Money matters for Blackfoot Schools

Catie Clark

The Board of Education of the Blackfoot School District met on Thursday evening at Fort Hall Elementary School. The Board's trustees considered multiple topics which will be covered in articles in both today's and Saturday's paper.
The items covered by the Board included: Native American education; the Indian Education Club of Blackfoot High School (BHS) and their upcoming pow wow; details on the two fire alarms at BHS this week; Senior Service Day; school registration and problems that Hispanic families have with it; the impact of charter schools on Blackfoot Public Schools; truthfulness in reporting Idaho's educational standing in the nation; review of district policies; district finances; and soliciting bids for several projects. Among those projects were: improving school security and access and the parking lots at Mountain View Middle School.

Financial update

Financial Manager Teresa Rowe reported on the district's financial standing. "We currently have $4.44 million ... which is $190 thousand more than we had at this time last year." Overall, the financial standing of Blackfoot's schools continues to improve.
Trustee Sonya Harris commented: "I'm impressed because prices go up, not down; and yet, these financial numbers are really good."

Mountain View Middle School parking lot bids

Facilities Director Hal Silzly presented a request for the district to solicit bids for the reconstruction of the parking lot at Mountain View Middle School. This is an item that required a school board vote.
The safety of the parking has been a subject of ongoing concern and has been included as a priority on the district's 10-year maintenance plan.
"It's congested," said Silzly. "Parents go through the staff parking and then turn around in the teardrop. It's not good, especially when there are busses present."
The Board approved the request for the district staff to seek bids for the work with the aim of doing the construction during the summer when school is not in session.

School Security and Safe Point Entry

Silzly updated the Board on improving security at schools, specifically the plans to install safe point entries to all the school facilities in the district. This is an item that was on the 10-year maintenance plan and was made the Board's number one priority at the February meeting.
"This comes before the parking lot," Trustee Dewane Wren remarked.
"We delayed the racquet ball courts to prioritize this" Chairman Mary Jo Marlow reminded those assembled.
Silzly outlined that the maintenance staff of the district could install the safe entry point systems at most of the schools in the district with the exception of four.
Blackfoot High School, Mountain View Middle School, Stoddard Elementary School and Fort Hall Elementary School. These have special problems in installing safe entry ways and Silzly requested that the district solicit bids for this project.
The Board had some discussion over the potential costs of outside contractors over concerns about the expense of architectural work. The request was approved since just requesting bids does not incur any costs and it would also provide an idea of who much the work would cost.