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Posts tagged: Coeur d'Alene School District

CSDistrict Adjusts Weapons Policy

Item: District adjusts weapons policy: Officials given leeway on pocketknives/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: School trustees in Coeur d'Alene have tweaked the district's weapons policy to give principals and the superintendent more discretion regarding disciplinary action when a student unwittingly brings a pocketknife to school. “It's so common. It's as simple as, 'I went fishing with my grandpa and I forgot it was in my backpack,” said Trustee Tom Hamilton. Until Monday's board meeting, a student in that situation would have been automatically suspended for several days. The child would have to go to an expulsion hearing before the board before being allowed to return to school. Now, if a child immediately reports that he or she brought a pocketknife to school, the policy calls for the principal to conduct an investigation into the child's possession of the item.

Question: Common sense prevails?

CSD Spent $238K On Legal Fees

Item: Cost of counsel: Price of public education increasingly includes legal fees/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The Coeur d'Alene School District's recent consideration of whether to privatize school busing went on for several months, and it included 64 hours of legal work with an average cost of $180 per hour in attorney fees for the district. The bus privatization plan was expected to save $1 million, but facing public opposition, the board decided in June to step away from the idea. The $11,520 bill for the legal work remained. That's just one of the items adding up to $238,000 in attorney fees that the Coeur d'Alene School District incurred in the most recently completed fiscal year which began July 1, 2012, and ended June 30. The previous year the district spent $38,000 on lawyers

Question: $238,000 for legal fees? Seriously?

Hucks: Twain’s ‘Prince’ Under Review

In the “Believe It or Not” Department, the Coeur d’Alene School Board will decide whether Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper” is appropriate reading in eighth-grade classrooms. Before you dial the district office, however, there’s more to the story. Seems the Coeur d’Alene School District is saddled with a policy requiring a review of all novels planned for class consumption. The books are reviewed by an ad hoc committee and then face a 30-day public review. That’s the fallout from the 2008 patron outcry, in some circles, against “Snow Falling on Cedars,” the award-winning novel by David Guterson, which contained some sexual references. No one has complained about Twain’s classic. Yet. And the ad hoc committee has recommended the book for acceptance by the Coeur d’Alene School Board. But it appears that common sense is lacking in district handling of classics like Twain’s/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: Should teachers be allowed to decide which books are good for classroom reading (as long as they provide an opt out for families that object to their choices)?

CdA Expects 200 More Students

School officials in Coeur d'Alene are anticipating an influx of newly enrolled students when school starts again next week. Preliminary numbers show a district-wide spike of at least 200 children over last year's enrollment. “We're looking at a steady increase across all the elementary schools, with stronger peaks at the northern schools,” said district spokeswoman Laura Rumpler. The middle schools and high schools will have more students attending as well. There will be 20 more students at Lake City High and 23 more kids at Coeur d'Alene High School this year. “We're seeing new growth that we haven't seen in the last several years,” Rumpler said. The school district's enrollment declined in 2010 and 2011/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did you send a child off to school today? Was s/he ready to begin school again?

CSD’s Computer System Melts Down

Item: Coeur d'Alene School District's servers damaged/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Waiting for a reply to an email you sent to someone at the Coeur d'Alene School District? You should send it again, along with any other important electronic communications sent to a school district email address in the last few weeks. A power surge or outage seriously damaged two critical servers, and knocked the district's email system off line sometime late Friday or early Saturday. The situation, deemed a catastrophic failure, occurred despite battery back-up and protection on the server. “We've got power surge protectors all over the place,” said Wendell Wardell, the district's chief operating officer.

Question: When did your computer last melt down?

‘Power Event’ KOs CSD Data Center

Jean Bengfort, director of the Coeur d'Alene School District technology department, sent out this email around noon Tuesday, telling of a major data center meltdown:

“Over the weekend, we experienced a “severe power event” that impacted our data center.  Two critical servers were affected – our Exchange server (email) and our data storage (p drives).  Unfortunately, the server that housed our email back-up was also damaged, so we had to completely re-build our Exchange (email) server.  Here are the facts:

  • 1. All accounts have been re-created.
  • 2. All email messages before August 3rd, 2013, calendar events and contacts are no longer available.
  • 3. If you have a smart phone which was syncing with Outlook, your old mail, calendar events and contacts have also been deleted.
  • 4. All users will need to rebuild their contacts and calendars.

“Webmail is now functioning.  If you can’t open Outlook on your local machine, please use Webmail to send a tech repair for assistance. Your shared drives will be restored within the next couple days. Thank you for your patience during this difficult situation we find ourselves in.  We are making some changes to further protect us in the future.”

DFO: A Berry Picker explains what this means: “ALL email, and contacts, from before August 3, 2013, is GONE. Any email that was sent to teachers over the summer- gone. Any attempt for anyone to do a Public Records Request on email — ALL gone.”

Thoughts?

CSD Sells Dog Park Land To Church

Four controversial issues were settled and put to rest Monday evening during a four-meeting of the Coeur d'Alene school board. The board decided 4-0, with Christa Hazel abstaining, to opt out of the state's new Wi-Fi contract and move forward its own local contract to improve technology throughout the entire district like they told the taxpayers they would during the bond election earlier this year. Trustees also voted unanimously to sell the district's Northshire property to Lutheran Academy of the Master for $480,000 to help pay off a new district office. They split their vote 3-2 on the adoption of the new Common Core curriculum that will be used, and also split 3-2 on rescinding a resolution passed in June that would obligate the district to engage in a statewide effort to strengthen Idaho's Right to Work laws/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you like/dislike direction of new school board?

Common Core Battle Heats Up

Item: War at the Core: Formation of Idahoans for Excellence in Education announced/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The Idaho Core Standards are the Gem State's version of the Common Core standards, an effort to elevate and align education benchmarks across the states. Supporters say it will add academic rigor and improve the state's dismal college completion rate, and create a stronger workforce. Detractors claim educators were not involved in the development of the standards, that the creation of the standards was motivated by private, corporate interests and driven by a federal government that wants to create a national curriculum and a national database of citizens' personal information. Opponents also claim the standards represent a loss of local control of curriculum. They dismiss the backers' claim that the Common Core effort is “state-led,” rather than led by the federal government.

Question: Do Common Core foes have much of a chance to stop implementation of the standards?

Wanted: CdA School Bus Drivers

All that talk by the previous Coeur d'Alene School Board may have chased some of the old hands to the sidelines. Huckleberries Online has just received this SOS circulated by CSD Transportation Director Jill Hill at interim Superintendent Matt Handelman's request looking for four new, full-time drivers ASAP:

“Just wanted to send a note and let you know that I really, really, really need to hire people. I currently will need to hire 4 driver’s and 1 aide to begin the school year. I am hearing rumors that one more of the drivers will not be returning so if that’s the case I will need to hire 5 driver’s and 1 aide. Although I do have subs that I assume will move into the benefitted positions, I am still very low on subs. See below for the current pool of people that we have. If Martin, Todd, Don, and Steve all apply then I will be 4 short on the sub list. I am worried because I will not have enough people available to cover everything that we do. If we can’t get new hires then we are going to have to come up with a plan B. Just a thought. (No trips until after 4:00 ish) What I need is to fill the 4 vacant positions (Possibly 5) and fill the one (1) aide position. In addition I need to hire 12 – 15 people that would be interested in a sub driving position. Things that we have done: There has been an ad placed in the paper and on Craig’s List.”

  • Huckleberries hears … that School District is no longer considering idea to privatize bus drivers.

Thoughts?

SR: Fresh Start For CdA School Talks

Negotiations with Coeur d’Alene teachers have taken a positive turn just two weeks into the seating of a new school board majority. The board proposed a contract Monday that was a considerable improvement over a May version that took a bone saw to health insurance benefits. Under that plan, pregnant teachers would have faced a potential $15,000 out-of-pocket extraction for having their babies. The minimum monthly premium for a plan that did not cover prescriptions would have climbed to $333. It’s a stretch to even call a plan like that “insurance.” One teacher called the offer “insanity,” which was closer to the mark. The new offer will make cuts, too, but not so deep the patient dies/Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Is that a fresh wind blowing in the Coeur d'Alene School District?

Handelman Signs 1-Year CSD Pact

Item: Handelman signs one-year contract: Former associate superintendent to lead while district seeks Bauman's successor/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Matt Handelman's new contract is signed and ready to go into effect on July 1, the day he officially takes over as superintendent of the Coeur d'Alene School District. Handelman, the district's associate superintendent since 2010, was offered the position in May after Superintendent Hazel Bauman submitted her resignation so she could accept a superintendent's position in the Central Kitsap School District in western Washington. “These are clearly exciting times,” Handelman said.

Question: Anyone have any problems with this changing of the guard?

Ginno Wins Sorensen Remodel Pact

Ginno Construction Inc. of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was awarded the Sorensen Magnet School Remodel and Additions general construction project for $3,368,700 which is a base bid of $3,260,000 plus alternate bids 2 through 6 for $108,700.  The Coeur d’Alene School District Board of Trustees awarded the project to Ginno during a special board meeting held at 12 noon today. The original construction budget for Sorensen was $3.6M.  “I believe we are in a terrific fiscal condition,” stated Chief Operating Officer Wendell Wardell/Laura Rumpler, Coeur d'Alene School District. More here.

Board Picks Handelman Interim Supt

The Coeur d’Alene School Board tapped Matthew Handelman to be interim superintendent of the school district Friday, replacing outgoing Superintendent Hazel Bauman. Handelman is the associate superintendent of Coeur d’Alene public schools. Bauman this week accepted an offer to become interim superintendent of the Central Kitsap School District in Western Washington. The Coeur d’Alene board met today to accept Bauman’s resignation and release her from her contract effective July 1. Trustees voted unanimously to offer Handelman the interim job, and he will take the helm of the district for the year beginning July 1. “I believe we have an extremely solid executive team in place and Matthew Handelman is the right choice to lead us at this time,” board Chairman Tom Hamilton said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

  • Coeur d'Alene SD news release here.

Question: From the quotes in the CSD news release, it sounds as though the trustees are already leaning toward Associate Supt. Handelman for the permanent job. What do you think?

Bauman Finalist For Washington Job

Originally posted at 8:05 p.m. Thursday

Coeur d'Alene Superintendent of Schools Hazel Bauman sent out a mass email to her staff at 6:36 this evening, saying she was a finalist for a job as superintendent of the Central Kitsap (Wash.) School District. Here's that email:

Good Evening Fellow Staff,

With a great deal of mixed emotions I am sending this message to you in regards to my candidacy for a position as Superintendent in the Central Kitsap  school district in western Washington.

I learned last night that I am a finalist and will be interviewed this weekend.

Because the interview and application process is public I wanted to let you know about this tonight. I respect and admire the work  you do everyday for children and hold you in the deepest of regards.

To say I will miss you and the community of Coeur d'Alene is an understatement of biblical proportions , however I am excited for a new opportunity to be closer to family and to  use my skills in a different way.

Hazel

Question: Do you think the turmoil surrounding the Coeur d'Alene School District prompted Superintendent Bauman to look for work elsewhere?

City OKs Person Deal, Edinger: ‘No’

On Tuesday, the Coeur d'Alene City Council gave final approval to the purchase of Person Field and Bryan Field from the Coeur d'Alene School District. But two council members weren't happy about it. In her draft minutes, City Clerk Renata McLeod reports comments made by Councilmen Ron Edinger and Deanna Goodlander during the discussion:

Councilman Edinger stated that he would be voting against the agreement because he does not believe in buying something that is already owned by the City.  Councilman McEvers wondered if the City voted against it, what would the neighbors say, and what is the alternative?  Councilman Edinger stated that the School District would have a problem because they have already moved into their new building, and maybe they would be willing to negotiate.  Councilman McEvers expressed concern that the parkland could become homes.  Councilman Edinger does not believe the land would be developed as homes and that the 1995 agreement was legal.  Councilman Goodlander stated that she believes the City is paying a ridiculous price for something they already own and it is hard to vote yes.

Question: Did the Coeur d'Alene School District get the better end of this deal, as Councilmen Ron Edinger and Deanna Goodlander seem to believe?

Christie: Choosing Events Is Difficult

Christie Wood (RE: Poll: Trustees should been there): Elected officials are asked to attend many functions in their official role. Sometimes it can be a bit expensive for a volunteer board and that does matter. It is nice if the School District can build a few events into the Board Budget. Boards are often reluctant to have much of a budget for themselves since it is all taxpayer dollars. I think if you are in an unpaid position and there is an expectation for you to attend many civic events there should be some consideration for that in the budget. The events can be limited by Board policy, or budget but they still should have some financial support. The hard part is choosing which events. Board members can always contribute an additional private donation if they so desire.

Question: Christie makes a good point. I'm sure elected officials are asked to attend various events staged by constituents. All. The. Time. Anyone mind if a school board, for example, sets aside a few bucks to help trustees underwrite appearances? Also wouldn't it be wise to divvy up important events among 5 trustees, to make sure there's a board presence at the important ones?

Task Force Targets CSD Bullying

“You're gay.” Coeur d'Alene middle school principals told members of the school district's new Anti-Bullying Task Force on Tuesday that the phrase is the most common statement students in grades six to eight sling at one another as a form of derision. The 32-member task force is part of the school district's renewed effort to combat bullying. Tuesday's gathering in the school district's Midtown Center meeting room was the group's first official meeting since school members called for the formation of the task force on March 4. It was formed in response to an outcry from parents who told the board in February that school officials and teachers aren't doing enough to protect their children from bullies/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Maureen Dolan Press photo: Assumptions made about bullying line the walls and doors at Coeur d'Alene School District's Midtown Center.)

Question: Do you appreciate the fact that the School District is taking the problem with bullying seriously?

School District Wants To 2X City Cost

The relationship betwen the Coeur d'Alene School District and the city of Coeur d'Alene was souring even before the decision by the school trustees to sell its part of Person Field last night. On Aug. 2, Superintendent Hazel Bauman, pictured, and finance officer Wendell Wardell informed the city by letter that the district was going to more than double the fee charged to the city for recreational use of school facilities, from $30,000 to $75,000. The letter said: “The district's maintenance director calculated the district's current costs for the jus-ended fiscal year on the total of 11 facilities used by city at over $65,000. You can read the entire letter here. In response, on Sept. 6, Recreation Director Steve Anthony wrote that the city has reimbursed the School District $923,000 since 1993 to enlarge gymnasiums and provide amenities (bleachers, scoreboards, volleyball equipment, restrooms and storage) for school district and city recreation activities. Also, Anthony said, the city allows the school district to use school district to use its facilities (i.e., McEuen Field, Famsey Park, Tubbs Hill) at little or no cost. You can read Steve Anthony's response here.

Question: Should the School District proceed with plans to more than double the cost to the city for using school facilities?

Banned In Coeur d’Alene?

Coeur d'Alene High cheerleaders practice routines in front of other cheerleading squads in this photo taken by proud papa Dave Chamberlain at the USA Cheer competition at Eastern Washington University this summer. Dave's daughter is one of the Vik cheerleaders. A Coeur d'Alene School District dress code would ban the cheerleaders from wearing their uniforms to school on game day. Coeur d'Alene Press story here.

Dress Code Snags CHS Cheerleaders

The comprehensive dress code policy adopted a year ago by the Coeur d'Alene School District applies to all students, even cheerleaders in uniform on game day. Leslie Damiano, the parent of a Viking cheerleader, attended Monday's school board meeting and told trustees that her daughter and the rest of the girls on the cheer squad learned at practice Wednesday that their cheer uniforms violate dress code and can no longer be worn to school. Damiano said she was speaking on behalf of the cheerleaders who sat in the audience wearing their Viking blue and black outfits. She asked the board members to think back to their own high school days, when on Fridays, they saw their cheerleaders in uniform. “You knew right away, 'We've got a game tonight. Friday night lights are up. They're on,'” Damiano said. She said she believes that cheerleaders in uniform boost the morale of the athletes and help unify the students to support their team/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo)

Question: Should Coeur d'Alene High cheerleaders be allowed to wear their uniforms to school?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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