Rockland is Idaho’s state capital for the day. Gov. Butch Otter and members of his state board of directors visited there Wednesday as part of their monthly tour.
Members of the community filled City Hall and they came with some good questions.
One member asked what had happened to their deer population, suggesting that local wolves may to be blame.
A member of the state board for wildlife responded saying, “I’m at a disadvantage to give you a specific answer for what might be going on here in the Rockland area but I’m ready to get with staff and get back to you and see if we can provide you with some better answers.”
While they may not have had answers for things like the shrinking deer population, they did have answers for others. Some community members asked about Idaho Road 37. Many in Rockland would like to see the state take back ownership of the road and fix it up to make it safer for drivers.
The Idaho Transportation board said they are currently analyzing if they can justify buying it back. They said it’s a “dollar situation.” They did say that Oneida County, who currently owns it, does have plans to do a few repairs on it. But that probably won’t be for two years.
Other issues brought up were questions about water, agriculture and tax rates. The biggest issue, however, was education and testing in schools.
“One of the most exciting changes to come with the signing of the new education act in December 2015 is the ability for the state of Idaho to design and match desires and outcomes to what works best in our own state,” said Debbie Critchfield, a member of the State Board of Education.
The governor said they’ll be looking more at things like growth and the overall outcome rather than at test scores themselves, in order to evaluate how schools are doing.
Gov. Otter said these trips are just as educational for him as they are for the communities they visit.
“We really learn a lot about rural Idaho and the issues of rural Idaho,” Otter said. “The distance between Rockland and Boise can cause a lack of communication opportunities and so that’s what these directors are here for.”
Rockland was the 86th capital for a day Otter has done since he’s been in office and he said he plans to keep doing them for as long as he’s governor.
The next location for “Capital for a Day” will be announced sometime in February. They usually announce it two weeks before the trip.