Valley Journal

New board members take positions

ARLEE – Newly elected board members Lisa Koetter and Wendy Forgey were sworn in last week to replace Shelly Fyant and Richard Bachmeier. Rick Desjarlais was nominated as the new head chair and Kris Gardner as the vice chair. Superintendent George Linthicum thanked the outgoing members and the newly appointed board, saying that being on the board is “a big commitment.”

Linthicum said that he was asked several times by people in the community about his plans for the school after the technology and infrastructure levies failed during the election. He stated that the district is looking for alternative funding sources.

“We will continue to provide education,” he said. “We will have to check our priorities and do the best that we can.”

The board accepted the collective bargaining agreement for certified teachers with a one percent increase in pay for the next school year.

“I’m pleased we settled with the certified and union tonight,” Linthicum said.

Administrators and the board decided to combine the now-empty athletic director and the assistant director’s positions. It was noted that many schools have one athletic director. The board decided to advertise in-house to fill the position before opening it up to the public. 

The board approved teachers’ requests to hire a Gear Up teacher rather than split the job between teachers. The position is paid through a Gear Up grant. The teachers noted that it was important to hire a person that could focus completely on Gear Up responsibilities so that the school would continue to qualify for the grant that provides scholarships and student programs.

A new traffic education guide was approved by the board. Driver’s Education teacher Susan Carney was on the team that helped create the new statewide program.

“I don’t know if you remember your Driver’s Ed, but it was dry,” she said of the old program. “We want students engaged.”

The project took a few years to complete and was compiled onto a single computer-based file so that teachers can use computers in their Driver’s Education lessons. 

“I’ve also been given the task to train future Driver’s Education teachers for the state,” she said.

The school received a Title I summer preschool grant serving four and five-year-old students. Anyone interested in signing up a child is encouraged to contact the school.

Six students are graduating from the Yes program, the school’s alternative graduation program. 

“Five of the six were drop outs,” Principal Jim Taylor said. “We are very proud that it’s all coming together.”

The football team received approval from the board for out of state travel to play against a team from Pullman, Washington for the next season. The team was scheduled to have a shortage of local games so administrators looked for outside competition. Funding for the game comes from the team’s general fund at no cost to the school. The team needed permission to travel in case the location was moved.

“Plans are for them to come here,” Principal Jim Taylor said. “It’s a chance for our kids to play another game.”

The board accepted the resignation of elementary teacher Dan Ries and the retirement of high school math teacher Jim Lindsey. 

The next regular board meeting is on June 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the district office. 

 

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