Wednesday, May 05, 2010 From the Coeur d’Alene Press Corridor opponents speak out Amend addresses levy concerns From the Spokesman-Review Students helping students through Sparrow Club From the Moscow Pullman Daily News (password required) No education stories posted online today. From the Lewiston Tribune (password required) No education stories posted online today. From the Idaho-Press Tribune, Nampa No education stories posted online today. From the Idaho Statesman No education stories posted online today. From the Twin Falls Times-News Middle school task force visits Twin Falls From the Idaho State Journal (password Required) No education stories posted online today. From the Idaho Falls Post Register (password required) No education stories posted online today. FROM THE COEUR D’ALENE PRESS Corridor opponents speak out Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 11:25:56 pm PDT Email this story Printer friendly version By MAUREEN DOLAN Staff writer North Idaho Education Forum, Pachyderm Club sponsored $18 dinner COEUR d'ALENE -- North Idaho College's plan to move forward with the purchase of the Stimson Lumber Company's DeArmond Mill site has some opposition in high places. More than 100 people attended an $18 dollar a head Tuesday dinner forum on the tax impact of the educational corridor. The event, co-sponsored by the Pachyderm Club and the North Idaho Education Forum, was held at The Coeur d'Alene Best Western Inn. Invited speakers Rep. Bob Nonini R-Coeur d'Alene, Sen. Mike Jorgenson R-Hayden Lake, Coeur d'Alene Mines chief Dennis Wheeler and former Jobs Plus director Bob Potter blasted the college's decision to raise $10 million through foregone taxes to acquire the 17-acre parcel of waterfront land adjacent to the college from developer Marshall Chesrown to be used in the creation of the educational corridor. "There are plenty of places to put that campus. It doesn't have to go there," Nonini said. Nonini said he respects Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem and he knows how much having the educational corridor in the city's downtown area means to her. "But somebody's got to start looking out for the taxpayer," Nonini said. Bloem attended, but was not invited to speak or participate in the panel discussion. NIC trustee Ron Vieselmeyer was the only member of the panel representing the college. Moderator Duane Rasmussen said others had been invited, but could not attend. Kent Propst, NIC's vice president for community relations said during a phone interview earlier in the day that neither he nor college President Priscilla Bell were invited to speak at the event and that neither planned to attend. Propst said the college is holding a public forum on the topic May 22 on the NIC campus. Sen. John Goedde R-Coeur d'Alene, county tax assessor Mike McDowell, county commissioner Rich Piazza and Mary Souza made up the rest of the panel. Wheeler said before moving forward, NIC's board should contact Marshall Chesrown and try to make an arrangement to postpone the sale transaction and they should get an appraisal of the property. "I think you're kind of on a fast train going down the track," Wheeler said. Piazza said when he compares the cost of purchasing property on the prairie to the high cost of downtown waterfront property, he believes there is "a better buy out there." Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d'Alene, and others attended the forum, but did not pay for dinner. They had to pay $5 to get in the door and Sayler said he found that peculiar and inappropriate for an event billed as a public forum. "The manner in which they did this created a lot of questions for me. They were demanding transparency from NIC, but I think they have to live up to their own standards," Sayler said. Rasmussen said the North Idaho Education Forum is new. "It's a group of people that are interested in community issues," Rasmussen said. Rasmussen said the event was not a fundraiser and that the $18 fee was to cover dinner with $2 to cover the cost of advertising. Amend addresses levy concerns Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 11:25:57 pm PDT Email this story Printer friendly version By MAUREEN DOLAN Staff writer Voters will decide on request for $31.1 million during May 20 election MICA FLATS -- The district's process for planning capital building projects and the language on the ballot for the Coeur d'Alene School District's $31.1 million May 20 levy election came under fire Monday after schools superintendent Harry Amend gave a presentation about the proposed levy at the Mica Flats Grange Hall. The public forum, hosted by the grange, was attended by roughly two dozen citizens who heard the levy presentation and grilled Amend for more than an hour about their concerns, including the lack of a professional written estimate or cost evaluation to renovate Lakes Middle School. "My role is to try to make decisions that are in the best interest, and it's a balance between what's best for educating kids for the 21st century and what we can get support for from the taxpayers," Amend said. If approved, the bulk of the two-year levy, $19.2 million, will be used to fund the building of a new Lakes Middle School at an estimated cost of $23.7 million. The balance allows $1.6 million for technology, $7.9 million for a new elementary school and $2.4 million for the acquisition of property for future schools. The district projects the cost of the levy to taxpayers to be $1.60 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property. "I'm really concerned about the lack of a viable process in this big decision-making with public money," said Coeur d'Alene resident Mary Souza. In 2002, voters approved a $23 million levy for several building projects, including $7.7 million to remodel Lakes. Funds designated for the middle school were spent to complete other projects on the 2002 levy list after an unanticipated rise in the cost of building materials and labor. Trustees made a decision in October 2004 to move Lakes from the 2002 levy project list and make it the first project in a 2006 levy. From the 2002 levy, the district still has $4.5 million, which will be used to build the new Lakes school if voters pass the proposed levy on May 20. Voters rejected a $40 million levy in 2006 to rebuild Lakes. Ann Seddon, a former educator and grange member, told Amend she is concerned about the language on the levy ballot. Like the 2002 ballot, the May 20 levy ballot does not spell out how much money school board trustees will spend on each project. "I think you'll find it's fairly standard," Amend said. Trustees passed a resolution at their last board meeting that they will spend the 2008 levy election funds the way they have said they will and that they will scale back projects if they have to. Seddon and others expressed a lack of faith in the resolution stating that it could be reversed at any time with another resolution. They questioned the ballot's broad language citing a lack of trust between taxpayers and the district since the 2002 funds were spent on projects other than what voters believed they were approving them for. Should the levy fail May 20, Amend was asked if the district would consider coming back with a "menu" type of ballot with clearly defined projects and amounts. Amend said it was a possibility. Seddon said that as a former teacher, it will kill her to vote against a levy because it affects the children in the district. "I personally would love to have them come back to the public and split these issues up," Seddon said. "If we're going to get another bite at the apple, and I hope we do, come back with a menu." Several times throughout the evening, Souza asked Amend if he would ask the board to consider creating policy that would create a "formalized process" for building projects and taxpayer funding for them. Amend said he believes the process is formalized but said he believes the board would be very open to improving the formality of the process and said he would encourage that. Several people asked Amend why there was no estimate for the cost to remodel the school. The decision to rebuild rather than remodel, Amend said, was made by the long range planning committee and based largely on verbal recommendations the district received from two prominent area contractors, John Young of Polin & Young and Dean Haagenson of Contractors Northwest. "The cost of a remodel just usually goes way beyond what you think it would and once you're all done, you have a compromised design," Haagenson said in a phone interview Tuesday. "My recommendation was don't figure on remodeling it." Regarding the lack of a written cost evaluation for a remodel, Haagenson said the district "may or should have done that." A budget for a remodel probably should have been completed, he said. When asked whether his firm would bid on the Lakes construction project, Haagenson said it depends. "Generally speaking school work is not very desirable.The margins are really low. "Honestly, we'll do the school work if we don't have anything else going on," Haagenson said. John Young was unable to be reached by phone. FROM THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW Students helping students through Sparrow Club Kellogg Middle School kids raising money to help Kodie Wines-Burden pay medical bills How to help U.S. Bank out of Pinehurst has an account set up to help out with Kodie's medical expenses. Call (208) 682-2113. Barbara Minton Correspondent May 10, 2008 About 300 students filed into the gym happy to be missing their last class of the day. An hour later many left with tears in their eyes after learning about one courageous student's fight with brain seizures and what they could do to help her. The Sparrow Club at Kellogg Middle School has adopted Kodie Wines-Burden, who has tuberous sclerosis and has to see a specialist in Cincinnati to have 10 tumors removed in her brain to stop the seizures. Club members plan to raise money to pay Kodie's medical bills, help out by performing community service work. Advertisement There are 26 Sparrow Clubs nationwide. Founded last year, the Kellogg club is the first in North Idaho. The clubs encourage children to help other children in need – called a Sparrow – through community service and fundraisers. Sparrow program director C.J. McPhail, who travels throughout the country, told the assembled Kellogg students about the club and how they can make a difference in Kodie's life. "I know each one of you have time and talents," he said. "Every one of you got things you're good at and things you're not so good at. I'm giving you an opportunity to invest yourself with your time and talents, to invest yourself into the life of Kodie, because she needs your help." "This is huge for kids," said Angie Colburn, a sixth-grade science teacher at Kellogg Middle School. "For kids who go 'poor me, my life sucks,' for those kids to see, 'I have my health, I am not sick in bed' and realize, 'I can do the things I want to do.' " Kids reaching out with compassion for someone else is just part of what the Sparrow Club is about. There are three other components – to give purpose to a child, and to instill character and dignity by working in a community. Finding a sponsor to put up the seed money of $4,060 is the hardest part, Colburn said. "Last year, Eagle Crest had agreed to put up the money in Bend, Ore., but didn't have a child. So we called, and they said yes." Sponsors this year are Shoshone Medical Center and the Shoshone Medical Center Foundation, each donating $2,030. Half the money goes to the Sparrow to assist with medical bills and basic needs once the students perform 256 hours of community service. The other half provides educational support and materials on an administrative level. A Sparrow voucher is given to each kid to record their community service and how many hours they worked. On the back of the voucher McPhail wants each student to write what helping Kodie meant to them. On stage with her mother, father, sister and grandparents, Kodie started crying knowing that each one of those students would tell her what it means to help her. "It's really touching," said Kodie's mother, Lynda Burden. "She is just overwhelmed that they chose her." After community service is performed, the Sparrow Club is encouraged to do additional fundraising directly benefiting the Sparrow family. Their first fundraiser is to collect the loose change from their pockets. FROM THE MOSCOW PULLMAN DAILY NEWS (PASSWORD REQUIRED) No education stories posted online today. FROM THE LEWISTON TRIBUNE (PASSWORD REQUIRED) No education stories posted online today. FROM THE IDAHO-PRESS TRIBUNE, NAMPA No education stories posted online today. FROM THE IDAHO STATESMAN No education stories posted online today. FROM THE TWIN FALLS TIMES-NEWS Middle school task force visits Twin Falls Officials voice concerns about teacher training By Andrea Jackson Staff writer Some local and state education officials said teachers aren't getting enough college training to prepare them to teach middle school. So a middle school task force created last year by the Idaho State Department of Education came up with a solution: make more training a requirement. Recommendations from the task force are being spread across Idaho. The 21-member task force includes State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna, State Board of Education Member Sue Thilo, parents and teachers. Twin Falls was the first stop on the task force's tour Tuesday, which will continue through June. About 25 local teachers and administrators came to the Twin Falls School District office stop, including Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, and former State Board member Laird Stone, who publicly commented that he no longer sits on the State Board. Teacher training is a big issue for the task force, and a concern for local school district administrators. "When I graduated from Boise State, there was nothing special that helped me understand the middle school level I was about to work with," said Rob Sauer, deputy superintendent of innovation and choice for the Idaho State Department of Education. Right now, if a teacher teaches at the middle school level they're not required to be endorsed or certified to teach that level. "There is no requirement," said Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for the Idaho State Department of Education. "Hopefully the work of the task force will help propel universities or colleges to improve in this area," said Wiley Dobbs, superintendent of the Twin Falls School District. In 2006, the College of Southern Idaho surveyed the Twin Falls School District junior high school math teachers and found most could not pass a basic ninth-grade algebra test, according to a July 2007 Times-News report. The task force is also looking at another issue in Idaho's public education system: some middle school students fail classes but still pass from middle school into the high school. And that's clearly a problem, according to the state's middle school task force. "Right now many students won't pass a class in middle school and they'll still go onto high school," said McGrath. "We want to make sure they're still proficient." One way that might happen would be to develop a middle school credit system, which currently exists in only about four schools statewide. Meanwhile, state officials are wondering how much this all could cost. "Part of the reason we're going on the road is we want feedback on the recommendations," said McGrath. "We want to know, how much do you think it would cost … what type of funding would you need?" The middle school task force could make recommendations to the Legislature as soon as next year. Andrea Jackson can be reached at 735-3380 or Andrea.Jackson@lee.net. 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