Firth begins four-day school year in fall

FIRTH — Firth School District will have a four-day school week starting this fall.
Firth trustees were able to keep the lid on a meeting that could have been explosive.
They approved the following changes:
° A four-day school year with Fridays off. Trustees approved this change by a 3-1 margin. John Monson voted in opposition.
The class hours will run from 8 a.m. to 3:51 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The number of days in school totals 146. This meets state requirements. (During the Firth school year 2010-2011, the number of days in school totaled 161.)
In the middle and high schools, there will be seven-period days. Each period will last 62 minutes. The school calendar is divided into two semesters. The elementary school already operates in that way.
° Spud Harvest is from Sept. 26 through Oct. 6. After Spud Harvest, school begins Oct. 10.
° Trustees unanimously ratified the teachers' contracts. The Firth Teacher Association had previously ratified them.
° Firth is now an open enrollment district with specific procedures outlined. The procedures include limiting the number of kids in the grade levels and allowing only one foreign student in the high school per year. Trustees unanimously approved the change.
People who own property in the district and who want their children to attend school in Firth would be given preference, said Superintendent Sid Tubbs.
This policy and procedures will be reviewed in one year.
° Policy 5740, Reduction in Force, was approved 4-0.
° Trustee Ramona Mitchell resigned from her position effective Thursday because of health reasons. Her school zone is approximately the city of Firth.
Trustees will appoint a person to Zone 5 at their next school board meeting on July 14. Applications for this position are available at the district office from June 13 to July 7.
If interested, a person must be at least 18 years old, reside in Zone 5 and be able to vote, having been a resident of Idaho for 30 days.
The applicants will be interviewed by the trustees in open session. Board members will then choose the new trustee.
The new trustee will take office on Thursday, Aug. 11, and can chose to run for the office during the next trustee election on May 12, 2012.
° Firth Middle School librarian Teresa Cox retired from the Firth School District after working in the district 25 years.
A lively discussion among patrons centered mostly on the four- and five-day school week. Patrons were respectful and civil.
Does the district have too many administrators was one of the question. Another individual questioned the salaries received by personnel in the district office.
Business Manager Julie Cederberg presented the district's proposed budget.
There is a decrease in salaries by $204,232, a change of -7.72 percent, and decrease in benefits of $28,580, a change of -3.24 percent.
The budget for school year 2010-11 totaled $3,713,649. The proposed budget for 2011-12 totals $3,696,290. This is a difference of $17,359, a -0.47 percent change.
In the expenditures for the school district, supplies and materials increased by 4.46 percent. Insurance increased by 0.84 percent.
The contingency reserve (savings) for last school year was $180,000. No money remains in the contingency reserve for the upcoming school year.
Money received for the district's general fund is down -0.47 percent from local tax, local and state revenue.
Resources categorized as "all other funds," are down -2.76 percent from local, state and federal sources. The budget entry entitled "all other funds" are funds received for specific programs that can only by used for those specific programs.
Expenditures from "all other funds" are down -2.76 percent.
Firth trustees voted unanimously to accept this budget.