“I would like to know when it’s appropriate for me to talk about the walkout and the levy,” John Warford of Mt. Idaho questioned the Mountain View School District board at its April 16 meeting.
Chair Mike Dominquez, Kooskia, explained the session was a business meeting held in public.
“Those items are not on the agenda,” he explained. “You would have to request they be placed on the agenda to be open for discussion.”
“However, you have three minutes now for public comment and you can say whatever you want,” trustee Rebecca Warden of Grangeville said.
Warford asked whom he would talk to about the agenda and the board directed him to Superintendent Marc Scheibe.
“But I didn’t vote for him – I voted for you,” Warford told the board.
Dominguez explained Scheibe represents the board and agenda items go through him.
“OK – I have some concerns about the walkout that happened at Grangeville High School [March 14],” he said. “As a taxpayer, I have concerns about paid employees of the school district being involved in this. I know it was just a walk around the school, but as their employer, I want to know what the ramifications are of this?”
Warford said he believes in public education and is a product of it, but he also has concerns about the SRS (Secure Rural Schools) funding that came through following the passage of the district’s $3 million levy March 13.
“Since Congress provided funds, what will you do with the extra money?” he asked. “I think you need to get a community group together to discuss this.”
Scheibe went into his report following Warford’s comments and agreed SRS funds do need to be discussed.
Scheibe discussed the “extreme water issues” at GHS that need resolved, as well as seal coating the parking lots at GHS and Clearwater Valley High School in Kooskia, and updating the H-VAC systems throughout the district.
“Of course, student safety has to be on the forefront of whatever we do,” he said. “Staff safety is also integral.”
Part of this, he said, is updating the vehicle fleet used by staff. This includes the district speech pathologist and nurse who travel to Elk City and Kooskia.
“We also have mandatory meetings and conference and we have people who take their own vehicles because not all of ours are trustworthy for winter travel,” he said. When this happens, those traveling are paid the government per-mile rate.
Scheibe said the SRS funds need to get back to what they were intended for – maintenance.
He also reported he is excited to be talking to Lewis-Clark Early Childhood Program (LCECP, or Head Start) out of Lewiston about starting a program in Kooskia.
“This would be wonderful for that community,” he said.
“How does this help us?” asked trustee Casey Smith of Clearwater.
“It would be an advantage to kids and help them prepare for kindergarten at no cost,” Scheibe said.
Dominguez advised Scheibe “make sure there are no strings attached.”
“They aren’t curriculum based,” and do not do things the way the district does, he added.
Scheibe assured that all information will be taken into consideration.
Grangeville Elementary Middle School currently houses LCECP (Head Start) at its facility.
Clearwater Valley Elementary School teachers Mr. Wingfield and Mr. Tosten both attended the meeting to speak (public comment session) on computer usage concerns expressed at the February meeting concerning students’ looking at inappropriate materials.
“I just want to make clear that the computer use in my classroom is not a ‘time killer,’” Tosten said. “I have lesson plans that may utilize the computers, but it’s not a free-time reward.”
Tosten said expectations for use are made clear in his classroom, and he feels students are honoring that.
Wingfield said when CV purchased Chromebooks through a grant they had seen that several schools using them were “very high performing.”
“In my class, we can do 1,000 extra math problems on the Chromebooks in a year,” he said. “The positives are truly amazing.”
He said kids in his class do not have time to search on their own during school for inappropriate material.
“Do kids ever make mistakes? Yes. They learn and we move on,” he said.