School Board Meeting | August
The monthly meeting of the Oneida School Board was held on August 15, 2023, with a quorum present; Chalae Teeples and Tresie Carter were absent. Kelly Hill, Director of Oneida School District Transportation, was honored for receiving the Spot Inspection of the Year Award for Region 5 from the Idaho State Department of Transportation. (See The Idaho Enterprise of August 17.)
Finalization of Bond Sale
Eric Heringer, Brandon Helgeson, and Nick Miller of Piper Sandler, an investment banking and financial services company, were present via Zoom to explain the final bond language to ensure it is ready to sell to fund the building of the new elementary school. Attorneys with Hawley Troxell were the legal advisers for the bond, and J.P. Morgan is the lender. As explained by the representatives of Piper Sandler, $20 million will be tax exempt with less than $9 million taxable at 5.67%. Because of House Bill 292, the District will receive more funding from the State than was expected at the time of the bond election, making the District’s share $8.8 million instead of $9.9 million. The bond sale will close on August 31.
Because of its advantageous financial position due to the additional money from the State, the District will be able to hold another bond election soon to fund an auditorium/gymnasium for the high school. Once the District’s debt capacity allows, which should be in less than three years, another bond election will be held to ensure the District is eligible to receive State funding for the new facility. The District’s share of the cost of the new facility will again be in hand, resulting in no new cost to taxpayers.
In answer to a question from Board member Brandon Ward, Superintendent Jon Abrams explained that the bond for the elementary school cannot be paid off early without incurring additional charges that would offset the advantages of early repayment. The bond is scheduled to be paid off in three years.
Superintendent Abrams reported that the buildings will be ready for school to start on Monday, August 21. The opening staff meetings held during the past two weeks have gone well, and teachers, administrators, and staff are ready for students to arrive for a new school year.
Roofs have been replaced on Malad Middle School and Stone Elementary School and partially replaced where needed on Malad High School. The re-paved and striped parking lots at Malad Middle and High Schools are ready. The new bus drop-off areas at the Middle and High Schools will be marked so parents will be able to figure out the new traffic patterns.
Concrete footings are being poured for the new elementary school. A water leak was discovered near the north end of the school (near Pioneer Park) and has been fixed. The construction project is on schedule.
The ball diamonds are progressing although Mr. Abrams has been told he needs to go to the City Planning and Zoning Committee to get full approval for the diamonds. Two bids were received for development of the ball diamonds. The bid from Idaho Materials for $739,900 was the low bid and was approved by the Board.
New Computer Apps
Mr. Abrams and Kelly Hill explained that new computer software, “Bus Right,” will enable parents to see where school buses are, which will be convenient especially on days when there is a delayed start due to bad weather.
The new “Oneida 351” app mirrors the District website (oneidaschooldistrict.org) and can be downloaded by the public to provide easy access to the website. The app will provide notifications of announcements, such as school closures or late starts, and the calendars of events for all schools. Information about such resources as those for mental health and suicide awareness can be found on the website and on the “Oneida 351” app.
The Board approved changes to the Dual Enrollment Policy to bring the District policy into alignment with changes in State policy.
Representatives of the Malad High School Girls Soccer Team were present to provide information as the Board considered the District funding the soccer team as it does all other interscholastic teams. The team has had to raise all of its own funds for coaches’ salaries (most have been volunteer), trips, and team expenses since the Board approved girls’ soccer several years ago as a high school sport but without funding the team. The Board voted to bring the funding of the girls’ soccer team into alignment with funding of the other high school sports.
Representatives of the Malad High School Cross Country Team were present as the Board considered their request to participate in the Bob Firman Invitational Cross Country Meet, one of the premier meets in the region, to be held at Eagle Island State Park near Boise. The Board approved the team trip for August 22-23.
The Board approved an overnight trip on September 8-9 for the Malad High School Volleyball Team to go to Star Valley, Wyoming.
The Board reminded the teams that if trips are over 100 miles, the extra expenses must be paid by the teams.
Mr. Bob Hannah, Principal of Malad Middle School, spoke briefly about the request from Jennifer Hill for a cheerleading team to be started at Malad Middle School. The Board voted to table action on the request to allow for more information to be provided and to determine the impact of another sports team on existing teams at the Middle School.
In other actions, the Malad High School Handbook for 2023-2024 was approved. The Board approved the stipends for coaches after Mr. Abrams explained that coaching stipends were based on percentages of the coaches’ base salaries. The Board approved the bus routes for the year; they are the same as last year.
Mr. Abrams noted that the school dress policy needs to be reviewed at a work meeting. The District will be purchasing a new car as the transmission in the Chevy Cruze is no longer fixable.
The following personnel were approved, pending their passing the State-mandated background check: Alice Nieffenegger as a Malad Elementary School cook; Kimberly Jeppson as a MES computer lab paraprofessional; Justin Howe as a MES special education aide; Elizabeth Godfrey and Beth McClain as Malad Middle School paraprofessionals; JaNae Daniels as a Malad High School special education paraprofessional; Denise Rich as a special education bus aide; Brianne Adams as MHS head softball coach; Laren Nalder as MMS assistant football coach; Tylee Skinner as MHS assistant cross country coach; Baylee Burbidge as MMS assistant cross country coach; Kaliegh Worrell as a Stone Elementary School special education paraprofessional; and Mark Colton and Patrick Evans as substitute bus drivers. Emergency provisional certification was approved for Ashlyn Jacobsen as a MHS English teacher. Susan Clark and Erika Taysom were approved for ABCTE alternative authorization for elementary teacher certification.
Enrollment at IHLA continues to increase with over 7000 students enrolled this year. Because of the expansion of IHLA, the State is requiring some changes in the organization of the school, including IHLA becoming a charter school. More discussion of this change and its impact on the District will come at a work meeting at a date to be determined.
The Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Legacy Family School to provide curricula for IHLA.
The Board approved 39 teachers and staff for IHLA. The Board approved alternative authorization for content specialists through ABCTE for 37 IHLA teachers. Two other IHLA teachers were approved for other alternative authorization certification methods. Emergency provisional certification was approved for one IHLA teacher.
The Idaho School Board Association annual convention will be in November in Boise. The next meeting of the ISBA Region 5 will be on October 2 in Pocatello. Due to some conflicts, the October meeting of the Oneida School Board will be on October 24, the fourth Tuesday instead of the third.