Education news briefs from across East Idaho

Idaho Falls high school redesign meeting set

IDAHO FALLS – Trustees will meet later this month to discuss concepts for redesigning the two largest schools in the Idaho Falls district.

The school board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, to review upgrade options for Idaho Falls and Skyline high schools. Representatives from Hummel Architects, the Boise firm handling potential renovations, will review concepts and public input gathered in May. Cost estimates for current proposals will be outlined during the meeting.

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Current concepts for Skyline High School include a new auditorium.

A financial representative from the district will be on hand to discuss options for bonds, according to Margaret Winborne, communications and community engagement coordinator.

Concepts for updating Skyline and Idaho Falls high schools include a new auditorium, gymnasium and more modern architecture. No price tag has been announced.

“I don’t expect the board to make a decision at that meeting, but I do think they will start talking about next steps,” Winborne said.

For more on current proposals for upgrading the schools, click here.

Madison seeks renewal of $4 million operational levy

REXBURG – Madison trustees have unanimously approved plans to renew a two-year operational levy, which was set at $1,995,000 per year in August 2014.

The renewal will reflect the same amount of the levy set in 2014, district officials said, so patrons will not see an increase in the school district’s portion of the their taxes.

Here’s a breakdown of where the money would go in 2017-18:

  • Restoring two paid teacher contract days: $215,000
  • Security: $205,000
  • Technology: $425,000
  • Curriculum: $500,000
  • Facility Needs: $350,000
  • Transportation (including three new buses): $300,000

District officials said a growing student population accounts for much of the needed money. According to the district’s website, Madison has shown a “steady” growth trend of nearly 100 students per year for the last 12 years.

Operational levies are locally assessed tax revenue provided to school districts. If approved, the renewed levy will run for two more years. The levy rate in Madison is currently $4.61 per $1,000 of net taxable property value.

Ninety-four of Idaho’s 115 school districts have an operational levy.

The election in Madison will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 30, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It requires a majority vote to pass. Registered voters over 18 who live within the bounds of the Madison School District can vote. Click here to view the boundaries.

Pocatello library rolls out free summer books program

POCATELLO – The Marshall Public Library’s “book wagon” is carrying free books to various parks throughout Pocatello this summer.

Every Tuesday until Aug. 9, the wagon visits one of 11 city parks. It’s weekly routes coincide with the Pocatello-Chubbuck School District’s summer meals program. Click here for the wagon’s complete schedule.

The book wagon, a five- by 10-foot enclosed trailer, brings the library to children who can’t get there in the summer, said librarian Kate Poulter.

A separate selection of books can be checked out at the parks by anyone carrying a library card.

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Students visit Marshall Public Library’s “book wagon”.

The books are either used, donated or purchased with grant money, said Poulter, who added that “thousands” are given away each year in the district.

Idaho Falls city officials to decide fate of proposed charter school location

IDAHO FALLS – City officials will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, to determine whether a historic Idaho Falls building will house East Idaho’s newest charter school.

Administrators from Alturas International Academy requested that the O.E. Bell building near downtown be zoned for school use in 2017-18. The building, which opened as a junior high in 1927, was renovated for office space in 1999 and currently houses several local businesses.

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The O.E. Bell building

School administrators hope to begin using O.E. Bell at the start of the 2017-18 school year, if zoning privileges are granted. Alturas will use the former Melaleuca building on Yellowstone in Idaho Falls during the 2016-17 school year.

Zoning O.E. Bell for school use presents some challenges for the city.

“We are mostly concerned about things like building access, parking and its impact on the surrounding neighborhood,” said Kerry Beutler, assistant planning director for the city.

Beutler and other city officials asked Alturas and representatives of Erstad Architects, the Boise firm handling potential renovations, to hold a public meeting to gather feedback last month.

That feedback will be considered during the July 19 meeting. The city could approve or deny the zoning application, or postpone the plan, Beutler said.