Board ratifies contract

BLACKFOOT — Members of the Blackfoot School District board of trustees ratified next year's contract with the Blackfoot Education Association at Thursday's meeting.
According to BEA Co-President Bobbie Jo Steffensen, the district offer is for a 1.25 percent pay increase to the members' base salaries. In addition, she said, the district will pay for any increases in insurance premiums for the next year.
Board members heard a report on teacher evaluations from committee member Alicia Higginson and on Pay for Performance from Anthony Peterson.
The committees addressed those subjects because they are elements of the new education laws which take effect on July 1.
"I like the idea that (a parental evaluation) is a tool for administrators," in addressing issues with teachers," Higginson said.
Committee chairman Christine Silzly noted that districts will be required to have support programs for teachers, especially those in their first and second years of their education careers.
Peterson reminded board members that the Blackfoot School District has chosen to create its own Pay for Performance model rather than using the template provided by the State Office of Education.
He said the district's model will feature different benchmarks for five different groups, including K-2, 3-5, 6-8, Blackfoot High School and Independence Alternative High School. All but the K-2 group will be judged upon 90 percent of their students showing a 5 percent improvement within the PLATO program.
Colin Folsom, the district's liaison with the Blackfoot Education Foundation, educated board members of BEF's donation procedures.
"It's not very often you can tell the government how to spend your tax dollars, but this is one way," Folsom said as he noted that teachers and community members at large can designate how and where their donations will be spent.
Folsom also discussed an online registration program which the district will begin using at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. He noted that parents will be able to fill out and download forms and bring them to registration for each child as well as apply for certain federal programs and pay various fees.
Dr. Taylor Johansen, a board member, asked about parents without Internet access. Folsom said those parents would be provided the opportunity to complete registration at the various school's computer lab with help from school personnel.
Following an executive session, board members approved the hiring of personnel, but didn't provide any further information.