Firth board not interested in consolidation study

FIRTH — Trustees of the Firth School Board have no interest in participating in a district consolidation study.
Superintendent Sid Tubbs noted that the State Office of Education will make $10,000 available to each district to pay for a study on consolidation. He noted the Blackfoot and Snake River districts have already indicated that they plan to participate in such a study.
"My feeling from the community is we don't want to consolidate," Tubbs said. He noted that participation in the study wouldn't force the district to consolidate. "That's still up to locals to determine." He noted such a study would take up to a year to complete.
The state office is offering each county the opportunity to consider the feasibility of consolidation. Bingham County currently has five school districts.
When board chairman Barlow Cook called for a motion on the subject, none of the members put one forth, thus killing the topic.
That subject was one of those which superintendents from around the state discussed at a meeting with state superintendent Tom Luna and members of his staff.
They also discussed the pay for performance element of Luna's Students Come First law. Districts have until Sept. 1 to formulate their own plans on how that will work.
"Other districts are defaulting to the state plan," Tubbs noted.
The plan will determine how teachers will qualify for a share of $38 million.
Tubbs noted that, if districts didn't vote to default to the state plan and didn't meet the Sept. 1 deadline, they would automatically default.
With trustee Casey Park excused, the trustees voted 4-0 to default. Districts will have the opportunity to study how the plan works for a year, then formulate their own elements.
Tubbs also noted that Idaho has applied to utilize a Growth Model as a piece of the Annual Yearly Progress element of the federal No Child Left Behind law. He said that the Growth Model tests students on knowledge of certain core subjects at the beginning and end of the school year and uses their growth in knowledge as one element of determining if schools are successfully serving their students.
Asked how teachers and staff will deal with elementary students who will be in class longer each day under the four-day week, Tubbs noted that many classes or activities which will allow them to move around have been moved into the second half of each day. In addition, he said, the district will use a grant to provide a second nutrition break.
Trustees also received instruction from Idaho School Board Association trainer Liz Killpack and discussed district goals.
Before discussions began, Park was excused and Tubbs administered the oath of office to new member April Christensen.