The school board held their November meeting Monday, Nov. 19.
A first draft of the early graduation policy was read with a change made to make the application deadline be at least 12 months prior to the expected early graduation date.
The transportation issues that were brought up at the last meeting were discussed. Superintendent Gary Blaz said they tweaked things a little with a couple buses running a little later than they previously were. At present this is a temporary fix to see how it works..
The Health Insurance program was discussed. They received a 6.1% increase in premiums and Blaz recommended to the board that the district and staff pick this up as he doesn’t want to see the insurance reserve fund drawn down too low. It’s already about $40,000 lower than last year at this time.
Jeff Martin’s resignation as varsity volleyball coach was accepted by the board. Board chairman Roy Schumacher wanted to express thanks to Martin for the job he did and thought he did a great job stepping into the situation he did. Schumacher also expressed appreciation to the football coaches for the job they’ve done bringing the program from where it was 3 years ago.
Rotating the board meetings to the other building was discussed. With January and February’s regular meeting dates coinciding with holidays, possible alternate dates will be looked at. The board is looking at the high school in January and the middle school in February and asked the respective principals to come up with alternate dates by the December board meeting.
In administrative reports Blaz reported on ISTARS, a teacher reward program being pushed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. Blaz said he has done a lot of research into this and asked a lot of questions and finds few concerns with it. His feeling is that this program helps level the playing field between small districts and large districts. There was to be a superintendents meeting with Luna on Tuesday morning and Blaz said he and other area school superintendents plan to ask a lot of questions about this program.
Parts of the program include Student Achievement-where all certified staff in a school can earn pay increases of $1200 to $2400 per year if the entire school demonstrates growth and/or overall excellence in student performance; Local Control-$2400 annual bonus per person, where districts will have the funds and flexibility to attract and retain teachers in hard-to-fill positions within their district; Career Opportunity-teachers will have an opportunity to receive one to three year contracts an earn an annual $2400 pay increase working under a new Category 4 contract similar to school administrators. The possible downside to this for a teacher would be the surrendering of tenure; Expertise-up to $2400 permanent increase per person annually, teachers will be rewarded for gaining more expertise and earning qualifications to teach in multiple subject areas; and Leadership Awards-$2400 annual bonus per person, certified staff will be given the opportunity to advance in their careers and earn pay increase by taking on leadership duties within their school or district.
Funding for this would come from the state. A concern is what happens if all districts jump into this, is there enough funding. Blaz said that Luna, when asked, feels that there is. More information on this program can be found at www.sde.idaho.gov/istars.
Blaz also reported he thought the Veterans Day program went very well, despite the power outages. He said the Elementary students were all excited about it when they got back to their classrooms.
He said they are doing lots of planning for emergencies – practicing fire drills, earthquake procedures, and intruders/lockdowns, etc.
He also would like to set up a date in January for a board workshop to start looking at the calendar, budget and staffing for 08-09 and also work on a 5-year facility plan.
Rene’ Forsmann reported they had 85.1% participation in parent-teacher conferences, about the same as last year.
She also reported attendance is up at 97.3 % for the first quarter compared to 96.5% last year.
The Middle School hosted USA Wrestling on Nov. 3 with 193 kids wrestling. The event went well and she said they would be willing to do it again.
She also reported they have 2 new students as of Nov. 7, bringing enrollment to 137.
She reported the Hospital did a Tar Wars program for the 5th graders about the dangers of smoking and tobacco.
Direct Writing and Direct Math tests will be at the end of the month.
Todd Shumway reported a successful financial aid night was held.
He also reported the students discussed the Veterans Day assembly once they got back to the high school.
He reported winter sports have started with the coaches having done a good job of going over the training rules.
The Ms. Prairie pageant was held and one of their foreign exchange students wound up as the winner.
He also reported they are trying to resurrect the open gym night on Fridays with activities for the students.
The board adjourned at 9 p.m.
The next regular meeting will be Monday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m.