Tuesday, February 15, 2011

School Board: Everything Relies On Levy

No matter where the agenda took the board, the supplemental levy was the invisible guest at dinner. Potatoes were passed over, dialogue paused, and dessert was difficult because how could you eat the last of the cobbler, in case he...

The 2011-2012 school calendar drafts are ready for input, but are dependent upon the budget. Job descriptions were approved and adopted, but the Super said it was likely some of these jobs will no longer exist.

Residents who attended the Monday night meeting were clear about one thing: We want to support the levy, but where is the money going? Be specific.

Superintendent Mike Tomlin responded that “the levy is supporting a budget we don’t have yet.” The state sets the election dates and there are four. If the levy doesn’t pass, they anticipate running all of them until it does. By the March 8 election date, they will not have the exact Idaho budget. If they wait until the second date, which is after teacher contracts are renewed, they would have to procedurally let all untenured teachers go and then rehire them.

Tomlin says 100% of the levy money will be used to fight off debt. It is not for purchases. "The board will be facing a combination of a $400K reduction in budget—with the $225K levy and $150K in reductions across the board, there is the assumption, regardless of all, that there will be reductions in staffing,” he informed the gallery. "What we know is the budget will be less than this year...the board will not know the cuts until we receive the budget from the legislature.”

Garden Valley resident Shirleane Abbott persevered in her insistence that the District was being vague. Principal Bob Vian interjected: “Our goal is to preserve all core programs. The levy committee made a big list of what we could potentially cut. If the levy doesn’t pass—if we have to cut $400K-- we have another cut list; it will be very draconian—that’s the future we’re trying not to go down.”

Alan Ward answered the direct query, “Are we going to lose two full-time teachers? That is the word on the street,” with a straight on “I think it would be extremely unprofessional of us to say we were going to cut teachers, and then suddenly we find the money. Speaking only for myself and not the board, I think probably we are going to be forced to do it—I watch the news and the spending.”

Mr. Vian added, “We listed salary cuts, day cuts, staff, athletics, transportation, kindergarten...every nickel we thought we could find.” Vian said elementary grades could be divided three into two, for about 20 in each class.

The Levy has received a supportive thumbs-up from Crouch City Council and the Garden Valley Education Association. Chamber of Commerce members told Dr. Tomlin they appreciated that the District didn’t come to them with full need, that they’re making their own cuts.

Marlo Glauser reported that when she met with Ladies Lunch Bunch to discuss the levy, the first question she received was, “Are they still fighting?” She admonished the roomful of people guilty of scrapping that if the school is not strong, there will be no jobs, less business and people won’t be able to sell their homes. “No matter how beautiful Garden Valley is, you know the parents will not stay here if the school is not strong. I don’t want to lose good teachers; if we don’t pass this levy, we won’t keep them.”

There is a niggling thought at the back of many minds in Garden Valley that says, “and how did the fighting help the kids?” It is not boding well for passing a levy, when voters question “what is going on at the school”?

So, let’s consider it. Major damage was inflicted on the school by the group we all call “the friends”. Clearly, their agenda was purely an avenging act and they have not gone away but it appears there is a truce at the school for now. What is poignantly transparent is that the disturbance only created a rift in the community and has not done our children any good—and that is the bottom line.

That said, it really doesn’t seem to have prevented the children from getting a superb education. It just goes to show you how resilient young minds can be. There are also many fine teachers sticking to the program and getting the best out of the kids. We have award winning teachers, an Idaho School of Excellence, State Championship-level athletes and a second-year accreditation. The children continually prove themselves to be fine human beings who help out others and support their community, not to mention other communities, as senior Dylan Bass has exhibited as Idaho’s top youth volunteer.

Absentee Voting: Clerk of the Board, Paula Fox, announced that the last day for absentee voting applications is March 2, 2011. Walk-in absentee voters must go to the County Clerk’s office, 420 Main St., Idaho City. For an absentee ballot to mail, go to idahovoters.gov/VoterReg/absentee.pdf. (or copy form below). You will need to scan your actual signature. On March 8, the election will probably take place at the Community Hall.

Zone III Trustee Selection: When the candidates for Garden Valley School Board Zone III trustee stood at the podium, they were delivered some challenging questions not normally posed for this volunteer position. Not surprising, considering the disjointed conditions under which the board has been operating since the recall elections, new trustees, resignations and the tragic loss of Dawn Smith.

It appeared that the two candidates weren’t as well-versed in GV school-ese as wary board trustees would have liked. Neither one had any info on the Levy. Hmm. They couldn’t talk about the budget...huh! Other qualifications surfaced, though, and it was clear the candidates were certainly willing to try the job.

So, the appointment of Laurie Snyder to fill the Zone III, Lowman/GV trustee seat, was gratifying and hard won. She came through the unexpected fire not, perhaps, like a champ, but limping courageously through the last lap.

Although Chair Terry Elmore voiced reminders to trustees that the last time they went through this selection process, they had four good applicants and they opted to wait for a more experienced person, Jeff Bass opined that the levy has a better chance of being passed if the board has representation in Lowman. He said, “We need a recruiter and a hard charger.”

Alan Ward was convinced that Snyder’s nine years with the Nampa School District and involvement with special education law and being a school counselor and grant writer for a non-profit board sufficed to qualify her to sit on the board.

The board also declared the vacancy of Zone II, formerly held by Dawn Smith.

School Daze

PTO: Delores Bedard announced the school has a new laminator. Box tops are being gathered for money. So far, the kids have amassed $220 worth, not counting the amount the Merc is collecting to match up to $100. Elementary Student Council will have a party for the winners and the bucks will go to the elementary teachers. Labels are being collected and the $ will go to the Spanish and art classes.

The PTO provides refreshments for events, will hold a book fair, a father/daughter ball and mom and son dance – all fundraisers. And be sure to pick up your $3 bumper stickers and other items for sale at the school.

Principal Bob Vian was given kudos by Marlo Glauser, for creating incentives to keep students interested, in school, and trying harder to achieve. He is a never-tiring problem solver.

Barb Sulfridge gave an overview of the Title One program. They identify at-risk students who are below grade-level achievement and work with them on reading, writing and speaking. She acknowledged Pam Doyle, who supervises and coordinates and Pauline Grant, special education consultant.

PEP RALLY for Lady Wolverines, at 11:15, Thursday, March 17, before the Girls Basketball team takes off. Middle School Cheerleaders will root for the girls to win at State. GAME at Nampa, 6:15 p.m.

Check out school sports at garden.id.schoolwebpages.com.

School District Stuff

It’s time to update Trustee zone boundaries. The Idaho School Board Association has found someone to do this and they are awaiting an estimate. $5K have been budgeted for this. Also, the good news is the district budgeted $10K for the comprehensive inventory of the school and appraisal and after shopping bids, took a $4800 bid.

Superintendent Tomlin clarified that although he supports the idea of what the Job Creation Council is trying to accomplish, neither he nor the board have made any decisions regarding the possible renovation of the old school facilities for the Council and will not consider it, until the proposal comes before the board and there is a public hearing. In the enthusiasm of the Council for job creation, it has appeared that decisions have been made—they have not.

General Fun Stuff

The Lincoln Days Reagan Centennial luncheon will be hosted by GV School, on Saturday, February 26. This not being an election year, the pickin’s is thin for representation!

Bob Vian will appear as guest speaker at the GV Syringa Club Meeting at the Senior Center, Thursday, February 17, at noon. Bring a brown bag lunch and have a Georgiana Goetsch special treat for dessert. Mr. Vian will bring a teacher along and they will address your concerns about the Levy. All are welcome.

Georgianna Goetsch presented checks for the Garden Valley Travel Club, Baseball Team and GV School Music Department, from the Holiday Bazaar at the school; funds were raised from space rentals at the December 4 crafters fair.

Students will have an inspiring morning session on March 17, with Bill Johnson, Idaho’s Writer in Residence. Perhaps they will get to write some great poetry and since Mr. Johnson is a talented folksinger, who knows what will transpire? He will be appearing at the new library that evening, for a reading sponsored by Syringa Club.



State of Idaho
County of ____________________}s.s.

Date: _____________________________, ___________

I, ___________________________________________, hereby make application for an absent elector's ballot or ballots to be voted at the election held on

(Check election this application is to be used)

􀂆 2nd Tuesday in March (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 3rd Tuesday in May (Primary Election and/or Taxing Districts Elections)
􀂆 Last Tuesday in August (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 Tuesday following 1st Monday in November (General Election and/or Taxing
Districts Election)
􀂆 Special Emergency Election to be held on _____________________, ___________.

My home address is: ___________________________________________________________ in

__________________________________________, and I am duly registered in _________________________ County, Idaho.

Please mail ballot(s) to me at the following address:


(Mailing Address)

(City, State and Zip Code)


Signed: _____________________________________________________

EA-4 Approved by the Secretary of State, 2011

Fax to: 208-392-4473 ~ ATTN: MOLLY FOX
E-Mail to: MThurman@co.boise.id.us.com (e-mail must contain actual copy of signature)


  1. We all have to live within our budgets. For the 8 years I worked on the school board, at budget time we went through a list of possible cuts we may have to make, it is part of the process. I currently pay around $600.00 a year to Garden Valley schools compared to around $700.00 to the county for services. If this levy passes I’m looking at around $850.00 to the school. I think we should be able to educate 200 students for less money than the county can run the whole county. With that 4 million dollar law suit against the county hanging out there you can bet it won’t be long until the county is asking for more money too. So everyone is whining about not having enough money and losing a few programs and teachers while people are looking at losing their homes. It does no good to vote for higher taxes if you can’t afford to pay them. Where does it stop? The Governor has said he will not cut school budgets this year. I say the school needs to live within the budget just like everyone else. Alan Ward said, “I think it would be extremely unprofessional of us to say we were going to cut teachers, and then suddenly we find the money.” So I say to the administration and the school board you need to look again and “suddenly find the money”. I cannot be your credit card. Until we find out what the legislature is going to do and how the county is going to pay off the four million dollar law suit. I vote no on the levy.

  2. Thanks for the update. I didn't think Laurie "limped" though. She answered the questions very well and I do have to wonder how many of the questions posed could have been answered by the person asking them at the beginning of her tenure on the board.

    No matter though, the appointment was made with someone with many years of experience in education. That perspective could be very valuable to all of us, not only the people in Lowman.

    Regarding Alan Ward's statement, my read on that was that it would be unprofessional to attempt to identify and name teachers who may be cut. The board just can't do that and to attach a name to a cut at this time would be horrible considering the budget hasn't even come back from the legislature yet.

    I will vote yes on the levy because they aren't coming to the voters asking for the whole enchilada. They have proposed many cuts already and I can't imagine running the school on less than that. I will hope that the economy continues to get better and that this need will be temporary.

  3. I have read several of your online articles, as well as the newspaper every week. However, I am becoming increasingly concerned with problems in the administration. Is it possible for you to put something in the paper, or on this website, that tells the whole story of Mr. John Haworth, and his struggles with our principle Mr. Bob Vian? It is becoming a problem with my fellow students, and we would all like to have as much information as possible.

  4. If you want affordable public education, you must bust the unions that have a strangle hold on our schools nation wide. If they bankrupt every business they take over, Why would you let them in your children's schools. As for attracting hard working tax payers to our valley, clean up your front yards and businesses around the school. It's also very funny that we fought Southfork Landing for years from building in our valley but we have said nothing about a huge trailer park going in. I'm sure this will grow our tax base and fix all of our school's problems. Just be happy that this is not the great depression, but it could be if we don't tighten our belts and stop whining.