Cottonwood School District will be seeking a $233,000 override levy this year to meet operating expenses for the 2007-08 school year. The amount was approved at the April meeting of the board Monday, April 16.
The levy election will be Tuesday, May 15 in conjunction with the election of 2 school board positions, the posts currently held by Kelli Bruner and Gus Hoene.
The levy amount is $24,000 more than last year but less than it was 2 and 3 years ago.
The board didn’t set up any information meetings on the levy as they hadn’t been very well attended in the past anyway.
Shorty Arnzen was in attendance and Hoene asked him if he had any advice on the matter. Arnzen he said if they have questions or concerns about it that they should call their board representative.
The board will also be looking to replace one of its members as board chairman John Nida has turned in his resignation. His reason for resigning was not divulged during the open meeting. After an executive session was held the board voted to make Roy Schumacher the new board chairman and Bruner the vice-chairman. These positions will be in effect until the annual meeting in July.
The agenda item drawing the most patron attention was the approval of the new high school principal. Several patrons were in attendance questioning the procedure used. They would have liked to see more board involvement in the interview process. Two board members were on the committee but were unable to attend all the interviews. The board asked those on the search committee who were able to attend all the interviews to pick the best person. 3 of the 4 committee members had one person ranked first and another second while the fourth, who turned out to be superintendent Stan Kress, had those two people reversed. The man picked first by 3 of the 4 was the person recommended for hire and he was offered a contract tentative to board approval.
Most of the patrons present personally knew one of the other applicants as he was raised in Nezperce and his in-laws are from Cottonwood.
Roy Schumacher stated that he was unable to attend any of the candidate interviews due to other commitments, but he had every confidence in the committee and stands behind the recommendation they made.
Kress reported that current high school principal Dave Snodgrass came into the interviews favoring the local man but changed his preference once he met the applicants, eventually casting his vote for the person chosen.
Several comments were made that in the future the board members should make every effort to be more involved in the process.
Gehring stated she had been very involved with the same committee members in the superintendent search and had every confidence in their choice.
When asked what our district policy says, Kress said, that except for a superintendent hire, as the superintendent is the one person who answers directly to the board, the superintendent shall recommend a person for hire to the board for their approval. The policy has nothing in the way of who should make up a search committee.
Kress reported they had 13 applicants for the position and narrowed the list to 7 for interviews. He asked the two board members who were part of the committee if he should give special emphasis to a local person and they directed him to go for the best person.
After all the comments Schumacher stated that he felt there were some valid issues brought up that need to be addressed and that they as a board could do a better job.
Todd Shumway of Preston, Idaho, was the person recommended to the board and he was approved for hire by the board.
A proposed reassignment of special education staff was approved. Carol Schmidt was the special ed teacher for the Elementary and Middle Schools and has resigned. With the certified staff already maxed out for state reimbursement, it would have added approximately $50,000 to the override amount to have hired a new full-time special ed teacher. Instead they have a teacher in each building with special ed certification and will make them half-time classroom and half-time special ed teachers. Allason Zenner would move to the second grade next year as that will be the smallest group. She’ll teach the regular courses in the morning and then in the afternoon when a lot of students leave the regular classroom for music and released time, among other things, the students would be combined with the other second grade class. A similar setup would done at the Middle School with Vikki Riener being the special ed half-timer there. Della Gehring commented it appeared to be the best that could be done with the resources we have.
The board decided against paying the fee to the lobbyists trying to get the Craig-Wyden bill refunded. It would have cost the district $642 to do so.
Theresa Carter talked to the board about the proposed policy for crisis management. Both Hoene and Gehring said they had seen the crisis management team in action in the past and said it was a very good thing to have it in place. Especially in light of such events as what happened in Virginia on Monday. The board passed a motion to approve the proposed policy, which outlines the procedures for the team.
In administrative reports Rene’ Forsmann reported the Middle School had 75% attendance at the parent-teacher conferences. She also reported they had an assembly with Amy Cox in attendance talking to 7th and 8th graders about the car accident she had and what she went through afterwards.
Forsmann reported they will be doing a test run of their Mars Rovers on Wednesday with the district competition set for Moscow on May 5.
ISAT’s started Monday.
She also reported they had instructional reviews with a report coming in May.
She and Denise Uhlenkott also got to scratch 1200 tickets in the Idaho Lottery’s Scratch-Off for Idaho Schools. They had over $600 worth of winning tickets with that money to go into the student fund at the Middle School.
Greg Deiss reported that the fish tank project is going well as they’ve lost only 2 fish out of 100. The fish will eventually be released back into the wild.
They had 94% attendance at the parent-teacher conferences with many rooms having 100%.
They also started ISAT’s on Monday.
Kindergarten screening was to be on Tuesday with 17 signed up so far. Preschool screening will be April 26.
On April 24 the Kindergartners will visit the fire station.
He said they earned $141 for the Elementary School in the lottery ticket scratchoff out of 300 tickets.
The elementary school spring concert is set for May 10.
Dave Snodgrass reported that spring sports are very busy but recommended taking a good coat if you attend any of them.
He reported Amy Cox also did an assembly at the high school and he would recommend she come back every 2 or 3 years just to reinforce what can happen when you drink and then drive.
He reported a Shakespearean troupe visited last week and it was the best one he’d seen and he’s seen 10 or more of them over the years.
He reported the prom is April 28 and the junior-senior banquet is this Friday.
He also reported that the state HOSA conference was this past weekend with one individual and one team of 4 qualified for the national competition.
The Mr. Prairie competition is this Wednesday. It is a follow-up to the Ms. Prairie pageant that was held last month and is another fund-raiser for the two girls wanting to attend a fashion design program.
Kress reported the education budget passed by the legislature was the same as what he reported last month.
He also reported a bill including a Craig-Wyden funding 5-year renewal passed big in the Senate but that President Bush is seen as likely to veto it. If it doesn’t pass in some form or another the Idaho Legislature has set aside funding that would cover about 70% of the Craig-Wyden funds for one year only. For our district this would be about $196,000 of the $280,000 received this past year. These funds have been put into the plant facility fund.
The board adjourned to an executive session at 9:40 p.m. The next regular meeting will be Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m.