Post Falls School District Newsletter
With the new legislative session underway, Idaho public school funding has been in the headlines lately. One topic which impacts Post Falls School District finance is whether or not funding will be based on enrollment or average daily attendance (ADA).
Traditionally, the state funding formula uses student attendance data (ADA) and converts that data into what are called support units. Changes in support units can drastically affect the financial picture of the district. Because support units are calculated on attendance, districts are only funded for about 95% of the students enrolled, after typical absence levels are factored.
Even though schools are only funded for 95% of students, we must ensure there are desks, materials, and staffing for every student enrolled. Post Falls School District’s supplemental levy helps bridge the gap caused by the state funding formula limitations.
With COVID causing attendance rates to drop even lower than 95%, there was a concern the district would lose additional funding. The good news is the Idaho State Board of Education enacted a temporary rule to calculate funding based on enrollment instead of attendance. This rule was recently extended into the 2021-22 school year because absences statewide continue to trend well above normal averages.
More updates related to school finance will be shared in the coming months as our Idaho Legislature moves through the 2022 session.
~ Dena Naccarato, Superintendent
Department Highlight: Nutritional Services
Our Nutritional Services Department is led by Becky Elmore (pictured above) and includes 45 employees (kitchen managers, assistants, and office staff). Becky was born and raised in North Idaho. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in Food and Nutrition from University of Idaho, holds a “School Nutrition Specialist” national credential, and serves as the current president of the Idaho School Nutrition Association.
Becky has worked in school nutrition for 12 years and has been employed by PFSD since 2019. She says, “Two of my favorite things are children and food. My job allows me to work with both! I love leading a team of employees who are passionate about our students and fueling them toward success in the classroom.”
The last couple of years have presented extra challenges for Becky and her team. Just as we have all experienced product shortages and increased prices at our local grocery stores, Nutritional Services has also struggled this year with obtaining products for the program. School meal programs use very specific products tailored nutritionally for school menus. Many companies have limited their school menu products, and menu changes have become the new norm.
On the other hand, a positive impact has been an extension of federal funding. As a result, PFSD has been able to offer a free breakfast and lunch each school day to every student. Qualifying status is not required for free school meals; however, any additional funding such as the Pandemic EBT Program would require qualifying free/reduced status for the current school year. Families should contact the Nutritional Services office for more information at 208-773-1625.
Looking to our future, Nutritional Services will need to stay a step ahead of the growth. Streamlining some of the food service systems with a centralized warehouse combined with enough office space to house staff to run the program will soon prove to be a necessity.
Nutritional Services fun facts:
- First semester of the school year, PFSD kitchen staff served 109,577 breakfasts and 300,078 lunches.
- It would take a herd of 3,600 Idaho dairy cows a full day to produce the 25,000 gallons of milk served to PFSD students so far this year!
- This year, 21% of the PFSD students eat school breakfast, and 57% of them are eating school lunch.
- PFSD participates in the USDA summer meal program where all children ages 1-18 can receive a free breakfast and lunch each day. At our four participating sites during summer 2021, we served nearly 2,000 meals each day!
Student Attendance Policy
Attendance notification letters have resumed this spring. Parents will be notified either through a mailed letter or Skyward email when students reach five (5) and nine (9) excused or unexcused absences per semester. While we appreciate families keeping students home when they are not feeling well, healthy students are encouraged to come to school every day!
- Board Policy 501.9 "Attendance Requirements" - Board procedures related to attendance notifications by the schools were updated in November. (link to the full policy)
Istation Reading: grades K-5
The data should be considered a rough draft as students entering and exiting elementary schools midterm will be excluded from year-end data. The state's final Istation Reading assessment for grades K-3 is conducted annually in May.
Upcoming PFHS local events
Open Enrollment Applications
Open enrollment applications are a parent request for their student to attend a school other than the one for which they are zoned. Per Idaho Code, open enrollments must be requested and approved annually.
Due to growth in the area, it will be unlikely any new out-of-district requests will be approved. In-district applications will be considered on a stringent space-available basis. Parents are responsible for providing transportation to and from school for students who are open enrolled.
Open enrolled students are expected to follow all discipline and attendance policies and regulations. Failure to meet these conditions may result in the revocation of the open enrollment approval. In such an event, the student(s) will return to his/her zoned school.
Forms are available on the district website (link), and hard copies are available at school offices or the district office.
Elementary Inventors headed to State!
Congratulations to all of our elementary Invent Idaho students who participated in the regional competition! Three winners from Post Falls School District will compete in the state
event March 4-5 at the University of Idaho.
- Branson H. (pictured above) from West Ridge won 1st place in the first and second grade Working Models category for his invention Sidewalk Sweeper.
- Jett S. from Mullan Trail won Best of Category in Games and Gadgets with his game Panda Rescue.
- Lawson R. from West Ridge won 2nd place in the third and fourth grade Working Models category for his invention Handy Helmet.
Link to the CdA Press article about Invent idaho regionals.
Free, Online Suicide Prevention Training
The Idaho State Department of Education is providing free, online QPR (Question, Persuade and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention to Idahoans (ages 18 and over) who interact with students at home or at school! This includes all members of a school’s community: educators, parents, grandparents, school staff, staff at youth organizations, coaches, and more! The training only takes 1-2 hours to complete. Get started here.
We want as many caring adults as possible prepared and trained to connect students with support and resources! Thank you for taking the time to complete this course which will help our community protect and support our youth.
Employment Opportunities with Post Falls School District
We currently have 23 open positions in Post Falls School District. Like many other employers in our area, we are experiencing a labor shortage. We are seeking motivated parents and community members interested in filling the following positions:
- Building and Grounds Maintenance worker
- Paraprofessionals, including bus aides, speech / language paraprofessionals, playground duty, etc.
- Behavior Interventionist
- Special education paraprofessionals
- School Security Prevention Dean
- Bus drivers
- GAP childcare substitutes
- Title 1 reading paraprofessionals
- Substitute teachers
Qualifications: varies depending on position. All applicants should enjoy working with students. We have full-time and part-time positions available. Full-time positions (more than 32.5 hours per week) include health, dental and retirement benefits. Depending on the position, the starting hourly wage ranges from $12.60 to $18.27 DOE.
If you are interested in any of our open positions, complete the online application. A State Department of Education mandated criminal history/background check will be conducted, and the applicant pays the $35 background check fee.
More employment information can be found on our district "Employment Information" webpage. Please call the District Office at 208-773-1658 with any questions.
Math is Cool!
Math is Cool started in 1996 by a Spokane teacher as a way to encourage students to aim for and celebrate high math achievement through rigorous math competitions. Local teams in grades 4-12 participate in a spring regional competition. Leading up to this event, participants typically practice before or after school hours twice a week where they tackle a variety of math tests similar to what they will experience at the competition. Practice sessions also include team relays and mental math challenges. This year’s culminating event, the “College Knowledge Bowl,” will be held March 18th at Lake City High School where our mathletes will race the clock and challenge other North Idaho students. Teams with the most points earned will be invited to the next round of competitions in Washington state. Good luck!