The St. Maries School District trustees voted to ask the public for a supplemental levy March 9, 2021. The levy will support the district at the cost of $2,073,385.00 per year for two years.

Superintendent Alica Holthaus stressed that the levy vote is to replace the levy of the same amount that expires June 30, 2021.

According to the district estimate, taxpayers would pay an average of $344.88 per $100,000 of taxable assessed property value, per year. Business Manager Danette Cordell said that growth and increased property value could see the burden per household lowered this time even though the levy is for the same amount.

Counter to the state trend, the district levy amount has not increased since 2015. According to an IdahoEdNews.org report, supplemental levies statewide have increased from $187.6 million to $216.6 million from 2015 – 2021. Since 2010, statewide levies have increased by $80 million.

The district is seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Ms. Holthaus said the increase was likely due to the winter break. As of Jan. 11, 2021, approximately 40 students were quarantined.

According to contact tracing efforts the district has zero cases of school-based transmission of the coronavirus.

“That says to me that what we are doing is working,” Ms. Holthaus said.

The district has received new COVID-19 tests. The test kits use a saliva sample instead of a nasal swab and can be self-administered at home. Ms. Holthaus said the tests can be administered sooner than the nasal swab version and that results are returning in approximately 48 hours.

According to Ms. Holthaus, only one test has returned an inconclusive result as of Jan. 11.

The new year did not bring any changes to the leadership of the board of trustees. Jody Hendrickx will continue as chair, Sandy Kennelly will continue to serve as vice-chair, Danette Cordell remains business manager and treasurer, and Stacia Dorman remains the board clerk.

The board approved five new hires. Hayden R. Humphrey to be the St. Maries High School assistant wrestling coach. Eleanor R. Law was hired as a substitute custodian. John Bret Moser IV and Matthew William Smith were hired as substitute teachers and paraprofessionals. Heidi Dawn Jean Scott will work as a special education paraprofessional.

Two resignations were also accepted. April Joann Nelson resigned from her food services position at St. Maries Middle School Ernest Ander Sandeen resigned from his position as a teacher at Heyburn Elementary School.

School administrators submitted written reports to trustees and did not attend the meeting due to Idaho’s stage-2, COVID-19, restrictions that limit room occupancy to 10 people. Future reports will be provided virtually.

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