On Monday, Tom Michaelson, interim superintendent, will recommend to the Nampa School Board the district shutter one of four low-enrollment elementary schools in the Nampa area, according to the Idaho Press-Tribune.
Michaelson told the Press-Tribune that the Financial Recommendation Committee has identified Sunny Ridge Elementary School for closure. The school has nearly 400 enrolled students, who would move to Greenhurst Elementary.
"A letter sent home to parents Friday says that with pending retirements and resignations, the district expects Sunny Ridge teachers will be able to 'follow their students or accept other positions,'" according to the Press-Tribune.
The news comes amid an ongoing budget crisis in the Nampa School District. Voters in the district overwhelmingly voted March 12 to approve a $4.3 million levy to aid the district's budget woes, revealed in 2012, when school board trustees discovered significant accounting errors.
Police in Pullman, Wash., are investigating the mysterious death of a Washington State student, who died in his dorm room.
Campus police responded to a 911 call early Saturday morning at Stephenson Hall on the Pullman campus. That's where they found students performing CPR on 18-year-old Kenneth Hummel, a freshman from Lynnwood, Wash.
Hummel was rushed to Pullman Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said they don't suspect foul play, but an autopsy is scheduled to determine the cause of death.
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.
Law enforcement in Meridian have ended the lockdown at Idaho State University's Meridian Campus and Renaissance High School.
According to a message on ISU's website: " All clear."
Parents are welcome to pick up their students at the school, and students who traditionally ride a bus home should be arriving approximately 30 minutes later than normal.
Meridian Police said they detained a man and woman during the investigation. The man reportedly did have a concealed weapons permit. No additional information was immediately available.
UPDATE: 3:15 p.m.
Meridian Police confirm that Renaissance High School and Idaho State University's Meridian Campus (the two schools share a campus space) remain on lockdown following a report of an armed suspect sighted in a school parking lot. The parking lot also shares space with the Meridian School District office.
Parents are being asked not to come to the school to pick up their children yet. Instead, Meridian school officials said phone messages will be sent to parents with further instructions.
Police continue to search the interior and exteriors of the schools.
ORGINAL POST: 3 p.m.
Idaho State University has placed its Meridian campus on lockdown.
Officials with ISU are warning its students, staff and faculty to "take shelter and lock doors and windows." Campus security and Meridian Police are also cautioning "not to move from sheltered positions."
A message on ISU's website says to "await further instructions."
Monitor citydesk for further updates.
School board trustees in the Nampa School District want another crack at voters to see if they can do a better job of arguing for approval of a tax increase.
On March 13, Nampa voters turned thumbs down to a two-year $7.16 million supplemental school levy with 3,534 voting against and 2,348 in favor. This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa trustees now want to put a two-year $1.6 million levy on a Tuesday, Aug. 28, ballot. Trustees also agreed to create an election committee to do a better job of explaining the levy.
The district still needs to file documents by Friday, July 13, to secure a spot on the Aug. 28 ballot.
Not much can get a large group of teenagers fired up before 8 a.m., and when approximately 300 seventh-grade students at Boise's North Junior High were asked on Thursday morning to repeat, on the count of three, “Say no to underage drinking,” the response was less than enthusiastic. But Dana Fudurich had other plans. Fudurich is the field director for The Century Council, an alcohol industry-funded nonprofit that targets underage drinking.
“I could lecture them and do a whole hourlong series on alcohol and statistics, and that’s not what they want to hear,” said Fudurich. “That’s not how kids learn today in this environment. Research shows that when kids are interactive as they’re learning, they’re more able to absorb information.”
Fudurich is part of a team of educators and psychologists who have developed a video game that teaches kids about the dangers of underage consumption of alcohol. Several North Junior students had an opportunity to play the Wii-style video game, in which participants move around on a floor mat while their avatars race on-screen. Contestants must avoid obstacles and stop to answer trivia questions about alcohol’s effects on the human body.
“It’s actually a pretty fun game, once you get going,” said 14-year-old Greyson Midnight. “It asks questions about alcohol, so I guess that it could give you a little better perspective on why alcohol’s bad for you.”
Fudurich said as many as 36 percent of adolescents try alcohol before reaching high school, and Midnight agreed.
“Alcohol-use for kids our age is starting earlier in junior high instead of high school,” he said. “It’s probably good to target us now so we’re more aware when we get older.”
Also at this morning's assembly were Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho Liquor Division.
“Underage drinking doesn’t start with a drink,” said Anderson. “It starts with an excuse. The excuse is from the adults: 'It’s OK; I did it when I was younger.' That’s not true.”
A north Idaho couple have filed a tort claim against their local school district, seeking more than $500,000 in damages for injuries suffered by their daughter when she slipped on wet floor and fell down a flight of stairs at Spirit Lake Elementary School.
The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the claim, filed by Lonnie and Jan Roberts, alleges a janitor "negligently and recklessly" mopped the floors and stairs, prior to the accident in November 2011. The Roberts said their daughter suffered severe and permanent injuries to her left knee, requiring extensive medical treatment.
The tort claims states that the school and district "had an obligation to protect its students and persons coming upon the premises from foreseeable risks of harm."
Eight Oregon High Schools will be forced to retire their Native American mascots, in the wake of a landmark vote for that state's Board of Education to impose some of the nation's toughest restrictions on Native American mascots, nicknames and logos.
The Associated Press reports that the high schools will have five years to change the nicknames or risk losing state funding. Another seven schools, which use the name "Warriors," will be allowed to keep the nickname but will be required to change mascots or any graphics that depict Native Americans.
In 2006, the Oregon Board adopted a nonbinding recommendation to stop using Native American images as mascots, but only a handful of schools complied.
Oregon Department of Education officials said Wisconsin is the only other state to enact restrictions on Native American mascots. Wisconsin's law, approved by the Legislature in 2010, requires school boards to prove that their Indian mascots don't promote discrimination, harassment or stereotyping if someone complains.
Schools in Payette have an attendance problem, and they're prepared to sweeten the pot to help improve the issue.
Representatives from Payette High School and McCain Middle School told the Payette School Board on Monday that they're putting together an incentive program to help improve attendance. School administrators told the board that the district was losing crucial funding when the school's average daily attendance dropped.
McCain Middle School Principal Rick Hale suggested a plan that would offer one of four incentives to a student with perfect attendance: free admission to four dances ($20), a free activity card, a free athletic transportation fee pass, or $20 movie pass.
Payette High School Principal Mark Heleker said "money really talks," adding that he would be talking with the district's finance manager about a possibility of a $25 attendance reward for a nine-week period.
Incentive proposals are expected at the Payette School Board meeting in June.
Pushing back against a student-driven petition to give teens the freedom of choice when it comes to their wardrobe, the Caldwell School Board has voted to impose a dress code on Caldwell High School.
This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the code, which already applies to Caldwell elementary and middle schools, requires students to wear collared, solid-colored shirts and dark-colored bottoms. Dresses are prohibited as are jeans with holes or decorative stitching. Caldwell High Principal Mike Farris - who supports the new dress code - will have the discretion to allow students to wear sports uniforms on game days or special occasions.
The Press-Tribune reports that the chairman of the Caldwell School Board, Chuck Stout, cast the lone dissenting vote, saying parents had already complained that buying and maintaining new clothes for their children will be too expensive.
According to the Press-Tribune, one dissenting student said that "some students have already discussed defying the dress code on the first day of school in protest."
Mike Ferguson, the man who served as Idaho's chief economist for five Gem State governors, said Friday that not only is public school funding critically low, the current funding system may be in violation of the Idaho Constitution.
A 20-page report, issued through the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, where Ferguson serves as director, concludes that the current state system of funding K-12 eduction through sales taxes rather than property taxes may be violating the constitution's requirement to impose uniform taxes in order to "establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." Because of the current funding model's inadequacy, voters throughout Idaho have agreed to supplemental property tax levies to help fund public schools.
The study considered public school funding in Idaho from 1980 through the most recent budget for fiscal year 2013 approved by the Idaho Legislature.