 2012.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Great job Mr. Regan.

    Now let cut admin and give BACK to the teachers.

  • Shocked posted at 9:57 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Involvedparent said it best... Vote this puppet show out in May. This board is downright embarrassing.

  • will-- posted at 8:59 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    will-- Posts: 1202

    "I thought it was Mr. Regan's father, Barry, who invented the stent?"

    Your both wrong, it was Dr. Julio Palmaz who invented it in 1978

  • Mr Kotter posted at 1:54 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Mr Kotter Posts: 13

    Brent Regan was the obvious choice between the three candidates for a board very much interested in great education but not willing to conduct "biz as usual" like the long-running old board. Christa Hazel has demonstrated an astonishing lack of judgment in her blog posts, including irresponsible personal attacks and unjustified innuendos. She gave a nice lawyer's response when asked about her Aryan Nations accusations, with a hair-splitting denial that she made such an accusation, claiming that she "only" pointed out the fact regarding the P.O. box. Clearly, she intended for others to infer that then-candidates Hamilton and Seymour were associated with the Aryans. Ms. Hazel even tried to play the victim's card during her interview, explaining that her family was harassed by the Aryans back in the day -- as if that justified her deplorable posting. So as to Ms. Hazel we have a clear lack of judgment compounded by a refusal to take personal responsibility and an attempt to blame others. She's most definitely NOT trustee material. I'm sure her friends and associates in CDA Education Partnership are very disappointed.

    Casey Morrisroe is very likeable and may be qualified some day to make a good trustee. However, at this point he lacks experience, and IMO was short on specific knowledge and opinions regarding school district issues. His main qualifications seemed to be that he is a quiet, get-along businessman with children in the district and a genuine interest in seeing they get a good education. I say to Mr. Morrisroe -- thanks for applying and get involved.

    Brent Regan had by far the best interview. He was by far the most enthusiastic and interesting to listen to. (The snooze-factor would have increased on the board with either Christa or Casey.) He seemed to have a better conceptual grasp of educaiton and society in general, and clearly brought a broader frame of reference than either of the other two candidates. He expressed a better grasp of finance and budget issues, and was the only candidate to demonstrate the ability to think outside the box, making some interesting suggestions regarding the benefits dilemma confronting the district and us taxpayers.

    Congratulations to Mr. Regan, the board, and everyone in the district. This was a no-brainer, but the result is that we have an exceptional new board member, and a diverse, highly motivated board.

  • lone wolf posted at 1:37 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    Why would Mary celebrate an appointed board member? Didn't she pursue a public vote recently? Didn't she and the KCRR's support the Luna Propositions? The voters did not.

    Looky at whats a happening now! A vote in May, may be too late for our children and their wonderful teachers. Parents and teachersbeware!

    In today's SR.

    "Senator John Goedde, R-Coeur d’Alene, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said of the voters’ rejection of Proposition 1 by 57 percent, “I guess you can interpret that any way you want. They rejected Prop 1 in totality. I don’t know that that means there aren’t parts of Prop 1 that they would not support. And certainly I’ve seen survey data that would lead me to believe that’s the case.”

    Goedde said he’s seen parts of a private poll commissioned by the secretive Education Voters of Idaho group, which hasn’t publicly revealed its poll data or any information about the poll.

    He said he expects legislation along the lines of the ISBA resolution to “move forward fairly early in the process” when lawmakers convene in January. “I think we will get lobbied very hard by members of the school boards association, locally elected trustees, to move that forward,” Goedde said. “And if locally elected trustees are supportive of that, I think it deserves a hearing and discussion.”

    Penni Cyr, president of the Idaho Education Association, said, “The voters have already spoken overwhelmingly. … Evidently ISBA didn’t hear that.” She said, “We took that as a loud and clear response from the citizens of Idaho that the process that was used to bring all these things forward didn’t work, and that we all need to sit down and figure out what is best for education together.”

    Gov. Butch Otter has hinted that he’ll appoint a 33-member stakeholders group to explore where the state should go next on school reform, in the wake of the voters’ rejection of the “Students Come First” laws he helped champion, along with state schools Superintendent Tom Luna.

    The school boards association’s membership voted 75 percent in favor of the collective bargaining resolution, which also calls for doing away with a law that prevents teacher salaries from dropping from one year to the next; reviving a requirement to hold teacher negotiations in public; reviving the portion of Proposition 1 that required all contract terms to expire every year; and reinstating a requirement that unions prove they represent more than half of teachers before they’re allowed to negotiate.

    It was the closest vote among six resolutions that passed; another, proposed by the Boise School District calling for supporting a collaborative approach to education reform, narrowly failed.

    Echeverria said ISBA believes the law preventing salaries from dropping – which the voter-rejected school reform laws had repealed – might force school districts to permanently match performance-bonus payments handed out this year under the now-repealed merit-pay program that was in Proposition 2. But Deputy Attorney General Brian Kane, in a legal opinion sent to Goedde dated Nov. 9, wrote that that’s not the case.

    “Pay for performance is a conditional payment – in other words a school district must meet certain criteria to qualify for the payment,” Kane wrote. “If school districts fail to meet the criteria, they do not receive the payment, even if they have previously qualified.”

    Kane said Monday, “I think the letter speaks for itself. … To me it all comes back to the fact that this is a performance-based payment, which means you have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for it,” as opposed to a teacher’s salary, which is fixed rather than conditional.

    The ISBA’s collective bargaining resolution left out one of the most controversial parts of Proposition 1: Limiting teacher contract negotiations to just salary and benefits.

    “We left that part alone – we said fine,” Echeverria said. “We’ll sit down at the table and negotiate every piece of it you want.”

    She said even in the two years the controversial law was in effect, many school districts still discussed issues like schedules, safety, school days and more during negotiations, even though the law prohibited them from being included in teacher contracts.

    The resolution also left out any mention of ending continuing contract rights for teachers, which give Idaho teachers who reach the three-year mark some rights to renew their employment contracts from one year to the next if they’re not being fired for cause.

    “We don’t have a problem with continuing contracts,” Echeverria said. “We’re not going to touch that.”

    The resolution also calls for allowing school boards to consider factors in addition to seniority when deciding which teachers to lay off. Proposition 1 banned the use of seniority as a factor in teacher layoffs.

    “There may be some school districts that want to use it (seniority), and if they do, we certainly want them to have the ability to use it,” Echeverria said."

  • Mabell posted at 12:59 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Mabell Posts: 173

    Had Mr. Regan attended a board meeting prior to the trustee's position opening?
    I thought it was Mr. Regan's father, Barry, who invented the stent?

  • Mary Souza posted at 12:36 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Mary Souza Posts: 813

    As the highly successful inventor of many robotic implements as well as important medical devices, including the cardiac stent which is so frequently used now in place of full open heart surgeries, Brent Regan will offer a unique perspective on the school board. He thinks differently; he looks at the status quo with an inventor's eye. But he also knows business, money management and the value of education. Great choice by the school board!

  • Martha posted at 12:08 pm on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Martha Posts: 28

    I applaud the appointment of Brent Regan to the District 271 Board of Trustees. Brent brings perspective, practical solutions, and the ability to effectively communicate his ideas to the table.

  • CClavin posted at 10:41 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    CClavin Posts: 221

    I was hoping that Casey Morrisroe would have been picked. He has the business knowledge to common sense to make an impact on the board.

  • involvedparent posted at 10:06 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    involvedparent Posts: 27

    What I witnessed last night was a strange, staged performance by our school board. Brent Regan was the least of three candidates, and yet he was selected.

    Questions were often odd (considering the position) and self-serving. I thought Hightower's question regarding "failure" was a good question to get insight from a candidate, but it was ridiculous that Hightower then turned the focus back to himself and his bankruptcies.

    Seymour's attack on Christa Hazel seemed like she chose this interview to get some things cleared up. Incredibly unprofessional. Hazel handled it well explaining her side of the story and in turn asking Seymour and Hamilton if they could make a fair decision on her interview/application. My head is still spinning by all that transpired, but what baffled me the most was the chastising "gentlemen's agreement" comments led by Sneddon & then interviewee Regan!

    I could go on, but what it all amounts to is VOTE IN MAY!
    SD 271 is amazing and we need a school board that intends to keep it that way. We need a Board who supports our kids, our teachers, our communities --not personal agendas.
    VOTE IN MAY... our kids are counting on you.

  • involvedparent posted at 9:42 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    involvedparent Posts: 27

    What I witnessed last night was a strange, staged performance by our school board. Brent Regan was the least of the three candidates and yet selected.

    The questions were at times odd (considering the position being interviewed) and even self-serving. I found Hightower's "failure" question an okay question to ask a candidate, until he used it to try and focus back on himself and his bankruptcies.

    Seymour's attack on interviewee Christa Hazel was both odd and self-serving. Hazel did an excellent job responding and communicating her side only to have Sneddon and interviewee Regan wrap that up nicely with some chastising comments. Strange.

    We have an amazing school district.
    VOTE IN MAY so that we can keep it that way. We need a School Board that is in it for our kids, teachers, community --not personal agendas.

  • LTRLTR posted at 7:12 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    1. After Christa Hazel responded that she knows that things which are written as web comments are often not factual or accurate,
    2. trustee Terri Seymour asked Hazel if she had ever called Seymour and Tom Hamilton members of the Aryan Nation

    Two great reasons to say "not a chance". Too many times I have read where Trustee Board chairman had to correct Hazel on her blog comments and I was so disappointed in the attempt of playing DIRTY politics by trying to link the Aryan Nations to trustee elections.

  • parent posted at 7:08 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    parent Posts: 347

    Brent was by far the most enthusiastic and interested in how to turn this education mess around. Christa is very informed and involved, BUT she has also dirtied herself beyond repair in more than one instance. I always tell my kids, it's better to admit and apologize BEFORE you are caught. Also, sorry is as sorry does, so let's see how this plays out. Morrisroe was great to apply for this position yet once again and if he was the only one other than Christa then he would have been my choice. Again, Brent shined and he WAS the best choice. Enough with the tears from the left, adjust and get your happy face washed.

  • Shocked posted at 6:55 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    Shocked Posts: 98

    Hooray! Chalk up another victory for Darth Koler!

  • lola123 posted at 6:45 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    lola123 Posts: 348

    A very sad day for the students of SD 271. We can only hope that the voters are better at picking trustees than the extreme currnent makeup is.

  • voxpop posted at 5:53 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    voxpop Posts: 738

    Straight up - Funny, all this playground banter? - Yes. But the fact that the only hard right wanna be was selected was still a foregone conclusion. Gone are the days where the school board's central issue was the quality of education in Cda. Couldn't be happier that my kids finished school here years ago and my grandchildren are being educated elsewhere.

  • COG777 posted at 5:41 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    COG777 Posts: 340

    Congratulations Brent! I know you will do a great job on the school board.

  • straight up posted at 5:15 am on Tue, Dec 18, 2012.

    straight up Posts: 965

    Ahhhhh, Huxleberries Nation loses a seat on the school board.

    It's OK, Ms Hazel, DFO will still slobber all over you and of course will gnash his teeth and spew his standard vile over this rigged Regan Republican appointment process.

    It's all SOOOOOO predictable and funny to boot!

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