As of Tuesday, February 20, 2018
CLEARWATER VALLEY This past week I stayed up way too late watching the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Our American athletes, brown, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor, immigrants or native born have skated, skied, jumped, flown, flipped and spun their hearts out on the world stage. Great to see the grace and style of our athletes and their respect for their teammates and competitors. It’s about so much more than sports and watching them makes me proud to be an American.
In local sports, teachers and coaches at Kamiah High School have been going the extra mile to raise money for sports facilities for students. Last year physical education teacher, Andy Martin, raised $25,000 through grants and donations to buy new weightlifting and other fitness equipment to replace aging equipment that was not functional or becoming unsafe. Thanks to Martin the students have a quality facility for use by students whether or not they are involved with a sports team.
Kamiah High School, with the impetus led by track coaches Janna Privette and Jimmy Engledow, is working to raise $120,000 in three months to resurface the track at the Bob Squires Sports Complex. Having a well-maintained track provides a safe year-round place, away from traffic, for students to walk or run for training for sports or general health. I read in Military Times recently that an estimated 70 percent of high school students are considered too unfit to qualify to pass U.S. Army entrance standards. Having safe functional sports facilities can help combat that trend.
The Kamiah High School has raised a remarkable $60,000 in the past six weeks, but needs to raise the rest by the end of March to proceed with the project and continue to use the track for competitions that bring people to the area. If you want to support our student athletes you can mail a check to Kamiah Joint School District ATTN: Track resurfacing project, 1102 Hill Street, Kamiah ID, 83536. You can contact Coach Janna Privette at email@example.com if you have questions about the project. They also have a gofundme.com site to accept donations.
In addition to raising money for sports, teachers and parents donate funds for other school activities. Last fall outdoor photographer Robert Millage donated $900 for supplies for the Kamiah School district after a conversation with art teacher Ben Henderson identified the shortfall of funds for art supplies.
There are many other instances at Kamiah schools of teachers, coaches, parents and students donating many hours of their time and fund-raising for many things to help the students succeed, like the Valley Education Support Team (VEST) which raised $12,000 to help Clearwater Valley Schools. Teachers at Clearwater Valley also applied for and obtained a grant for welding equipment which enables them to teach this important technical skill to interested students. The people of the Kooskia and Kamiah communities are often generous and supportive of school clubs, sports and the drama program. I have met up with some great teachers through my work on this column and admire their dedication.
It makes me sad that our Idaho State Legislature does not value school funding on par with surrounding states and the rest of the country. Last I heard, we were 49th in per pupil funding, ahead of only Mississippi in funding education. At the National level the United States Congress has not reauthorized Secure Rural Schools (SRS) funding for the past two years, leaving a big hole in local school district budgets. That leaves it up to the local school districts to try to fill the gap. Early voting is now open for levies in both Mountain View and Kamiah School districts. If you have questions about the levies, get the facts by calling your local school district.