In spite of essentially flat student enrollment, the Blaine County School District added yet another administrative position last spring: assessment and data coordinator, at $71,800 plus benefits.
For comparison, West Ada (Boise area) School District trustees recently refused, for budgetary reasons, to allow their superintendent to add the same position. That district, moreover, has about 30,000 students, versus Blaine County’s 3,400 students).
The Blaine County School District also added a second district office position: administrative assistant for the Communications Department ($53,700, plus benefits). Our district’s tax dollars—yours and mine—are now paying more than $250,000 per year to help the district promote itself. Superintendent Holmes, meanwhile has stated, contrary to recent overwhelming public input to the contrary, that she plans to fight for the Communications Department.
Administrative bloat existed before these positions were added. At the same time, the staffing needs for positions that directly impact students and teachers go ignored. Teaching positions have been left unfilled, leading to class size difficulties. Increasing numbers of troubled children would benefit greatly from a district psychologist.
Two nurses split 45 hours per week (totaling $73,000 annually; no benefits) trying to cover 3,400 students spread out in eight schools between Ketchum and Carey; these 45 hours include travel time and paperwork. For many students, this is their only primary health care. And lack of resources leaves school secretaries managing medications.
Are the priorities of this administration and board what we want for our school district? The district needs leadership that can put our money where it will do the most good for students and teachers. Only public outcry will turn this district’s spending priorities from administrative to educational. Let our school board trustees know your feelings; trustees can be copied in one email at ShawnBennion@BlaineSchools.org, CamiBustos@BlaineSchools.org,CaroleFreund@BlaineSchools.org, RobClayton@BlaineSchools.org.