GRANGEVILLE – A group of more than 45 people crowded into the Mountain View School District 244 district office meeting room Tuesday, Jan. 22, for the regular monthly board meeting.
“If it’s not on the agenda, we won’t be addressing it,” said board chair Lot Smith prior to a public input session. “If it’s the same thing month after month, we could forfeit the input session all together. Since there’s only four signed up, we’ll go ahead with it.”
Patron Kim Wolfrum said she was speaking on behalf of the community to “encourage you to negotiate with our teachers.”
“I see the budget did not have the shortfall you anticipated,” she said, asking the board to think of the “best interests of our children and the broader scope of the community.”
Patron Becky Goldman said, as a landowner, she supports levies.
“We need good schools, or our community will spiral down,” she said.
Patron Susan Graves said she feels frustration amongst the teachers.
“I would like to see you start working together so they can feel a level of security [in their jobs],” she said. She added she felt some patron concerns were dismissed at the previous board meeting, and she would like to request a meeting to “better understand what it takes to run the district.”
“Our budget meetings each June are open meetings,” Lot Smith told her.
Later in the meeting, Smith said he was going out on his own to address some issues.
“We’ve been silent as a board for eight months, and have continued to do business as usual,” he stated.
He went on to read from what he said were minutes from an Aug. 17, 2017, special negotiations meeting and talked about what happened at that meeting, saying the board agreed to a one-time stipend of $1,944 per teacher.
“We’ve been beat up in the public – we’ve been accused of not playing fair by the union and out of the area attorneys,” he said.
Smith spoke of a variety of information listed on the CIEA (Central Idaho Education Association) Facebook page.
“Maybe you should get back to business [now] and quit slamming the teachers,” spoke out teacher Cary Draper from the audience.
Several comments were made by teachers in the gallery throughout Smith’s discourse.
“When was the last time the union proposed any cuts to help?” he asked.
“We’d like to, if you’d meet with us,” teacher Bernadette Edwards answered.
MVSD 244 teachers have been working without a current contract this school year as the union is still in mediation with the school district.