Press Releases issued to local media
Butte View teachers announced; attendance boundary options reviewed
Emmett names teachers for kindergarten and first-grade classes when Butte View Elementary opens this fall; proposed attendance boundaries unveiled, attached below
Emmett School District is two steps closer to being prepared for its first year at Butte View Elementary when the doors open this fall to two classes of all-day kindergarteners and two classes of 1st graders. Another part of this plan allows fifth graders to stay at Kenneth J. Carberry Elementary School instead of moving to the Middle School.
Proposed boundaries were reviewed Monday night and elementary school parents will be asked to complete a survey so a final decision can be made.
“We’re off to a great start for this fall,” Superintendent Craig Woods said. “We are very excited to have these high-caliber teachers coming to Butte View. It will take dedicated staff with experience to make the first year of re-opening Butte View Elementary a success.
Stephen Joyner, who serves as principal for Black Canyon High School, and Ola and Sweet elementary schools, will be the principal for Butte View Elementary as well, Woods said.
Four teachers will assume new assignments:
- Diane Nebeker comes from Carberry Elementary with more than 10 years experience. She started teaching kindergarten at Butte View.
- Jordan Miller (soon to be Harbeston) comes from Emmett Middle School, where she taught 5th grade. Before that, she was a first-year teacher with preschool experience.
- Cheryl Jordan started her teaching career at Butte View Elementary as a first-grade teacher in 1999. She also taught at Shadow Butte and most recently spent the past two years at Carberry Elementary.
- Lindsey Newell comes from Carberry with 4 years of teaching experience.
“We are excited, here at this complex to open Butte View Elementary,” Joyner said. “It gives us an opportunity to create a neighborhood school from the ground up.”
The Board of Trustees reviewed two versions of the attendance zone boundaries Monday night. A survey will be sent this week to parents of students in K-5 grades so they can provide some input before a final decision is made.
If you have a child entering kindergarten this fall, please be sure to register at either Carberry or Shadow Butte elementary schools.
For more information
- Background to Butte View Elementary: Emmett Trustees approved plan to move fifth graders out of Middle School to Carberry and Shadow Butte; shift some K-1 graders to Butte View and create two all-day kindergarten classes for the fall (May 7)
- The proposed boundary maps are included below.
Butte View will house all-day kindergarten, first graders
May 7, 2020
Emmett Trustees approve plan to move fifth graders out of Middle School to Carberry and Shadow Butte; shift some K-1 graders to Butte View and create two all-day kindergarten classes for the fall; boundary options considered
May 7, 2020
Emmett School District will open a new elementary school in the fall, but the building is not new.Video of the School Board Meeting Please note: Discussion begins 1 hour into the video.
Butte View, a former elementary school, is now a complex at 4th and Pine used for a preschool program, special education classes and the Black Canyon High School. The District’s administration and technology offices are also located in the complex.
Butte View Elementary was built in 1960. It closed in 2011 when students transferred to either Kenneth J. Carberry or Shadow Butte elementaries.
In time for this fall, the north wing of Butte View will be converted for elementary students pre-k through first grade. There will be one classroom for pre-kindergarten students and two classrooms each for all-day kindergarten and two classrooms for first graders. The vision is that two additional classrooms will be prepared for second graders in the 2021-2022 school year. Each class would have approximately 20 students.
Why? So next year’s 5th graders, about 84, can stay at Carberry for another year. The District also wants to open an all-day kindergarten program and that will be possible under the new plan adopted Tuesday night.
“Reopening Butte View with Kindergarten and 1st grade will help build a school from the beginning rather than trying to instantly build a culture with students that have been other places before,” Carberry Principal Greg Alexander said.
“Having an all-day kindergarten will not only benefit the students academically but also culturally. Butte View is going to need to build a culture.”
Kindergartners come into the other schools for 3 hours a day and have to pack in their reading, math, interventions and specials and then leave. It doesn't give much room for flexibility. With an all-day approach, the teacher can extend a lesson because they are not as bound by the time constraint, Alexander explained.
“We are excited about Kindergarten and 1st grade working together for intervention times as well because there might be some opportunity for cross grade level support.”
“This follows a trend in Idaho where nearly 100 districts and charter schools are offering all-day kindergarten,” Superintendent Craig Woods said. “This gives teachers more time to devote to reading. That foundation is critical and this will give us a chance to see what it means for kiddos in Emmett.”
Even though Butte View will be going to all-day kindergarten, Carberry will be able to increase the number of qualified students for the all-day READY! program, Alexander said.
What this means for fifth graders
With some reorganization and shifting of teachers and students, fifth graders will be in Carberry, Shadow Butte. Ola and Sweet. Eventually, Butte View could house students through the 5th grade.
“We know and understand moving the fifth grade from Carberry to the middle school was done to alleviate issues occuring at that time, but we appreciate this board understanding it is time to move our 5th grade back to an elementary setting and allow them to be the kids they are and be equal to the 5th graders at Shadow Butte Elementary,” Shadow Butte Elementary Principal Todd Adams told the board Tuesday, April 28, at a special meeting.
“Not having the 5th grade at the middle school will allow us to really focus on our middle school model and strengthen the culture of our building,” Middle School Principal Rich Winegar said. “Trying to keep the 5th graders separate and give them the elementary setting they need has been a difficult job.”
There are other reasons, too.
“Students are growing up way too fast, and keeping the fifth graders at the elementary school mitigates that factor,” Woods said.
Principal Alexander echoed those concerns.
“I am looking forward to bringing the 5th grade back to Carberry so that the teachers and staff can have another year to develop the students and help them with maturity and skill building before they go to the middle school,” Alexander said.
“Middle School is hard enough and not having another year of confidence building at the elementary level where teachers have 25 students in one class is short changing our students. Having them back will give us 6 years with students to know them and work on interventions with them so that they have skills to adapt to the middle school challenges. I will expect more out of them as the leaders of Carberry than the small fish of the middle school. There is a big difference in those two scenarios,” Alexander said.
By moving some of Carberry’s students to Butte View, there’s more room for students bound to come from the new residential developments in that area.
Adams outlined the three options derived from conversations he had with Superintendent Woods and Principal Alexander.
What needs to be done before fall?
Adams reviewed the pros and cons of each of those options for the school board. He said all options are designed to create two seperate schools/buildings, separated by doors and so Black Canyon High School students and District Administration offices are separate.
A fence will be constructed around the perimeter of the Butte View playground and the playground equipment will be upgraded this summer for the students in grades K-1 grade.
“The only common area in the school will be the cafeteria, which will be supervised at all times when students are present,” Adams said. “Criteria will also be in place for any high school students to work with the elementary students.”
Eventually, the district plans to find a new setting for the alternative high school and the district administration offices so Butte View Elementary can also accommodate students in grades 3-5 in the south wing.
For now, Black Canyon Principal Stephen Joyner, who also oversees Ola and Sweet schools, will be principal for those new elementary students.
- If prospective students have older siblings at the other elementary schools, parents are able to submit an open enrollment to keep students at their current elementary school.
- District officers and principals are communicating with teachers to determine teacher transfers to each building.
- The Board of Trustees will need to approve proposed elementary school boundaries for the three schools.
School trustees discuss upcoming budget challenges
May 1, 2020
Emmett Board of Trustees reject proposal to furlough underutilized staff; but approves plan to trigger Reduction In Force provision to explore options as budget outlook dims
After a second meeting this week, the Emmett Board of Trustees Thursday night rejected a proposal to furlough 46 underutilized employees.
Instead, the District will immediately develop a plan to reassign classified employees, such as bus drivers, bus attendants and paraprofessionals, to tackle maintenance and office duties in May. The employees have been underutilized in their role, with students not being on campus.
The employees, however, have been paid. But now that the school closures have gone on for so long, Superintendent Craig Woods told trustees, to be fiscally responsible to our patrons the district should furlough them or reassign them temporarily to perform duties outside their job description that support the district.
- Here’s a link to the video of Tuesday night’s meeting. And here’s a link to documents related to the furlough recommendation.
- Here’s a link to Thursday night’s meeting. And here’s a link to documents related to the furlough recommendation.
Trustees expressed concern of furloughing employees when the goal has been to create a family-like culture for all staff members.
After more information was provided Thursday night, trustees decided to look for other ways to save the money in the next fiscal year.
The furloughs were considered because like many Idaho school districts, Emmett faces two budget challenges: A 1% mandated holdback in state funds for all schools from the current year's budget and an anticipated 5% holdback in the 2020-2021 year as well.
The holdbacks are the result of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the statewide stay-at-home order for Idaho.
“As we prepare budgets for next year, our initial prediction, even with other cutbacks, is that we will see a shortfall that exceeds $850,000,” Woods told trustees Tuesday night.
Even with frozen budgets and a plan to trim expenses, additional steps are needed to help balance the budget, Woods explained.
When the trustees couldn’t decide Tuesday night, they asked for more information and a Thursday night meeting. Armed with more details, they were able to reach a unanimous decision.
“We need to be fiscally responsible,” Trustee Chair Hoss White said. “ But whether they are working for the school district, or they are on unemployment, it’s still taxes.”
“What happens to our Rock Star classified staff if we furlough?” White asked. “I personally can’t ask 46 people to take a hit when we can work as a team and have all employees take a furlough day in the new fiscal year.”
The other board members also said they could not support any action that would furlough the employees in May.
“It all comes back to the culture of our school district,” Woods said: “The intent was to help our school and maybe help some of our employees. But given the culture, I don’t think it’s worth the $60,000 in savings.”
Trustees agreed that it would be inappropriate to ask the Gem County Education Association to reopen the master contract in the current year to ask teachers to consider a furlough day in this fiscal year.
School board members agreed that they will have to make some very difficult financial decisions in the next few months.
“That $850,000 (projected shortfall) is a mountain we’re going to have to climb,” White said. “But I believe we have a choice here, and we need to take care of our own.”
Reduction in Force for 2020-2021 school year
Trustees did approve, with a unanimous vote, Superintendent Woods’ request to trigger the district’s Reduction in Force provision to determine possible cuts for the new budget year that starts July 1. A draft plan, developed with district administrators, would be presented as early as the next board meeting on May 11. Here’s a link to the documents related to this action.
But that does not mean that the plan has to be enacted, Woods said.
“The goal is to reduce the impact to all employees during this difficult time,” Woods said.
In addition to possible reductions, he has also identified staff reductions at the District Office level.
“Sadly, this is a reality we’re looking at,” White said. And I hope and pray it doesn’t come to staff reductions."
“These are not recommendations that I will take lightly,” Woods said. “I have spent much time deliberating with building administration, department directors, and Treasure Valley superintendents as to the best alternatives for the Emmett School District employees and students. I believe I have to recommend what is best for the overall educational programs of our district.”
Woods said the District will wait for direction from the State Department of Education and will work with the Gem County Education Association, directors, and building administrators to develop a plan that allows Emmett School District the best opportunity to continue to support our students and our staff.
Dates set for new budget hearing, approval
The budget setting process will change a bit this year because information from the State Department of Education is not available due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.
- The June 8 budget hearing will be held June 29.
- The July 13 board meeting will be moved to July 27.
Emmett Trustees delay Comprehensive Bond election
March 25, 2020
Emmett Trustees delay Comprehensive Bond vote until further notice, citing COVID-19 as barrier for adequate community conversations
Emmett School Board of Trustees unanimously agreed March 25 to delay the proposed $62.5 million comprehensive bond until further notice.
Although trustees agreed March 18 to place the bond question on the May 19 primary ballot, recent COVID-19 developments prompted school district leaders to rethink the timing.
“It became evident this week as rules regarding gatherings and social distancing rolled out in response to COVID-19,” Superintendent Craig Woods said. “Just as the Emmett School District and Yes Committee are ready to organize community gatherings and Town Hall meetings, we could see major barriers for adequate community conversations.”
Woods said it is still early enough in the primary preparation process to have the proposed bond removed from the ballot.
“We believe this comprehensive, long-term facilities plan is the right plan,” Board Chairman Hoss White said. “However, in light of the constantly changing circumstances around COVID-19 and the effect it is having on school closures, the economy, and the ability to meet with and inform our community, the board and superintendent feel that it is in the best interest of all concerned to postpone the bond vote to a later date.”
Trustee Ross Walker added a bit of levity to the special board meeting, suggesting that the board is “not putting the bond on the shelf, but rather the refrigerator” because it is an important matter that needs to remain in the forefront as the community copes with the “new normal.”
Woods was authorized March 18 to negotiate with landowners Denny and Willean White (no relation to Trustee Chair Hoss White) to purchase 42 acres, located at the corner of E 4th Street and S Substation Road, for the new high school if the bond measure had passed in May.
Woods said he is hopeful the sellers will be willing to work with the Emmett School District to put the property sale on hold until an election is held.