Just how the Preston High School Athletics department will raise funds was not determined, but school board members did realize that the $15,000, the gold cards raised this year is funding athletics programs depend on.

Items purchased with gold card funding include a program that allows for tracking a sporting game with a video and pull out statistics, helmets, scorebooks, nets, whistles, water bottles, coolers, drink mixes, new game balls, scorebooks, etc.

“There are certainly some we can do with out but most are necessary to keep a program running along. We recognized that if the gold card funding is not there, then that $15,000 comes out of the athletic budget, which is now paying for field markers, fencing, officials, etc,” said district superintendent Marc Gee.

“It definitely is worth kids going out (to sell). If you had a different product, it might be $30,000,” said board member Brandon Roberts.

Gee clarified that although the school has $15,000 from the gold card fund-raiser, community paid $25,000 for it.

Board members noted that there are other ways patrons can help the district raise the funds needed to run sports programs at PHS.

Offering a punch card to patrons that will get them into events instead of a gold card or accepting donations earmarked for sports through the Preston Education Foundation were two suggested alternatives.

It was also noted that each sporting team receives about $1,000 from the fund-raiser, except cross country because its costs are lower and cheer and dance, which were just recently included in the program.

While discussion sports, the board also considered entrance fees for high school soccer team games. But because the soccer field is visible from the roads around it, the district did not think it would be an effective fund-raising mechanism. Board member Joy Christensen also noted that many of the people attending games are parents who have already paid for equipment for their kids to pay.

No decisions were made from the discussion, other than “consistency throughout sports is something that would be good, but some board members are on the fence about it,” said board member Fred Titensor. “We don’t want to start (anything) this year.”

The board heard from elementary curriculum coordinator Lance Harrison and Crystal Malcolm regarding improving the literacy of elementary students.

“Last year 55% of students K-3 were at (their grade) reading level. At the end of the year, 73% were on grade level,” he said. This year we have 56 percent on grade level (to start out the year.)

Malcolm was recently hired as a literacy coach to help the school get at least 80 percent of the students reading at grade level by spring. Initially, she said, she is working with Title 1, English Language Learners and Special Education students to increase literacy. She is also working to educate parents and preschool parents to know what is required for being ready for kindergarten.

Ellen Gregory, who teaches college and career readiness, noted that four dual-credit courses, a research writing class, and an expansion of Utah State broadcast classes have been added to the school. last year, the school’s students enrolled in 434 dual credits and this year, they have enrolled in 522 dual credits. She noted that the school will host a FAFSA (financial aid) Fill Out Night at the school again on Oct. 23, in the Preston High School Library to help students prepare for secondary educational opportunities.

“I think our kids are getting more and more use out of those things (programs and funding) that are available to them.” she said.

The board directed the district superintendent to find out whether the results of the Idaho Healthy Survey would actually be used by educators before administering it. They are uncomfortable with posing some of the questions to younger students, due to their explicit nature regarding the use of drugs and suicide.

It was noted that surroundings school district administered the survey without discussion because they felt the information they received from it was valuable.

“I read though again and I didn’t even understand some of the questions. I was kind of shocked. You start googling the stuff and it tells you how to buy things that are illegal in only three states. Can order online. I was really concerned. I would hate to have my 6th grader take this,” said Roberts. Titensor agreed.

“If you aren’t going to review, don’t give it,” said Christensen.

A report on funds donated to the school district by the Bright Family several years ago, which are earmarked for teaching the arts, pleased board members. Since the board turned those funds over to the Idaho Community Foundation for management, they have grown to over $600,000 now. Last year the funds provided over $31,186 for the arts department, which is directed by Jill Durrant. Digital drawing tablets for the art department are an example of what those funds purchased last year. The department is also saving some of the annual funding for larger purchases, said Gee.

As the district moves towards addressing future growth in the district, it is compiling needs that could be covered by a new plant facility levy.

Principals and supervisors of each school and department in the district created initial lists the board will consider. They include the following by school:

Preston High School: updated classrooms in the old parts of the school, heating, air conditioning, track resurfacing (includes tearing it out to create a berm so the district can host district meets) remodeling the home economics kitchen, creating storage at the back of auditorium, air conditioning in the auditorium and finding a way to expand the size of the auditorium.

Preston Junior High: installing cameras throughout, expand and upgrade the gym, including re-doing the gym floor, bleachers, air conditioning for the whole building and adding additional rooms. the junior high is the building most pressed for space, said Gee.

Oakwood Elementary — continued work on pods, cameras, a sound system for the gym, remodel the front entry to improve safety and an upgraded bell system.

Pioneer Elementary — a new air system for the old part of building, technology, handheld touchscreen tablets, interactive projectors, shade structures on the playground, for both students and adult monitors, a computer lab.

Transportation department — a travel bus.

Considering the fact that the district saved $200,000 in transportation costs by purchasing and using vans for student trips, Roberts suggested the district would find that a travel bus would “pay for itself in a couple of years.”

The school board suggested school principals prioritize the lists then the members would tour the district in October to finalize which items to take to the public in March for a vote.

“We have to plan for future,” said Titensor. He believes the district should also be looking for land to purchase for future expansion.

Teacher Amy Marshall reported that the teachers raised funds for a scholarship to be awarded to a senior by raffling off a quilt.

Gee and district staff were praised for a smooth start to the school year, and Roberts noted his appreciation for the district’s athletic coaches.

“Just watching the sacrifice that a lot of these coaches make — they don’t really make any money, but you can really see that these coaches love these kids. Long games, getting home in middle of night — hats off to all these coaches for effort they put in. We really do have great sports programs,” he said.

Christensen noted that the Preston Education Foundation recently raised $6,100 for the district and that the Oakwood’s gymnasium floor has been repaired and resurfaced.

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