The school board had a light agenda at their December meeting Monday, Dec. 18.
Board member Della Gehring reported that they met with the Released Time board and informed them that with current state laws that they didn’t feel they could offer high school credit for release time classes, as much as they may want to.
Both the State Dept. of Education and the State Board of Education had recommended against allowing credit. Mrs. Gehring said she encouraged the Release Time board to work with the state to see if they can change things there.
The board approved paying a 4.9% increase in health insurance premiums from the insurance fund. This would keep both employees and the district from seeing an increase in their portion of the premiums. It would likely also lesson the chance of a health insurance holiday or bonus, or at least cut back to just one instead of the two they were able to offer last year.
A wording change was approved to the disciplinary action and discharge policy. The change was recommended by the district’s attorney. It just clarifies the language that allows the superintendent to be able to put an employee on a leave of absence if necessary until the board can convene to take official action.
The state school for the deaf and blind was discussed. Superintendent Stan Kress reported the legislature nearly cut funding for the ISDB at Gooding last year. The bill passed in the house but failed in the senate. He said the thinking is to regionalize funding. His concern was that the thinned out funding may not be sufficient to offer the services necessary for such special needs students while the ISDB does do a very good job. The concern of some legislators with ISDB is that Gooding is not convenient to many parts of the state for parents to send their children.
Shannon Reuter was approved for hire as a special education aide. The Elementary School picked up 3 children from Grangeville recently with one of those being a special needs child. Reuter had worked with him at Grangeville.
The dates for the meetings in January and February were changed due to the regular dates falling on holidays. The January meeting will be moved to Wednesday, January 17 and will be at the high school library. The February meeting will be moved to Wednesday, February 21 and will be at the middle school library.
In administrative reports, Rene’ Forsmann announced that they had 3 students win statewide art contests. Callie Mader was the grand prize winner in the state department of education and her artwork appears on Marilyn Howard’s Holiday greeting cards. Kody Duclos was the sixth grade statewide winner in that contest.
Also Alex Duman was one of twelve winners statewide to have his artwork appear as a calendar page on the Idaho School Board Association’s 2007 calendar. Their photos are elsewhere in this week’s Chronicle.
Forsmann also reported they piloted the new ISAT and thought it went well. The new company’s test has some more tools to work with. They did the reading module for the 5th grade, math for 7th grade and the 8th grade did reading and science. The new official ISAT (Idaho Standards and Achievement Test) will be given in the spring.
She also reported the 7th grade has been approved for GEARUP which provides money for computers, counseling and scholarships and would follow them through graduation When she gets more information on it, she’ll pass it along.
She reported the 7th and 8th grade boys basketball recently ended their season. Both teams finished at 6-3.
They also hosted a junior high knowledge bowl that had 13 schools attending. Competition wound up with a 4-way tie for first with both Prairie teams among those tied for first.
Greg Diess reported their concert would be Tuesday at 1:30.
He reported also that all 3 schools will be at the high school Thursday morning for a performance by the Cottonwood Community Choir.
He reported Laina Sonnen was the 2nd grade statewide winner in the greeting card art contest.
They will have some work done at the school over Christmas break. Urban Wassmuth’s floor will get repaired and Cindy Schumacher’s room will get a “reading treehouse” built. Funding for the treehouse comes from a $500 grant she received from the state department of education.
Kress reported that there are lots of changes going on in the state Dept. of Education with the newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. He will keep the board posted.
Forsmann reported that 43% of students in the district have had their parents sign up for Power School access. She has had a lot of positive feedback from parents.
The board adjourned to a short executive session at 7:50 p.m. The next regular meeting will be Wednesday, January 17 at 7 p.m. at the high school library. There will be a social hour starting at 6:15 p.m.