INTERVIEW: Sherri Ybarra talks re-election bid, responds to criticism

Image Courtesy: Idaho Department of Education via YouTube

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Sherri Ybarra

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra talked about her bid for re-election during an interview with KID NewsRadio on Tuesday, August 14.

“My track record speaks for itself,” Sherri Ybarra told KID NewsRadio. “The last four years we’ve increased graduation rates, we’ve gotten nearly hundred million dollars in education every year. Since I took office our test scores are increasing, more kids are taking college credit while still in high school, which has saved our families hundreds of thousands of dollars in college costs.”

Ybarra also responded to criticism from her opponent about her attendance record. According to Idaho Education News, Ybarra has been absent for 12 board meetings since 2015. The only other board member who missed more meetings than Ybarra was fellow board member, Andy Scoggin. But, Ybarra said the criticism come from a lack of understanding about those specific meetings.

“[As Superintendent of Public Instruction,] you serve as a member of state board, you serve on the land board, you are chairwoman for Idaho Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, and you’re also, like I said, one of the largest state agencies with over 141 employees as well as the students of Idaho and all the districts. So, you have to balance your schedule and what they’re referring to is our state board meetings are those last-minute special board meetings that only require a 24-hour notice.”

Sometimes those meetings, Ybarra said, directly conflicted with other meetings planned far in advance of the last-minute state meetings. When faced with a choice, she said, Ybarra chose to meet with constituents and or attend state meetings.

“When you serve the entire state of Idaho, and you’re a constitutional officer and you set your schedule to meet with constituents, a last-minute, 24-hour state board meeting does not become something that you cancel a constituents meeting that’s been on your schedule,” Ybarra said. “One example of a priority choice was me being in the state-of-the-state budget address versus a last minute state board meeting. So, that just proves the lack understanding and the infancy stage of the knowledge based that this particular person has moving forward, a real lack of understanding or where your priorities are going to lie running such a large agency and having a position that affects all students and school in a state Idaho health.”