A lawmaker who’s on the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee says “something doesn’t smell right” at the Iowa Association of School Boards and he’s puzzled by the lack of “outrage” from the group’s board of directors.

Representative Ralph Watts, a Republican from Adel, says he’s amazed by the “hands-off” attitude of the school board members from around the state who serve as directors for the Iowa Association of School Boards.

“There should be some outrage. I would expect that outrage that would come from the people that run the schools and the people that are in charge of the school organization.  I don’t hear it and I don’t see it,” Watts says. “That’s what’s frustrating to me.”  

Veronica Stalker, the recently-hired executive director of the Iowa Association of School Boards, told Watts few if any school boards have decided against renewing their membership in the Iowa Association of School Boards.

“That doesn’t imply there’s not outrage. There is significant outrage, so I didn’t want to leave that unresponded to because that’s really a misrepresentation if that’s all that’s said,” Stalker said yesterday during a statehouse hearing.

Watts replied: “With all due respect, I think the I.A.S.B. board has departed from its core mission long ago. This process that we’re going through just highlights that.” 

Watts and other members of the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee questioned auditors and officials from the association yesterday. Watts asked why the executive director of the association would earn a salary of over $200,000 to oversee a staff of 35.

“I don’t see this particular job as being anything…like a medical doctor, for instance. It’s not that complex.  It’s not anything mystical,” Watts said.  “It’s a management job that a qualified manager can perform.” 

Stalker and another association official said the $200,000-plus salary and additional benefits are in line with other, similar associations in other states.