The allegations that Lakota Local Schools has some teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) took another turn at this week’s school board meeting when members ditched a plan to hire a curricula auditing firm.
Lakota district officials have contended CRT is not taught to students in the 17,200-student school system in response to allegations from Board of Education member Darbi Boddy who claims otherwise.
Boddy, and fellow member Isaac Adi, campaigned last fall on a joint platform alleging Lakota did allow such instruction.
Though less accusatory than Boddy, Adi has been vocal in supporting an auditing of the district’s classroom curricula in order to determine whether CRT instruction is present.
Lakota district officials, acting in response to previous orders from the board, solicited a number of firms specializing in auditing school curricula for CRT lessons.
But the price tag of $82,000 to hire the chosen, final auditing firm was too high for some board members Monday evening and instead a majority of the five voted down that idea and adopted a new plan involving local community members.
The board approved by a 3-2 vote a plan where each member will choose a community resident to join a curricula audit committee.
Boddy, Adi and Board President Lynda O’Connor approved the new plan, while members Julie Shaffer and Kelley Casper voted against it.
Boddy attempted to modify the new plan by proposing each board member could pick two community members instead of one, but her motion died when no other board member seconded the idea.
“I do think it’s important our community values are represented in the curriculum,” O’Connor said in arguing for the local plan.
O’Connor called the hot-button issue for many a “distraction” that is drawing the board and district officials from other priorities.
Adi said “I want to know if it (CRT) is in our district or not. I want to make sure it doesn’t happen here. Let’s put this to bed.”
But member Kelley said the new plan is flawed, in part because “we as a board can’t agree on what CRT is.”
Fellow member Shaffer pointed out the district already has an established reporting system via the Lakota website, and other avenues, for any school parent or guardian who wants to alert district officials to possible examples of CRT instruction.
“I’m comfortable with the current resources we have,” said Shaffer.
No plans, timeline or details were discussed for the new CRT community committee.