As of Tuesday, January 30, 2018
KAMIAH Kamiah Joint School District 304 will try again for a levy come March 13.
“I think we’re ready; I think we’re in a good place,” said superintendent Steve Higgins.
JSD 304 will ask patrons to pass a $500,000 maintenance and operations levy March 13.
“This will help offset some of the costs associated with running our district without breaking the bank in our community,” Higgins said.
A portion of funds are required by the state for areas such as maintenance and special education, he added. Higgins also said the district needs to look forward to replacing science curriculum, which is about 20 years old, as well as upgrade heating and cooling systems, which are also aging.
“Some of these maintenance items are nickel and diming us to death and we need to update,” he emphasized.
Last year, trustees voted to go to a four-day school week for the 2018-19 school year.
“This will save us in the neighborhood of $70,000,” Higgins said. “Otherwise, we would have had to ask for that much more in the levy.”
Higgins said it’s important to maintain the community’s investment in the schools.
“The state has let us know if we want local control of our funds, great – it’s up to us to ask the taxpayers to bear that extra taxation,” he stated. “We do have to remember, our schools reflect our community and our communities reflect our schools – it goes hand in hand.”
Higgins said the Kamiah district has never been one to have a contingency fund, so that is not an option.
“Our community made it clear in the past that they wanted us to use our reserves before we asked them for extra,” Higgins said. “We’ll, we are there. We don’t have any other choices.”
A committee set up to look at funding issues made the recommendation to close the middle school and consolidate buildings if the levy doesn’t pass.
“That’s not a threat and I would hate to see that happen,” Higgins said. “We are just trying to come up with ways to make it work.”
Higgins said they will not reduce athletics or programs.
“But a building does not educate kids, people do. So, if worse came to worse, we would close that building,” he said.
Higgins added that he does not feel that is way the district is headed, however.
“There are really good things happening in this community and with our kids, and I think we have a good support system of people who want to see our district continue to flourish,” he said.