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Patrons, teachers push school board for answers

The Mountain View School District 244 school board listens during public input session May 21 at Kooskia. (L-R) Lot Smith, Rebecca Warden, Mike Dominguez, Brad Lutz and Casey Smith.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
The Mountain View School District 244 school board listens during public input session May 21 at Kooskia. (L-R) Lot Smith, Rebecca Warden, Mike Dominguez, Brad Lutz and Casey Smith.

— A miscommunication on procedure left one Mountain View School District 244 patron frustrated recently.

At the May 21 school board meeting in Kooskia, Mt. Idaho resident John Warford expressed those frustrations.

“I went in to the office twice to get on the agenda to speak about something – which is what I was told to do at the April meeting,” he said. “I was told by the secretary I did not have to do that; I could just sign up to speak at the meeting.”

“You can place a request with the superintendent to be on the agenda, but it’s our choice on whether to honor that,” answered board chair Mike Dominguez of Kooskia.

Warford asked again — as he did at the April meeting — what the repercussions are for the staff members who participated in the school walkout March 14.

“We’re not going to comment on that,” Dominguez said. “You are welcome to go to the school administrators or the superintendent and ask your questions.”

“Then how does someone from the public with concerns get an answer?” Warford asked.

“What if others want to know the same thing?” interjected patron Mary Ann Blees of Clearwater.

Trustee Brad Lutz of Grangeville said the first place to go is the building administrator and then, if not satisfied, the superintendent, who will discuss the concern with the board if needed.

“I understand the chain of command, I was in the Navy,” Warford said, moving back to the walkout. “I think it’s inappropriate for our employees to walk out. Do they get demerits? Or a dock in pay for this?”

“We’re not going to comment on that,” Dominguez said. “This is our business meeting, conducted in public. It’s not a conversation.”

“I’m ashamed of you,” Warford told the board. “The first five letters in your title? Well, there is no trust.”

“Thank you for your comments,” Dominguez said.

Next up signed in for the public input session was Grangeville Elementary Middle School physical education instructor, Katrena Foltz Hauger.

“I would like to know the costs for the district to hire a lawyer for negotiations,” Foltz Hauger asked, repeating an April request.

“Direct that to our superintendent, Mr. Scheibe,” Dominguez said.

“I asked at the previous board meeting, but I can always do a public information request. Thank you,” Foltz Hauger said.

Clearwater Valley Elementary School teacher (second-third grade) Joe Tosten also spoke during public input.

“I think multiage classrooms work well here, except for math,” he said. Tosten said he has had up to 34 students this year and it’s a dilemma to figure out the most effective way to teach math.


Joe Tosten

“I would ask you to consider additional staffing – at least for math,” he implored. “I really worry about the kids’ foundation in that area; if they don’t get that now, they won’t have it in the following years.”

Laster in the meeting during the second public input time, GEMS third grade teachers Bernadette Edwards and Jan Work each addressed concern about the overload for the GEMS principal, Dr. Susan Anderson.

“I would like to see about the possibility of more full-time staff at GEMS, especially the consideration of a vice-principal,” she said. “Susan has 600-plus kids and 60-plus staff to manage all by herself.”

“I see how hard she works, and I don’t understand why there isn’t anyone to help her,” Edwards said.

“I want to piggyback on that,” Work said. “I feel Dr. Anderson needs help, and I don’t understand how this district is so ill-equipped – including one counselor for all of K through eight.”

Prior to the meeting, trustees were in training, as they have been for several previous sessions, with two members of the Idaho School Board Association.

Dominguez stated the trustees are better learning how to conduct their meetings in the proper ways.


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