As of Tuesday, April 10, 2018
GRANGEVILLE Recent reauthorization of SRS (Secure Rural Schools) funds do not have Mountain View School District 244 rolling in the dough.
“This will help do the things we need to for the maintenance of our schools,” said superintendent Marc Scheibe.
Forest funds, per Idaho statute, were always meant for maintenance of, not operation of, schools, said business manager Becky Hogg. For many years, the MVSD school board has made the decision to transfer a portion of the forest funds to the general fund in order to decrease the amount requested in a levy. Going forward, the transfer amount has been set at $600,000 as long as the board determines this amount is not otherwise needed for facility maintenance. Without ongoing SRS funding authorization from Congress, MVSD’s forest fund reserve will eventually run out, Hogg explained. If the money comes in as promised for this school year, it could mean about $940,000 to MVSD.
“The SRS funds – which, note, we don’t have anything in hand yet, — could help with the parking lots and the need to update the HVAC systems,” Scheibe said.
He explained the parking lots at Grangeville and Clearwater Valley High schools were paved more than a year ago but were never seal coated to preserve the life of that paving job.
“It would be irresponsible not to finish that job and get the most out of a needed, yet expensive, project,” he said.
The district’s schools were mostly all constructed 40 to 50 years ago and require a certain minimum maintenance to keep them up, he added. The HVAC systems were all installed or replaced around the same time and many are at the end of their life cycles.
“We have tried to loosen the patron perception that forest funds are for operations,” Hogg said. “The levy actually provides for the day-to-day operations of the district.”
Scheibe said the district does not plan to “just run out and spend” the SRS money.
“We were surprised to hear we will get the funding, and we will look with a very critical eye at what it needs to go for,” he said.
The district’s $3,090,048 levy request passed with 53 percent voting in favor March 13. The levy funds will remain in use for the schools’ operations, to keep things status quo, he said.
Scheibe said he hopes in the future the district can run a two-year levy.
“The stress in staff in not knowing what is going to happen and the difficulty in planning is really rough,” he said. “A year reprieve between levies would be a good thing for morale and planning.”