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  • Teachers Contract Ratified

  • Draft Transportation Changes

  • Draft Bell Schedule (Including High Schools)

  • Draft “Controversial/Political Topics” Guidance

  • Second Budget Presentation

  • Zone 4 Vacancy Filled

Teachers’ Contract Ratified

West Ada Chief Human Resources Officer Dave Roberts detailed the results from the certified personnel negotiations for the 22-23 school year. Negotiations ran smoothly, with the most significant result being an average salary increase of 6.28% for our teachers next year. You can read all the details in his memo to the Board as well as review the overall salary schedule.

In the end, the agreement was ratified by the West Ada Educational Association (ie, our local teachers' union) with an 88% approval rate. This, in addition to the speed and ease of negotiations, suggests a strong partnership between the District Administration and our educators. The Board agreed, and approved the agreement unanimously. Congratulations to all.

Draft Transportation Changes for IFAA/RHS

West Ada Chief Academic Officer Marcus Myers detailed a proposed adjustment to the transportation schedule which would directly impact the two secondary schools of choice (Idaho Fine Arts Academy and Renaissance High School).

As background, all students have an attendance area represented by a nearby traditional school. In contrast, IFAA and RHS are schools of choice that are open district-wide to all students, which pose a significant transportation challenge given the wide geographic area served. To alleviate this, the District is proposing a dedicated shuttle system that would operate between IFHA/RHS and each of the students' normal "home address schools".

This change is intended to provide more reliable bus transportation overall, reducing the number of connections that — if missed — tend to produce ripple effects across the entire system. However, this change would mean that IFAA and RHS students will no longer receive proximate service and instead would need to find alternate transportation to and from their home address schools. This poses a challenge for the roughly one hundred parents whose children ride the bus daily, particularly those who work during the home address school dropoff/pickup time.

This was just the initial proposal and by no means is final; still, all students who participate in the transportation system — and particularly those at IFAA and RHS — have a stake in the eventual decision. I know that everyone is working hard on finding creative solutions; we'll keep everyone posted on how these discussions progress.

Second Draft of Bell Schedule, Including High Schools

Marcus Myers also presented the second reading of the Bell Schedule for the 2022-23 school year (starting this Fall.) This now includes the schedules for the Alternative Middle and High Schools.

The Alternative Middle School schedule now aligns more closely to the elementary schedule, with some additional flexibility for Principals to adjust intra-class schedules while still meeting standards for instructional time.

For High Schools, the release time is pushed by five minutes and a portion of the day set aside for enrichment or remediation interventions. This will provide more personalized attention to the individual needs of each student while adhering to requirements for minimum instructional minutes.

The draft schedule will go through a third reading, but it did seem like barring any new information or concerns this is likely to be the final schedule for the 2022-23 school year.

First Draft of New “Controversial/Political Topics” Guidance

One of the more contentious issues raised during the meeting was a draft adjustment to Policy 401.20, Duties and Responsibilities of Personnel. This policy change is designed to clarify the boundaries of classroom discussion and display, particularly with regard to controversial/political topics.

The intention is to effectively balance the academic judgement of the teacher to educate in the most effective manner with the needs of the parent to be comfortable that the focus remains on education itself, rather than promotion of topics beyond that scope. The problem is, of course, that "controversial/political" topics are difficult to define with consistency.

WAPA will be watching this issue closely, as we know it is of great concern to many of our members. And the teachers who spoke during public comment — and as an aside can I just say again how great it is to have public comment back — expressed great concern of how this would impact their ability to do their jobs.

That said, it's worth nothing that this was just the first reading; policy changes are expected to go through three such readings before they are enacted. I'm sure the administration will carefully consider all feedback, and we'll see many revisions before this comes to a vote. We’ll keep you posted as this develops.

Second Budget Presentation - Expenditures

Chief Operations Officer Jonathan Gillen made the second budget presentation to the Board, this time focused on expenditures. He spent a fair amount of time going through the various special funds (see the last message for a fund-type breakdown) but the main takeaway is that 85% of the operational budget goes to salaries and benefits for staff, another 10% to transportation, with the remaining 5% for everything else.

If you wish to see a more detailed breakdown of some prior year actuals and current budgets, you can read the public notice containing the summary statements, or view all details at the District Office. This is a required step before full consideration by the Board, which will take place at the next meeting.

Zone 4 Vacancy Filled

The Board conducted an interview process between Brad Ehrlich and myself to fill the vacancy in Zone 4, and eventually I was selected to fill the slot.

I've known Brad for a while, and continue to be impressed by his dedication to the District and the patrons of Zone 4. The Board highlighted Brad's qualifications and stressed how difficult the decision was. For my part, I think Zone 4 was in good hands no matter what they decided, but obviously am humbled and honored that I was selected for the seat. Swearing in takes place on June 13.

So this leads to an obvious question: "will WAPA continue?" And although I will step away from day-to-day duties, the answer is a definitive *yes*.

The West Ada Parents Association is far more than any one person. It's a movement. And as I've always said, the only reason that WAPA has any influence is because of you. WAPA continues to have incredible engagement among its members, and that's the reason it flourishes even though the underlying reasons for its inception have long been resolved.

Our mission is to serve as a community of well-informed citizens who support educational excellence and work in partnership with the school community to achieve quality educational results for all students. That will continue.

However, we will be looking for new leaders to step up and help guide WAPA during its evolution. If you'd like to participate more actively — in any form — then please reach out to me at dbinetti@westadaparents.com, or click the button below.

Participate in WAPA Leadership

This was another meeting involving important topics; I hope that this overview was helpful in keeping in touch with the District. And, as always, thanks for everything you do for our kids!

Best, Dave