Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Patrons will go to the election booths May 20 to help keep Mountain View School District 244’s programs on tap for the 2014-15 school year.
The levy request of $2,663,246 remains at exactly the same amount as last year, which will leave taxpayers coming up with the same amount which is a little more than $3 per thousand of assessed value after homeowner’s exemption. For example, a person whose home is valued at $100,000 would pay approximately $300 for the year.
“I believe the board, administration and school staffs are doing a good job at being wise stewards of the taxpayer’s money,” said Superintendent Kent Stokes. This is Stokes’ first year in the district.
Since Stokes came on board, one of his focuses has been to clean up the district’s properties.
“We have been doing a lot of that and I’m proud of the outcome,” he said.
Steve Higgins, Grangeville High School principal, agreed.
“We’ve made things look a lot nicer, including removing some old fence at GHS and a lot of work I’ve seen go into Clearwater Valley schools,” he said. “It looks great and it hasn’t cost a bunch of money, just the time put into it.”
Stokes said right now the focus is on maintaining programs but there are also projects that must be completed to help keep the schools in good order.
“Clearwater Valley Elementary School in Kooskia needs a new roof and that is something we will address right away,” he said.
Cameras are currently being installed at the district’s schools to – for one reason – deter bomb threats that have been ongoing for the past several years at GHS. This project, Stokes said, is nearly complete.
Textbook purchases will continue to update current academic needs, and throughout the next few years computers will be updated not only to keep up with technology but also because Windows XP support has ended.
“Our computers are working well with little need for assistance and we will continue to use them until they are no longer viable,” Higgins said. “But without tech support for XP, if something goes wrong, those computers will go and will be replaced as we go along.”
Stokes is optimistic about the future, he said, but added if the state does not change its funding formula things will get difficult.
“We need stable funding from the state,” he said. “We need to be able to count on what they provide to our schools, above and beyond what forest funds have done.”
Higgins said the area has always been great at supporting its schools.
“I’m proud of our communities for their backing our schools around our region,” he said. “We are really fortunate.”
If the levy were not to pass, drastic cuts would ensue, Stokes said: there is no way around it.
“I feel good about what our schools are doing and what they are able to offer,” he said. “I ask and thank our community for its continued support. We are working to live within our means and I think our patrons appreciate that tenacity.”