The books for the Cottonwood School District were given clean reports by the auditor at the October meeting of the board Monday, Oct. 16.
The auditor, Joanie Thompson of Presnell-Gage, commented that treasurer Denise Uhlenkott has been given good and accurate information to the board. They found no discrepancies.
Safety issues in school lockdown procedures were discussed. The high school ran a drill on Monday and the Elementary School was to run a drill on Tuesday. High School Principal Dave Snodgrass said they discovered some problems that need to be addressed and Elementary School Principal Greg Deiss said they were aware of some issues already and felt they would uncover some more during their drill.
Board chairman John Nida said that he and other Sheriff’s Department personnel had attended training sessions on locking down schools and public buildings in emergency situations and that they have some materials that could help.
Also discussed was a high school gym lighting proposal. The proposed lighting would provide more lighting at less energy cost and would likely pay for itself in energy savings within 5 years. Superintendent Stan Kress said they would also get some funding from Avista that would pay for about a third of the project since it is an energy savings project.
Kress said he had asked a local electrician to give him some idea as to installation costs and whether the power is still there at the boxes that were capped off during the last upgrade, but hadn’t heard back as yet.
Board member Roy Schumacher said he would like to get some hard numbers first from the local electrician before giving the go-ahead. Della Gehring expressed concern for spending money on this project when they are looking at some other projects too.
Kress said the money is there for both this and the gym drainage project. Action was tabled to the November meeting.
As to the gym drainage project, Kress obtained an estimate from Arnzen Building Construction of just over $39,000. That cost would mean it needs to go out for bids. The board approved a motion to put the project out for bids. Kress said he would get the specs drawn up and put the project out for bids in January with an eye toward making it a summer project. Hopefully this will fix the gym floor problems with water coming in and buckling the floor. The problem developed when the mounts for the new volleyball standards were drilled.
A bill was presented for the emergency boiler repairs at the Elementary and High Schools. Cost came to $16,652.80. Also the company who did the repairs said both boilers are past their useful life. They recommended looking at a new boiler and stoker assemblies for both as parts are not available anymore for the current ones. Kress said an estimate for a new boiler a few years ago was roughly $500,000. With the repairs that were done they have bought themselves a couple of years but many of the parts replaced were cast at a foundry from molds taken from working parts because replacement parts were unavailable.
Schumacher was elected as the new vice-chairman to replace Brit Groom who resigned from the board after moving out of his trustee zone.
A replacement trustee was discussed but so far they don’t have anyone who would commit to do it.
Release Time credits were discussed. Kress got an opinion letter from the district’s attorney. He presented that to Nick and Cheri McDonough and they were going to run it past the attorney they’ve been working with on this matter. Kress had stated that both the State Dept. of Education and the State Board of Education had recommended not giving credits for Released Time classes. The matter was tabled to the November meeting.
Kress reported he and Nida had met with teachers as an insurance committee. The teachers requested a 2% bonus around Christmas time rather than the insurance holiday given last December and again in June. Kress assured the board this would be just a one-time thing as Gehring had expressed concern the employees might begin to think this would become a regular occurrence. The reason for the bonus rather than the insurance holiday is that the staff gets more of the funds. Cost to the insurance fund would be roughly the same. The difference is that the district’s general fund wouldn’t get the holiday from their part of the insurance premiums.
Two recommendations for hire were approved. Bruce Nuxoll will be the new high school drug-free coordinator and Kevin Chaffee will be the high school boys JV basketball coach.
In administrative reports Deiss reported the yard sale went very well as they raised about $1700.
He also reported that the Elks Club gave dictionaries to the third graders on Sept. 20 and that on Sept. 22 he and other district personnel attended a seminar on accreditation.
Middle School principal Rene’ Forsmann was in attendance as she was in Boise at a learning session about district-wide Title I.
Snodgrass said the high school is looking at a student rooter bus to go to the football game at Deary this Friday.
He said there will be a social and dance at the high school Saturday that will be a student council fundraiser. They are also going to hold a Slave Day as a fundraiser. The student council wants to attend the state student council convention and needs about $700 to cover costs.
The students also want to decorate the halls for Halloween.
Kress reported on the ISEEO lawsuit. Gehring had asked him earlier what was gained from it and he wanted to share what he told her. What was gained is that if out district passes a bond issue, one-third of it would be covered by the state. We also get about $40-50,000 in maintenance money each year that we didn’t get before. He said the lawsuit was started in 1990 so it has been ongoing for 16 years now.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:30 p.m.
The next regular meeting of the board will be Monday, November 20 at 7 p.m.