Wednesday, June 12, 2024

EDITORIAL: Standing O for batter at school's plate

| November 19, 2023 1:00 AM

Since 2015, Casey’s been at bat for Coeur d’Alene School District.

The senior member of the district’s Board of Trustees opted not to run again this fall after his eight-plus years of public service, some of the most challenging — and rewarding — years of service imaginable.

So Casey Morrisroe did the next best thing: He lent his support to Jimmy McAndrew, who won his race Nov. 7 and will take Casey’s place on the board next month. 

Electing McAndrew is a win that ameliorates somewhat the loss of Morrisroe to the district. Had either McAndrew or Trustee Heather Tenbrink not emerged victorious in the local election, the school board might have tilted in a dangerously extreme direction.

But this editorial is less an election rehash than an attempt to hold up Casey Morrisroe as a model worth emulating — as a husband and a father of four daughters; as a local business owner; and as a person who willingly sacrificed untold hours of family and business time for one big, beautiful reason: the betterment of his community.

Unlike some candidate imports, Morrisroe grew up in the school district he has represented so admirably. He learned before he led, serving first on the district’s Long Range Planning Committee, a tenure that gave him insights into the school system that no outsider could fathom. 

His experience on the committee prepared him well for full-fledged service as a trustee, and we will state now that over many years of community news coverage, we have never encountered an elected official who out-worked Casey Morrisroe. 

Nor have we always agreed on important issues. In 2017, for example, Morrisroe and his fellow school board members, following their legal counsel’s advice, withheld public records regarding the contract of departed Superintendent Matt Handelman that The Press felt should be disclosed to district patrons.

Even though The Press prevailed, Morrisroe never held a grudge. The communication bridge he was building with the newspaper and the broader community was not shaken. In fact, it only grew stronger over the years because of Casey’s honesty, his earnest pursuit of excellence, and his relentless, positive work ethic. 

All of these attributes were needed as Morrisroe and his colleagues carried the school district through a historically brutal time, the pandemic. Even as the Idaho “Freedom” Foundation was declaring war on public education and communities were bitterly divided on how best to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, Morrisroe was a pillar of strength, compassion and wisdom. Coeur d’Alene School District remains one of Idaho’s finest in no small part because of Morrisroe’s steady hand through that storm.

The Press is far from alone in feeling respect and appreciation for Morrisroe’s service. Please take time to thank him during or before his last school board meeting Dec. 8. 

Not only did Casey not strike out, he blasted a home run every time his community needed him most.