Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Four-day School Week

The Board has been discussing the District response to the pending state funding shortfall we anticipate for the 2010-2011 school year. One of the topics of interest to the trustees is the four-day school week. This concept has been discussed at public meetings during the past two years. While there were some financial savings from transitioning to a four-day school week in prior years, a change in the way school bus transportation is now funded has almost doubled the savings which would result from the schedule change. Idaho now reimburses allowable bus transportation at 50% of the cost versus the prior 85%. Saving twenty percent of our regular transportation is now 10% saving versus 3%. In addition kindergarten would likely transition to two full days which would eliminate the noon bus routes further increasing the savings to the District.

The Board appointed a committee under the direction of Mr. Caldwell which will include four staff members and several parents to go visit a school district currently on the four-day school week. A public meeting will be held in February to provide information regarding the four-day school week and committee members and Mr. Neumann will be available to answer questions.

It should be noted that there are other positive educational reasons to consider the four-day school week in addition to the financial benefits which will be discussed at the meeting. There are challenges as well, but the track record of schools transitioning to this form of schedule has, for the most part, been very positive. The school board plans to make a decision in March

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Emergency Release of School

As the flood waters rose on Cow Creek yesterday, we received numerous calls from anxious parents wanting to know if we would be releasing students early. The answer was no. It is the policy of the school district not to release school early because many young students would arrive home to empty and/or unsupervised homes. The school building is a safe environment. In the instance of a flood, being at the top of the hill, makes the school a very safe place to be. Further, releasing unsupervised students who may venture too close to icy cold and unsanitary flood waters would pose another threat to student safety.

Similar situations can occur when significant snowfall occurs during the school day. Again, we will not release students early. Our transportation supervisor is in continuous communication with the appropriate road departments. Alternative plans and routes exist to take students home from school. In the very unlikely event that this could not be accomplished, parents and guardians would be contacted and alternative plans would be put into effect. As always, our highest priority is student safety.

There could be a situation when it would be necessary to evacuate the school such as a fire, bomb scare or similar event. The school has emergency closure plans in place which utilize alternative locations in the community to facilitate transporting students to their homes. This process is practiced and students and staff know what to do and how to act in the event of such an unlikely event.

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