Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Paying for lunch

The District is implementing a new comprehensive student database software program that includes an integrated food service accounting program. We are still working out the bugs in the system but eventually all food service account balances will be available online to parents along with grades, assignments and much more information in a "Parent Portal." In the mean time, I have asked that we send home slips daily when a student's account drops to the level that he or she would only have enough money on account for one more meal. Teachers also have access to this information.

The cashier is not allowed to permit a student to charge a lunch. Only one of the Principals can do that and then the Principal assumes the responsibility for insuring the account is brought back to a positive level. As Principals, we will allow a student to eat that one time, but if the student's account is not funded, there will be no more meals served until the account is paid off. This may seem callous, but we are simply not in a position to offer credit for school lunch.

Your cooperation is appreciated.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

State Superintendent Tom Luna to Visit Genesee

Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna will be visiting the Genesee School this Friday from 1:00 - 3:30 PM. First Mr. Luna will meet with the administration, then I will be taking him on a tour of the facility with several stops in classes along the way. We will visit a high school physics class conducting an experiment, and stop into several elementary classrooms to observe instruction and for the students to meet Mr. Luna. Following the tour, around 3:10 pm, we will conclude our visit in the multi-purpose room so that trustees, teachers and patrons can visit with Mr. Luna.

The Genesee School is excited to host Mr. Luna's visit. He has been a staunch supporter of education in Idaho. He has a particular interest in rural schools and has worked hard to find funding to promote improved student achievement in all schools among all students. We are proud of our school and community and look forward to this opportunity to share with Mr. Luna.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Genesee Bus Garage Project Completed

The demolition and rebuilding of the bus shop has been completed. In addition, new taller doors were installed in the parking garage to accommodate the newer, taller buses. This project began last June and is now complete. I think you will agree that the new updates provide a much better appearance than before, but most importantly to us, is that the service bay can now accommodate repair and service work on our buses in a more efficient manner.

This construction project was possible because of the interest the District earned on the bond proceeds from the school addition. Fortunately, the majority of unspent bond funds earned substantial interest (over $200,000) during the early part of construction of the school addition when interest rates were still in the 5-6% range. State and Federal regulations governing the use of bond proceeds require that they be spent in the manner for which the ballot proposed. Our bond was passed specifically to make the final payment on the 1998 remodel, build the school addition, purchase furnishings for the addition, and for other facility-related projects within the District.

A few of the other projects undertaken have been the air conditioning of the business-technology classroom. When you couple 25 students with 25-30 computers into one classroom, the heat generated creates temperatures during the spring and early fall exceeding ninety and sometimes one hundred degrees. To protect the District's investment in hardware and to keep students healthy, air conditioning was installed in this room.

One badly needed project was the re-roof of the agriculture-technology shop. Not only did we eliminate the persistent leaking, we have been able to move all the water away from the foundation which will protect the building from the movement experienced over the past quarter century. We did lift the building as close to it's original level as possible and repaired the masonry cracks. The overhead doors were switched to electrical operation to comply with needed safety standards and the ceiling in the agriculture classroom was redone.

The secondary computer lab was enlarged and updated to accommodate a full class of students and space for instruction plus an office for the Director of Technology. Both the boys' and girl's locker rooms were remodeled to replace aging fixtures, tile that was falling off the walls and updated lockers plus fresh paint. The locker rooms had been untouched since 1966.

The final project that has yet to be completed is the repair of the exterior gym foyer ceiling and the installation of an additional set of doors which will provide for a protected entrance into the most widely used space in the school. We expect this to be completed within the next couple of weeks.

Does this mean all maintenance in the school district is complete. No. Maintenance is always on-going. The District has a state-mandated ten-year maintenance plan which is updated annually. While we no longer will have bond proceeds to take care of additional maintenance, we will need to plan carefully to conduct periodic maintenance. The gym roof is the last roof with tar and gravel and it will need to be replaced with a rubber roof. We are nearing the end of the life expectancy on the rubber roof on the multi-purpose room as well. Carpet, installed during the 1998 remodel, will need to be replaced within the next five years.

To protect your investment, preventative maintenance occurs annually. The District expends at least 2% of the value of our square footage on this maintenance as required by state law. Patron financial support for these efforts is appreciated and necessary. Thank you.