appointed to school board
Gus Hoene was appointed to fill the vacant school board trustee position at the November meeting of the board Monday, November 20.
Hoene fills the position formerly held by Brit Groom, who had moved out of his trustee zone. Although there is still 2 years to go on the term, Hoene will serve until the next trustee election in May, at which time he may run to serve out the rest of the term.
The big topic of discussion was high school credit for Released Time classes. Cheri and Nick McDonough along with Released Time board members Theresa Schwartz, June Behler and Roy Uhlenkott were in attendance.
The group had provided some additional information, including Idaho Code covering release time programs. A sticking point appears to be subsection .08 which reads: “Course Credit. No credit will be awarded by the school or district for satisfactory completion by a student of a course or courses in release time for religious instruction. Credit may be granted for other purposes, at the discretion of the local school board.” Cheri McDonough maintained the second sentence gives the local school board some leeway. Superintendent Stan Kress said that would mean the district would have to examine the courses to see if there are enough non-religious aspects to warrant granting of credit.
Board Chairman John Nida said he feels the board wants to see this happen, but they want to do it the right way. “We don’t want to wind up spending a bunch of time in court because of it.”
In other business Dustin Behler was approved for hire as the C team girls basketball coach at a half salary.
The lighting project for the high school gym was discussed. Nida recommended going with it as a safety issue as these new lights would be instant-on as opposed to the current ones that take 20 minutes to come back on once they’re turned off. Kelli Bruner said she could see going with them as they would pay for themselves in a few years with energy savings.
Della Gehring felt they have other projects coming up that would be better served and we need to pinch our pennies now to get those taken care of later. Roy Schumacher expressed concerns about the reliability as a local shop has the same kind of lights and has had problems with the ballasts.
Nida made a motion to proceed and the vote was 2 for and 2 against with the motion dying for lack of a majority. Nida and Bruner voted for and Gehring and Schumacher against. Hoene hadn’t yet been appointed to the board as that happened later in the agenda.
Fall IRI scores were presented with 2 or fewer students in each class from K-4 testing at below grade level. Very good results.
Dave Snodgrass presented a proposal for a new policy concerning qualifications for being valedictorian or salutatorian. His proposal read, “To be considered for Valedictorian or Salutatorian, the student must qualify for a diploma and must be a full-time student at Prairie High School three (3) consecutive semesters prior to graduation. Valedictorian and Salutatorian awards will be computed at the end of the seventh semester. The G.P.A. will be carried out two places past the decimal.”
The concern was someone transferring in as a senior and taking one of the top spots because their gpa from wherever the transferred from was high enough.
The board approved the proposal with one modification. They decided that it needed to be at least 4 consecutive semesters prior to graduation.
The board also decided to rotate their board meetings amongst the 3 buildings again this year. The January meeting will be at the high school, February at the middle school and March at the elementary school.
Board members reported on the sessions they attended at the Idaho School Board Association Conference.
In administrative reports Greg Diess reported they met all but 5 parents during parent-teacher conferences.
He also reported the cookie dough sale went very well with nearly $14,000 worth sold.
The Veterans Day program went very well with nearly 40 local veterans in attendance.
They had Bill Rossiter, a singing historian who had performed for the Historical Museum over the weekend, put on a program Monday at the school.
At the attendance assembly they had over 100 of the 143 students that had missed a day or less of school in the first quarter. Most of them had perfect attendance.
There was a pizza party for those reaching their reading goals with only 10 students not reaching them.
Dave Snodgrass reported that Rossiter also had a program at the high school. They had him focus on the Great Depression and he performed songs from that time period.
He reported they’re well into basketball season with wrestling starting soon.
Financial aid night went very well with 40 families attending.
They are planning a blood drive at the high school for the spring with the Red Cross to present a program a week prior.
He also reported some of the windows replaced the high school a few years ago are very tough to open. A company rep was checking them out and feels the springs may be too strong and may need to be replaced. He also suggested some maintenance procedures that may help.
Rene’ Forsmann reported they had 85% attendance overall for parent-teacher conferences, 82% for 7th-8th grades.
School attendance was very good in the first quarter with 97% for 5th-6th grade and 96% for 7th-8th grade.
They have the Direct Math and Direct Writing tests coming up soon.
Jessica Vanderwall received a $500 grant, which is being used toward the Mars Rover project. Information on that will be coming soon.
She also reported their Veterans Day program also went very well. Sandy Riggers did a great job with it.
She reported that the top 3 winners for the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen contest were all Prairie Middle School students. The winners were listed in last week’s Chronicle.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 8:40 p.m.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, December 18 at 7 p.m.