Two Coeur d’Alene school board members resign, effective immediately

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Two members of the Board of Trustees for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools announced they are stepping down, effective immediately.

In a letter to parents, the board announced Chair Jennifer Brumley, who serves Zone 4, and Trustee Tambra Pickford, serving Zone 3, have expressed their intent to resign.

“It has been my honor to represent this community and serve our students, families and educators as a member of the Coeur d’Alene School Board these past three years,” Brumley said. “Although my term will end this December, I have decided to leave the board early to focus on professional and family priorities. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees this year, and I am proud of the positive change the board and district administration have worked on together since 2018. I am hopeful that momentum continues as we strive for excellent public schools with strong community support.”

This week, Brumley sent a letter to families, announcing the school board had decided to move its upcoming meeting to Zoom due to safety concerns.

A meeting to discuss mask mandates was postponed the previous week as protesters gathered outside the district building, which also prompted the building to go into lockdown.

In the letter, Brumley said she watched media reports from the protest and was “tearful and truly saddened.”

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Tambra Pickford, the other member to step down, was elected to the board in 2015 and re-elected in November 2019.

“Regrettably I must step down from the Board of Trustees. I no longer am able to devote the considerable amount of time that this position requires,” Pickford said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve alongside so many amazing people these past six years. We have an incredible school district here, and I want to thank all of our teachers, administrators and classified employees for their hard work and the dedication to students they provide each and every day.”

On the Friday this was announced, Coeur d’Alene schools were closed for the day for their “flex” scheduling. We reached out to all the board members, and the district, in hopes of getting more information, but nobody was willing to meet with us.

“These are difficult times to be sure. I respect and understand Jennifer and Tambra’s decision to step away from the board. Unfortunately, there are forces in our community that would like nothing more than to see additional resignations. I personally believe that we should let our democratic process work as it’s intended to. I would like to see us bring our focus back to providing the best education possible for our students,” Lisa May, Zone 1, Trustee, said in a statement to our team.

“I’m thankful for the service and dedication of both Trustee Pickford and Chair Brumley.  Both have served our students, our district, and our community with commitment and integrity.  As a community we owe them and their families our gratitude.  Any leader who has had to lead through the crisis of the past two years deserves grace, thanks, and support,” Rebecca Smith, Zone 5, Vice-Chair shared in her own statement.

Smith added that the board will determine a timeline and process for an appointment of Zone 3.
The sentiment to keep masks out of school was shared by another Coeur d’Alene parent we spoke to.
“If took her to school in the morning and they forced a mask on to her, and said you have to wear this to go to school, I would lose my mind. I’d be 100%, take her out of school. Sorry. I’ll quit my job, I’ll find something else to do, I’ll school her myself. I don’t think that’s right,” this father told us.
He admitted though, that some others took it too far.
“Couer d’Alene used to be a small, easy-going town, and it’s just growing and growing and growing and moral views are getting so skewed and far off from how we grew up. I think how we grew up was great,” he told us as he explained his concern for the direction the Coeur d’Alene School District could be heading.

At its next regular meeting on October 4, the board will be asked to accept the resignations and declare vacancies in Zones 3 and 4.

As we learn more about how the board will go forward in filling these positions, and what that might look like for the future of the school district, we’ll keep you up to date.