School Board Meeting—March
The regular monthly meeting of the Oneida School Board was held on Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Board member Chalae Teeples was not present. Brent Grote, Malad Elementary School 3rd grade teacher, was honored as the “Employee of the Month.” (See accompanying article.)
The Board recognized the achievements of several Malad High School teams: the girls’ wrestling team, the boys’ wrestling team that took 4th at State, and the Academic Team that was the only undefeated 2A team at the Science Bowl.
Representatives of the FFA reported on their trip to the World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, and on their trip to Twin Falls to the State Leadership Convention.
Camia Bean and Aubrey Palmer, representing the FCCLA, requested permission for six students to attend the FCCLA State Competition in Boise on April 5-7. The Board approved the trip.
School Bond Update
Superintendent Jon Abrams and the Board expressed appreciation for the passage of the bond that will allow the building of a new elementary school. The results of the election have been canvassed by the Oneida County Commissioners and confirmed as accurate. Of the 2837 registered voters in Oneida County, 1465 (51.6%) voted with 86% (1270) voting in favor of the bond and 14% (195) voting against the bond. The bond had to get 66 2/3% “yes” votes in order to pass.
Hawley Troxell, the law firm serving as bond counsel for the School District, has notified the District that a special School Board meeting must be held the week of May 8 so that the Board can adopt a Bond Resolution, authorizing the sale of bonds to financial institutions that have submitted proposals for the purchase of bonds.
The Board briefly discussed the ground-breaking for the new school, suggesting that students be involved in the ceremony. The date for the ground-breaking ceremony will be announced once the weather improves so that the ceremony can be held.
Mr. Abrams announced that federal funds will enable the completion of many maintenance projects at all schools so that the buildings will be in good condition. The following projects will be funded by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER money tied to COVID relief).
Projects that have been completed or will be completed by December 2023: purchase of Chrome Books for students; improvement of the MHS and MMS HVAC systems; seating for the bus shop; removal of a wall in the MHS weight room; installation of heat pumps at MHS; relocation of the MES propane tank; installation of a fire monitoring system at MMS; installation of a heating system in the MHS auto shop; replacement of part of the MHS roof over the gym and wrestling room; and replacement of the Stone Elementary roof.
To be completed by December 2024: purchase of student desks for MHS; remodeling and painting of MHS restrooms; replacement of the roof on MMS; and support for mental health initiatives throughout the District.
Short reports were presented by the building administrators. Mr. Abrams reported that several projects have been completed at Stone Elementary School, including new carpet, painting, a new roof, and remodeling of the kitchen.
Ms. Sarah McIntyre, Principal of Malad Elementary School, reminded everyone that Grandparents’ Day would be the next day. The Idaho Theater for Youth will be at the school in April.
Mr. Robert Hannah, Principal of Malad Middle School, reported that the two MMS Science Club teams had competed in the annual Science Bowl in Idaho Falls. Both teams took 2nd place in their divisions and so had to compete against each other, with Malad 1 narrowly defeating Malad 2 to win 3rd place overall. Both the 7th and 8th grade boys basketball teams were District champions. The MMS student body officers went to Idaho State University for leadership meetings, the 7th grade humanities classes took a field trip to the Eccles Theater, and the 6th grade took a field trip to the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls.
Mr. Michael Corbett, Principal of Malad High School, reported that the school had received vape detectors to be used on a trial basis.
Dr. Terri Sorensen, Administrator of the Idaho Home Learning Academy, reported that testing had started and that getting 7000 students tested involved a lot of coordination by a lot of people. At this point 2812 students are registered for next year, which is about the same as last year at this time.
Superintendent Abrams reported that Idaho and several other states had received word of an agreement with JUUL Labs, settling a 2-year lawsuit against the company for marketing its vaping products to teens. Although it will take several months to work out the details, Oneida School District may receive between $40,000 and $50,000; the money will be used to educate students about the dangers of vaping, which is becoming a big problem at Malad High School, as elsewhere in the state.
Mr. Abrams reported that the Idaho legislative session is winding down. The Joint Finance Committee recommended big salary increases for teachers and classified staff, which will improve education in Idaho when Districts can recruit and keep good teachers. The increases will mean that Idaho will no longer be near the bottom of the list of states in teacher salaries. A bill passed that cancelled March elections.
The following personnel were approved, pending passage of the State-mandated background check: Seth Fesler as a substitute teacher; Tyler Cook as a MMS overflow teacher for next year; and five teachers for IHLA. It was noted that Billy Kimberling had resigned as MHS head track coach. The Board approved Tyler Cook for ABCTE alternate authorization content specialist.