KSD Board Report
Message from Trustee Thomas
Continuing to focus on growth
Perhaps you saw the social media post from our Kuna Fire District earlier this month. If you click the picture on the right, you can read the full media release. The Fire Chief is candid about the impact of growth on their life-saving services: "The truth is we are struggling." He goes on to document delays and changes in service.
His story illustrates what Kunans are worried about -- growth is coming too fast and public services just can't keep up.
As the school district plans for its future needs and schools, we're concerned about the number of residential developments approved and pending approval, especially those that are high density. We don't want to report to you in the near future that we, too, are struggling to serve your children in overcrowded, unsafe schools.
As you read this update (and hopefully watch the videos and listen to the discussion), you'll see much of this month's meeting was focused on issues around growth.
We appreciate Mayor Stear and several staff members attending our meeting. We also appreciate that the school district will be elevated to "critical agency" status. This will ensure our comments on development are received by city planners.
During our meeting, we discussed our belief that Idaho law allows its cities to require more of developers to mitigate the impact of growth on public services from fire districts to education.
We encourage you to keep up on new developments in our community and reaching to our city leaders to share your thoughts:
PLEDGE, COMMUNICATIONS & CELEBRATIONS
Fremont 7th Grade Basketball Champs
Fremont Middle School Principal Tim Jensen introduced the school's first championship team: boys 7th grade basketball team, which went undefeated. The team was coached by Joel Hilty-Jones and Harvey Jordan and student athletes included: Keanu Manuel, Broxton Chaplin, Lino Senio, Samuel Marasco, Cooper Brooks, Cohen Leslie, Roper Allen, Grayson Branden, Ricky Rodriguez-Alvarez, Riley McKenzie, Jordan Jackson, and Woodson Murray. The team led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Kuna Way Award
Superintendent Wendy Johnson highlighted this months Kuna Way Award recipients
Shelly Flowers and Martin Smalley who immediately offered up their time at the end of the work day to retrieve one of the delivery trucks from the repair shop because the second delivery truck had a glitch in it's lift gate which made it inoperable. Our delivery trucks are so very important to ensure our students receive meals each day. Their dedication to helping another department during a crisis doesn't go unnoticed and is so appreciated.
(You are welcome to submit Kuna Way nominations using this link.)
Letters from the City
After the School Board and City Council's March 10, 2022 joint meeting, the district received additional information from Kuna City Police Chief Mike Fratusco (March 15), Doug Hanson Planning and Zoning (March 18), Kuna City Clerk Chris Engels (March 18).
Trustees discussed that they were surprised by the communication and want to continue to move forward to create a positive working relationship with the city and provided clarifications including:
- School Resource Officers (SROs) are based in school buildings and not required to have a patrol car
- SROs do not work in schools during summer months
- It was noted a very small number if any preschoolers live outside of the Kuna city
- A city financial pledge of $5,000 to support a community preschool collaborative was not paid
It was noted that these topics could be the focus of the next joint City Council School Board meeting.
Ada Assessor: Property values continue to rise
Assessor Bob McQuade provided his annual report on Ada County property values in our district noting the information was preliminary. His full 13-minute report is in the video above. His slides are posted here.
- Assessed property values reflect about 94% of property sales values
- Increases in overall property values is on target to reach 30%
- Increases in value from new construction is about $22 million or 11.5%
- Residential property owners make up 90% of the district's tax base
Assessor McQuade is retiring later this year and we appreciate his years of service.
Exploring different models to support schools & reduce tax burden
Members of our financial planning team Michael Keith of Zions Bank and Eric Heringer of Piper Sandler provided an update on our plan to manage school property taxes. Their full 47-minute report is in the video above. The slides are posted here.
Some highlights, we:
- Reduced the school property tax rates (chart below)
- Saved more than $4 million through paying off debt early
- Likely can pay off additional debt later this year
- In the past three years, the amount of taxes collected has decreased
The team also shared that rapid growth in property values coupled with added value from new construction - residential and commercial -- creates an opportunity for the Board to provide for future building needs and help reduce the burden on taxpayers.
- Annual tax collections of $8 million for bonds over the next 10 years could fund new schools and provided other capital needs.
- Collecting a consistent amount each year helps reduce the tax burden on existing taxpayers as new taxpayers are added.
Parent event set for May 12
Superintendent Johnson and Assistant Superintendent Kim Bekkedahl shared that they are working with the Superintendent's Advisory Council to host an information night for our parents. The Council will sponsor the event which will be 6 to 8 p.m. May 12 at Swan Falls High School and also reflects feedback from the Board's study circle. Parents will learn more about youth mental health, the impact of social media, and more from keynote speakers. In addition, the event will include information about community and school sports, youth activities available at local churches, and more.
Trustees approved the Consent Agenda which included:
- March 8, 2022 Board Meeting Minutes
- March 10, 2022 Special Board Meeting Minutes
- Accounts Payable
- Personnel Report
- School Financials
- Budget Status Report
- Trip Requests
- Public Records requests
- Project Tracker
- Community Development Tracker
- Early Graduation Requests
- Drivers Ed/Phillips Driving School
- Policy Updates: Second Reading policy 400.10; Third Reading policy 923
Spring Break 2022-23
We asked staff to get feedback on the proposal to schedule spring on March 27-31, 2023. Thanks to the more than 1,500 parents, staff, and students who weighed in. March 27-31 will remain as spring break on the calendar approved by the Board in March. Attached below.
Input on 2022-23 budget priorities
- Thanks to unanticipated grants the district will have $800,000 in unspent federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) this year (2021-22).
- The state has not replaced funds for technology, technology staff, and curriculum cut in 2020-21. The district can use ESSER funds to back fill these areas.
- The district will see a decrease is its traditional federal funds. ESSER funds can be used to back fill these areas.
- New state funding for 2022-23 is targeted toward literacy, health benefits, salaries, and growth.
- Funding for state teacher leadership premiums was eliminated.
- The district has a three-year plan to use ESSER funds which includes saving some to intentionally grow a larger than 9-percent fund balance. The savings will be used to buffer the impact of the ESSER funds ending in 2024-25.
- The district expects to have some one-time ESSER money that can be spent on other needs.
Superintendent Johnson shared that the administration and negotiations teams will work to finalize proposed expenditures. She asked trustees for their priorities and we asked her to explore if funds could offset some facilities needs and for more information about addressing learning loss and literacy intervention.
- April - Cabinet, negotiations & other feedback on spending priorities based on strategic plan.
- May 10 - Update trustees
- June 14 - Budget hearing for amended 2021-22 Budget and 2022-23 Budget
Board approves "Critical Agency Proposal"
Kuna Planning & Zoning Director Doug Hanson was joined by Kuna Mayor Joe Stear to discuss making the Kuna School District a "critical agency" in the planning process.
The Board School Board approved this proposal. The 11-minute discussion is posted above and the proposal is linked here. Highlights from the discussion:
- City officials will not bring forward development to the Planning & Zoning Commission application until comments from critical agencies are received.
- Trustees support private property rights and believe Idaho law allows planners to require developers to help mitigate the costs of services such as sewer services, schools, etc.
- Trustee Johnson shared that Idaho Code 67-6513 gives the City authority to require developments "mitigating the financial impacts of development."
- Trustee Johnson encouraged City to amend its ordinances to reflect those used in Teton County since 2008. Those ordinances required s developers to show how they've addressed needs in public services.
GOOD OF THE ORDER
NEXT REGULAR MEETING
May 10, 2022 Regular Board Meeting
Tue, May 10, 2022, 06:30 PM
Kuna School District, 711 East Porter Street, Kuna, ID, USA
I've represented Zone 1 since my election in November 2015 and reelection in November 2019. I grew up in Kuna and graduated from Kuna High School. After a short time away I returned to Kuna to raise my seven children where they all attended our great schools. Prior to running for the school board, I volunteered for eight years serving on levy and budget reduction committees. Education, especially in Kuna, is my passion! Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, "Fight for the things you care about." I care deeply about the children in our schools! I will continue to fight the good fight for them. In addition to my service on the Board, I work at the Idaho State Legislature as the Chief of Staff for the Minority Party for the House of Representatives. There I have the great opportunity to influence and give feedback on legislation regarding education. Again, education is my passion! I welcome your feedback. Email me at email@example.com