The April West Side School board meeting began with a passionate message of concern from John Olinger. He came to the board meeting to voice his worries about the potential hazards of police drug raids at the school. One instance he articulated was the piling of student backpacks for the drug dogs to sniff, calling it invasive. One of several horror stories he repeated to the board was where a young girl on the east coast was strip searched after a false positive. The board replied that they would take his concerns under advisement.
The discussion then centered on the first day of school. Due to a quirk of the calendar the traditional first day of school overlapped with one of the days of the Franklin County Fair on Aug. 19. After a brief debate and input from Jase Cundick, a member of the community, the first day of school was moved ahead to Aug. 23, with the trade off being that Christmas Break is now a day shorter, starting Dec. 23.
The ripple effects from the pandemic continue to affect daily life most notably for teachers. Due to the Idaho State Legislature being in session at the time of reporting, and likely to be in session for the rest of the month, the budget for primary and secondary education has yet to be approved. To accommodate for this the board will allow for teacher contracts to be issued prior to next board meeting if funding for the 2022 Fiscal Year is allocated as projected. The certified salary schedule would then be ratified in the May 19 board meeting.
In other news, with the release of new census data comes the need for the school board to reevaluate whether rezoning of the school district is needed to ensure equal representation of the West Side community on the school board. In previous years the data was released between July 31 and Oct. 31. The school district will then have 120 days to shift any boundaries. Changes will be made if the difference between zones exceeds 10%.
Busing within the district is also being reviewed, everything from the length of the ride and number of riders to the overall safety of the busses and their routes.