"It would mean that they weren't able to open the buildings, run buses, wouldn't be able to serve meals, wouldn't have teachers in the classrooms," Whitney said.
As for the beleaguered Nampa School District, "we are a long way from that," she said.
But in extremely dire straights, the state board could redraw a school district's boundaries.
How would that help?
"That would then mean the students would be part of other districts," Whitney said.
But Whitney stresses the situation in Nampa, while troubling, is nowhere close to triggering state intervention.
"The Nampa district has taken all the right steps to remedy the situation," she said. "They had an audit. They've taken out a loan. And they've passed a levy."
In fact, Whitney says state intervention in a school district's operations is so rare nobody in her office can even remember it happening.
Meantime, the Nampa School District is facing a $1.2 million hit after a financial analyst discovered the money went to general operations rather than repayment of bonds.
District Finance Officer Michelle Yankovich told the Nampa school board Tuesday that the money is a "cash flow" problem and does not add to the district's $5.1 million budget deficit.
The district has been beset with money problems after budgeting errors that included counting almost $3 million in one-time money twice and over-expenditure of about $1 million.
Board members at the meeting voted to borrow as much as $6.3 million from D.L. Evans Bank to meet daily expenses.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)