Residents of the St. Maries School District who want to vote early for the supplemental levy, may do so.

Eligible absentee voting is available now through March 5, 2021, at the Benewah and Shoshone County courthouses during regular business hours. To be eligible, voters must be a part of the St. Maries School Disrtict prior to Feb. 7, 2021.

Mail-in absentee ballots may be requested until Feb. 26, and may be used by voters whether they are absent from the district or not. To find polling locations or request a ballot contact the County Auditor or visit www.idahovotes.gov and click the “Check Your Voter Record” button.

To vote in-person, register by Feb. 12, or on election day, March 9, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at your assigned polling location. Photo identification and proof of residency are required.

The $2,073,385 levy remains unchanged from the previous levy passed in 2018. The current and projected levy rate is $3.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Supplemental levy dollars fund Upriver Elementary School, extracurricular and athletic programs, full day kindergarten, facilities maintenance and repair, electives, advanced courses and many other programs.

“That is not a complete list. To come up with that $2,000,000 there are some tough decisions that would have to be made,” Superintendent Alica Holthaus said.

Ms. Holthaus previously said all-day kindergarten and electives would be likely candidates for elimination if the levy fails.

Due to the January windstorm, the district is eyeing cuts to trees on district property. The top third of a large evergreen in front of Heyburn Elementary breaking off has caused the district to begin a review of mature and diseased trees.

The large evergreens in front of the elementary are tentatively planned for removal in April. Ms. Holthaus said it was not an easy decision given the sentimental value of the trees to many past and present members of the school district.

“There are some people who have their hearts very much attached to those trees,” Ms. Holthaus said of the two trees in front of Heyburn Elementary.

A potentially tragic incident was avoided as students were dropped off in front of the elementary school just moments before the tree top broke off. Andy’s Arbor estimated the cost to remove the trees, including stump grinding, at $4,350.

The upside, sans trees, the front of Heyburn Elementary could be repurposed as a student drop-off zone.

Trustees accepted the resignation of six staff members, Feb. 8. At Heyburn Elementary, principal Tammi Masters, teachers Kathryn Dickerson and Lisa Andersen resigned. At St. Maries Middle School, principal Jeffrey Andersen and custodian Amber Morris resigned. Carrie Reeves, district bus driver, also resigned.

The district added one not-so-new teacher to its staff. Jim Broyles returned to the classroom to help teach anatomy and physiology. Mr. Broyles served 23-years as an Air Force nurse that included a stint as a teacher at the school of health care sciences. He first taught for the St. Maries School District in 2010 and left in 2019. According to Ms. Holthaus many students were excited for his return. Three students reportedly requested to leave quarantine to attend his class.

St. Maries High School boys’ basketball players were authorized to fundraise for an invite-only tournament scheduled for the 2021-2022 school year. The tournament known as the Middleton Holiday Tournament will give the boys an opportunity to play against other good teams. However, it will be up to the players to raise funds for all expenses and is conditional on COVID-19 restrictions at the time of the tournament.

In other news:

• Open enrollment letters were sent out to the appropriate families. Applications should be returned to the district office. According to Ms. Holthaus, enrollment remained steady this year with 862 students last semester and 866 this semester. Enrollment is still down slightly from last year.

• The district hired a new bus mechanic.

• “We are so grateful to have hired him. He’s an exceptional help to our lead mechanic and we really appreciate him,” Transportation Director Diana Howarth-Cederquist said.

• Requests for proposals for the districts wired and wireless networks were approved. The district’s current contract is set to expire, and the services are subject to bid requirements.

• Chromebooks originally anticipated in January may arrive by the end of February. The district has developed a draft loan agreement to lend the laptops that have arrived out to students in grade 7-12.

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