School budget coming up short
At the March school board meeting Monday, March 15, Superintendent Stan Kress gave the school board some tentative numbers that show a $384,000+ shortfall on the budget for the coming year.
Thatís if they hold things at the levels they were this past year and didnít include a cut in this past yearís funding that may come from the legislature. Kress was given information Monday that a proposal to get the Idaho Virtual Academy out of debt would cost the district $125 per support unit (about $3500) which would come out of the expected carry-over.
He presented options for cutting 1.5 teaching positions as well as cutting 20% on supplies that could bring that shortfall down. The possible teacher cuts would be a full position at the Elementary School and a half position at the high school.
The board has set a meeting date for Tuesday, April 6 at 6 p.m. to discuss the budget and set an override levy amount. Also at that meeting they will interview people interested in the zone 5 trustee position.
Regarding the trustee position, the board formally accepted Steve Freiís resignation. They hope to be able to make an appointment at the April meeting to fill the zone 5 position. Kelly Bruner was recommended by Frei in his letter of resignation and was in attendance at the meeting. She said she has 4 children who either are or will be in the school system and has an interest in making sure the quality of the education and buildings remains high.
A resolution for the trustee election was approved. Brit Groom and Dan Forsmann are up for election. The election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 18.
Another resignation approved by the board was that of Debbie Chicane. She had been on a yearís leave of absence.
Jerry Uhling for JV boys baseball and Steve Wilson for JV girls softball were approved as there were enough players turned out in both sports to justify JV coaches.
The proposed school calendar published in the Chronicle last month was approved without change.
Kress updated the board on the pump for the well at the Middle School. He said he doesnít have all the quotes requested yet but hopes to get the well operational by May 1.
In administrative reports Mike Bundy had Lydia Deiss and Nancy Uptmor do a presentation. They presented an information booklet they give to 8th graders and their parents to help with the transition to high school. It includes a lot of information on testing, what organizations there are in the high school, what credit requirements are, what they should be doing each year and so forth. Thereís also information on what students should be doing to have the best chance at scholarships.
Uptmor said they have a website which provides a lot of information on careers and what colleges have courses to help you in those careers.  Go to and use username: prairie and password: phs.
Reneí Forsmann said the elementary and middle school staff have been working on aligning the curriculum for English for K-8. 
They have a fish project going and should be getting the steelhead eggs this week. 
Dave Snodgrass said he and a couple of staff members went to training where they learned about numerous programs and received information on those that work and those are just out to sell themselves. This Friday he and a couple of staff members are going to a workshop in Spokane on a discipline based program.
The ISIMS project was discussed. The district was approved for phase 1 of this. This is a state required program which would replace the districtís grading and attendance software plus track testing results among other things. The current grading and attendance software provider has gone out of business and thus they have no support for it anymore. Albertsonís Foundation is providing funding to get districts set up with this program but once the first year is done, the local districts will have to pay for updates.
The negotiations committee was set with Groom to be the board representative. The administrators make up the rest of the committee.
There was a student request to skip a grade. Mike and Marilynn Lerandeau have requested that their daughter Emily be allowed to skip seventh grade as her test scores and school work show she should be capable of doing so. Snodgrass said his recommendation was to allow this. Colleen Sonnen had a concern, as the former Middle School math instructor, about skipping 7th grade math because there are so many new things introduced at that level that itís assumed youíll know in 8th grade math. The board approved the request.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:45 p.m.
The next regular board meeting is Monday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. with a special board meeting set for Tuesday, April 6 at 6 p.m.

Cottonwood, Idaho 83522



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503 King St.
P.O. Box 157
Cottonwood, ID 83522-0157
Fax 208-962-7131
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