Let’s set the record straight.
The opinion piece by Wayne Hoffman contains factual errors as well as omissions. The Blaine County School District is asking voters for permission to reallocate funds already being collected rather than for an increase in taxes. If the supplemental levy question is approved by voters on March 13, $2.9 million a year will be shifted from the plant facilities fund to educational programs.
The author refers to the policy of contributing 27 percent of administrative compensation toward retirement benefits. He neglects to point out that 11 percent of the 27 percent in retirement is required by the state. The same is true for certified staff. When did all this begin? The district began contributing additional funds to certified and administrative retirement in 1986. Neither administrators or certified staff contribute to their retirement benefits. The sole benefit for administrators that is not provided to certified and classified staff is an additional 9 percent in a 401a retirement plan.
He omitted the fact that the district no longer pays for health benefits for families of administrators. The Board also reduced the previous yearly 1.5 percent increase for administrators to 1 percent and established a salary schedule for administrators that freezes after 20 increases on the salary schedule.
Administrators in Blaine County account for 5 percent of the workforce in the district and 10 percent of the total amount of compensation. If the supplemental levy does not pass, the district will make reductions in all three classifications of staff — administrators, certified (teachers, counselors, etc.) and classified (bus drivers, computer technicians, paraprofessionals, etc.).
The Blaine County School District has, in fact, negotiated a benefits plan that attracts and rewards administrators and certified staff for their great work. If the supplemental levy is approved by voters on March 13, Blaine County will be joining the club that 93 other districts in Idaho belong to — one that requires districts to ask voters for a levy every two years in order to maintain their current level of student instruction, classes, athletics and extracurricular programs.
We encourage readers to go to our website at www.blaineschools.org and review the facts as well as frequently asked questions.
Written by Heather Crocker, director of communications for the Blaine County School District.