BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin has been ordered to turn over public documents regarding her education task force to journalists after a judge found she had no legitimate reason to withhold them.
In a scathing written ruling made Thursday, 4th District Judge Steven Hippler said McGeachin’s attempts at withholding the documents from public view were so baseless and frivolous that her office should pay the Idaho Press Club’s legal fees plus an additional $750 penalty.
The Idaho Press Club sued McGeachin in July after several journalists said they were wrongly denied access to public records about her newly created Education Task Force charged with investigating alleged “indoctrination” in public schools.
McGeachin put out a news release in response to the decision saying "After months of fighting to protect your data, the court has ruled that our office must release personal information on thousands of Idahoans to the media, where it has the potential to be misused to harass Idahoans who speak out on controversial issues."
The task force held its final meeting Thursday night, focusing on public comments and wrapped up with recommendations for the Legislature and State Board of Education.
The task force ultimately made six recommendations to the state legislature:
- "Modify TITLE 33 EDUCATION, CHAPTER 1 (STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION) by repealing section 33-138 and 33-139 and replace it with new language, conforming to the Idaho State Constitution, which relates to racist or sexist concepts being taught in public schools."
- "Recommend to the State Board of Education and the Department of Education that they identify and resolve administrative rules which are in conflict with Article 9, Section 6 of the Idaho Constitution."
- Make recommendations to the legislature to develop laws that prohibit the use of federal grant funds, including but not limited to, the proposed Biden Rule (CFR 34), which promotes the practice of Critical Theories, or any educational model which promotes race-based stereotypes and biases, or makes claims that any particular race or American system is inherently racist."
- "Invite a member of the Senate and House Education Committees to work with members of the Education Task Force to develop more specific policies for the upcoming legislative session."
- "Submit written testimony to the State Board of Education Committees to work with members of the Education Task Force to develop more specific policies for the upcoming legislative session."
- The Education Task Force supports education choice for Idaho parents. One example of education choice is that the Legislature should direct the State of Idaho to establish an Education Savings Account (ESA) for each school-aged child in Idaho. With an ESA, each parent/legal guardian of a school-aged child receives a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts - accessible via debit card - with restricted uses. Permissible expenses may include enrollment in a public charter or district school, private school tuition, tutoring services, homeschooling expenses, online learning programs, community college costs, saving for college, or other approved customized learning services and materials."
McGeachin also said the task force will continue to have conversations about these recommendations.