Education news from across East Idaho

Idaho Falls pushes back large-scale redesign decision

IDAHO FALLS — Trustees in the Idaho Falls School District have pushed back their official decision about upgrading its two high schools.

Two snags have prohibited the board from moving forward with its original plans to have an official decision made by the end of June: determining a location for a new Idaho Falls High School, and what to do with the existing one.

The board had nearly settled on a location earlier this month, said Idaho Falls School Board vice chair Deidre Warden, but the seller backed out unexpectedly, leaving the board to reconsider three other potential locations.

Warden said the board is also struggling with “getting a firm commitment” from groups willing to occupy the current Idaho Falls High School once the school is relocated. The city of Idaho Falls owns certain portions of the building and its surrounding area, which has complicated the process, Warden said.

“We are now hoping to be able to move forward with an official decision some time in July,” Warden said.

The board is still planning on rebuilding Idaho Falls High School and remodeling Skyline High School.  The cost has been projected at up to $100 million.

ISU Credit Union pays off Bonneville’s unpaid lunches

IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State University Credit Union has paid off the unpaid school lunch balances in both the Bonneville and Idaho Falls school districts.

The credit union put up $1,035 for Bonneville and $1,963.50 for Idaho Falls, officials told KIFI Local News 8.

Credit union officials presented a check to the school boards during their monthly meetings.

“We are happy to be able to help the districts, so they can focus their energy on other areas of need,” ISU Credit Union president and CEO Rob Taylor said.

STEM Action Center Deploys drones to schools

BOISE — The Idaho STEM Action Center has awarded more than $147,000 in grants to provide 22 Idaho schools and libraries with drones.

STEM Action Center executive director Angela Hemingway said the drones are designed to help kids engage in science, technology, engineering, and math, and ultimately develop applicable skills for Idaho’s growing high-tech workforce.

“Idaho’s tech sector is the second fastest-growing in the nation at 6.3 percent, and 80 percent of all jobs will require technology skills within the next 20 years,” Hemingway said. “There will be a significant increase in jobs that require proficiency in piloting and programming drones.”

A two-day workshop taught grant recipients how to build, operate, maintain, modify and race the drones in order to pass their skills onto students.

Here’s a list of recipients and where they are located:

  • Bingham Academy, Blackfoot
  • Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot
  • Cascade Schools, Cascade
  • Centennial High School, Boise
  • Culdesac School, Culdesac
  • East Junior High School, Boise
  • Fremont County Joint School District #215, St. Anthony
  • Glenns Ferry Public Library, Glenns Ferry
  • Hailey Public Library, Hailey
  • Hillside Junior High School, Boise
  • Kamiah School District #304, Kamiah
  • Madison High School, Rexburg
  • Mountain View Alternative High School, Rathdrum
  • New Plymouth School District, New Plymouth
  • Nezperce Junior High School, Nezperce
  • Ridgevue High School, Nampa
  • Salmon Public Library, Salmon
  • South Junior High School, Boise
  • Syringa Middle School, Caldwell
  • Treasure Valley Math and Science Center, Boise
  • Vallivue Middle School, Caldwell
  • West Minico Middle School, Paul

Teton to keep current elementary school configuration

DRIGGS — Trustees in the Teton School District have decided to keep the district’s current elementary school configuration.

The decision follows a district survey that garnered feedback from some 280 patrons and staff living in Victor, Driggs and Tetonia, reports the Teton Valley News.

Survey respondents were almost evenly split over whether or not to build two new k-5 elementary schools in both Victor and Driggs and get rid of an upper elementary school that serves fourth and fifth graders.

Conversation during a regular board meeting earlier this month revolved around the benefits and potential hindrances of students transitioning from elementary to upper elementary schools. Though Teton superintendent Monte Woolstenhulm presented data that suggested the fewer transitions as most beneficial, he ultimately said most “parents and staff in the valley seem to prefer having an upper elementary.”

The district will now move forward with plans to float a $37.3 million November bond to upgrade its elementary schools and high school, including adding additional classrooms, expanding gym space and building bigger commons areas.

“I think our biggest issue is getting the information out and making people aware of what we offer now and then what we’re trying to do in the future,” said board member Shelly Streit.

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