Thursday, December 16, 2010

School Board Updates

At the Garden Valley School board meeting, December 13, board trustees assured patrons that the Annual Idaho School Board Association Convention this fall was worth the money and time, with many workshops available for their continuing education. GV School Music Director, James DeFoe, took some of his music students to the convention and the organization recognized the fine performance with a letter to the District.

If you have an interest in checking out the different presentations of the convention, many workshop leaders have provided these electronically for the public. Go to

The board approved Superintendent Tomlin’s recommendation to use the Education Jobs Bill funds toward restoring teacher contracts to no furlough days; this led to the amendment of the annual budget, which included four furlough days on teacher contracts.

It was agreed that setting policies is a major responsibility of the board and it is now imperative that they get done quickly. In 2010, the school brought forth four policies, through using a volunteer policy committee. In answering a patron’s query, Dr. Tomlin explained that unless the committee members are lawyers, it becomes too complex and time-consuming. “When volunteers are involved with review,” he said, “then the committee makes sense.”

The board considered pros and cons between adopting in whole the Idaho State Board model policy manual or to renew the policy set agreement with Eberharter-Maki & Tappen. Clerk of the Board, Paula Fox, added her opinion that the ISBA is more accessible for answers and communication, and Attorney for the District, Amy White, kicked the board in the butt: “Pick a direction and get moving; either way, you have 350 policies to get through!” The board finally approved the ISBA policy manual.

At the June 14 budget unveiling, when Superintendent Tomlin presented his budget recommendations for the 2010-11 school year, he ended it by stressing that the District must run and pass a supplemental levy next spring. The school needs $350,000 for the next two years, for the survival of programs and to keep a majority of staff. Because of the Boise County deadline to hold an election on March 15, 2011, the board needed to act swiftly, to be able to notify the County of their intention. Tomlin reminded them, “Notifying them of the intent does not mean we must do it.”

Amy White warned that the next possible date for levy election is May 17 and the teacher contracts must go out by May 13, which would be a pretty difficult feat, not knowing whether they had the levy or not.
(Clarification: May 17 would be the date for board trustee elections. Under the new consolidation laws, the District has been advised by some that the levy election could take place with the trustee election. The District is awaiting a definitive answer on this.) The next available time for a levy election would be in August. The motion to notify the County of intent for a March 15 levy election was passed.

Now that the new school is up and running, it is time for an inventory of all fixed assets. Dr. Tomlin said, “There are budget and liability implications on not having up-to-date inventory. We own a lot of stuff. One of the best ways to protect it is to have inventory done.” The board voted to initiate bids for a fixed asset inventory and insurance appraisal.

Mark Dixon, of Harlow’s Bus Service, showed up to inform the board of updates on routes and schedules. There is much concern about the earlier, hence darker and more dangerous, times the kids are walking on the roads in bad weather. The board will consider the situation.

Principal Bob Vian informed patrons of programs the students are involved in. The online science class will be vying for Idaho Science Scholarships. “Study Lunch” has been introduced into student life; Vian says there is a problem with homework, so if it’s not turned in, kids get to “hang with Mrs. Doyle”.

Vian would like to see the school asking for larger financial donations, so they would have to ask less often. Patron Dick Goetsch got some chuckles when he suggested the principal, with his closely-shaven pate, don a saffron robe.

The next school board meeting will be Monday, January 10, at 6:00 p.m., in the Multi-Purpose Room. For information, contact Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mike Tomlin, at 208-462-3756 x1012, or or Clerk of the Board, Paula Fox, at 462-3756 x1013, or Board contact information can be found at

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