School Board Meeting 2/21


Sabrina McGuire, Print Editor

On February 21, a school board meeting was held at 6:00 PM. 

During the public comments session of the meeting, nine speakers raised their own concerns to the board.

JMS Teacher Neal Patel addressed concerns over the non-profit organization Turning Point USA, which is attempting to branch out as a club to Johnston. Board members Clint Evans and Deb Davis have both shown support to the organization by attending a kick off event. “Turning Point has a history, long standing and long documented – as we heard at our last school board meeting – of making bigoted, racist social media posts by either members and their leaders,” said Patel. “The problem is not a conservative group. It’s that this group does not do a good job of preparing its members to have those tough conversations at the college level and by bringing them into the district, we are endorsing a lot of the bigoted hate comments that have been said before.”

Other speakers, such as City Council members Bryan Burkhardt and Suresh Reddy, brought up concerns over the Senate Study Bill 3080 about “Student First Scholarships”, calling for the board to oppose the bill.

Throughout the course of the meeting, the board moved to change the day to report COVID numbers from both Wednesday and Friday to just Friday. 

ISASP tests will be taken April 4 through April 22 this year for third grade through eleven. This year, the test will consist of the same questions for every student, but will change difficulty based on how the student answers each question. Practice tests will begin in March. An online portal will be available to view the student’s test results. The Conditions of Learning test will be given in April to students third grade to twelfth, families and teachers. The survey will ask participants about topics such as bullying, safety of the school, engagement with teachers and students and more. 

President Katie Fiala moved to oppose Senate Study Bill 3080. With a heated discussion of the bill and the topic of vouchers, Clint Evans and Deb Davis spoke to defend their points of view, as well as address the backlash they received from the support they showed to Turning Point USA. “My commitment has stood firm,” Evans said. “Yes, I was at a meeting of a group that wants transparency. I want transparency.” Following Evans, Davis spoke outwardly about the possible bias in the school board. “We are allowed to be members of conservative or liberal organizations,” Davis said.

The next school board meeting will be on March 7 at 6:00.