Stories from this compilation are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region.

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GRANGEVILLE — Where do local schools fall in academics, achievement and other areas compared to other Idaho public schools? Idaho Education News recently released its EdTrends (trends in Idaho public education) Edition 2, which provides a look at public schools across the state of Idaho.

The booklet is divided into several categories, including enrollment and demographics, budgets and salaries, student achievement and accountability, and also includes a glossary with definitions and question points.

Enrollment and Demographics

Every region with the exception of Region 2 (which includes Idaho County) has grown in enrollment.

In Region 2, which encompasses Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce counties, numbers went from 13,787 students in 2018 (down 115 from the previous year) to 13,613, or down 174 students.

There are 115 school districts in the state, which includes 658 traditional schools and 57 public charters. West Ada is Idaho’s largest district with nearly 40,000 students. For comparison, 2017-18 enrollment listed by IdahoEdNews.org, is as follows: Mountain View School District 244: 1,304 students; Cottonwood Joint School District 242: 403; Salmon River Joint School District 243: 113; and Kamiah Joint School District 304: 443.

Budgets and Salaries

In 2017-18, the state had 1,417 administrators with the average salary being $88,867; 2018-19 saw 1,337 administrators with an average salary of $92,362. For teachers, those numbers were 18,068 in 2017-18 with the average salary at $48,113, and 19,630 in 2018-19, with the average salary at $49,740.

The 2019 Legislature approved $7.2 million for master teacher premiums. Veteran teachers are eligible for $12,000 in these bonuses.

The highest paid administrator in the state in 2018-19 was Boise’s Don Coberly at $178,256; By comparison, Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s salary was $138,302, and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra earned $117,556. The highest teacher salary was $76,687 at Liberty Charter School.

In 2018, 96.4 percent of teachers in the state scored as “proficient and distinguished.”

Public education receives 49 percent of the state’s tax collections. That amount jumps to 63 percent when higher education is included. About 64 percent of each public school’s budget goes to salaries and benefits.

Idaho school districts will collect a record $202 million in voter-approved supplemental property tax levies this year. This has nearly doubled in the past decade.

Student Achievement

Three out of 4 children in kindergarten through grade three are reading at grade level.

About half of Idaho students are proficient in language arts and about 40 percent are proficient in math.

Idaho failed to meet 33 of 34 yearly academic benchmarks under the federal ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act).

Idaho’s graduation rate for 2017 was 79.7 percent, while the U.S. rate was 85 percent. This is determined by the number of students who graduate in four years, divided by the number of students who started ninth grade. For five-year graduation rates, in MVSD 244, the graduation rate is 84.4 percent; in CJSD 242, the rate is 94.6 percent; in SRJSD 243, 100 percent; and in KJSD 304, 75 percent.

Idaho’s go-on rate was 40 percent in 2017, while the U.S. rate was 70 percent. This is the percentage of students entering a post-secondary education program within 12 months of high school graduation.

Accountability

This section deals with each school’s individual “report card” and information can be accessed at https://idahoschools.org.

Some information found here includes the number of students who are from low-income families. For MVSD 244, that is 40 percent. In CJSD 242, 36 percent; in SRJSD 243, 50 percent; and in KJSD 304, 98 percent.

To explore and compare data on all Idaho’s public schools, go to IdahoEdTrends.org. For daily news, go to IdahoEdNews.org.

— Lorie Palmer, Idaho County Free Press (Grangeville), Wednesday

Whitcom fund could face “substantial decrease”

COLFAX — Whitman County commissioners Monday discussed setbacks in funding for Whitcom.

“It’s projected for 2019 Whitcom is going to receive $677,000. This is 56 percent of what Whitcom received in 2016. It is a substantial decrease,” Commissioner Dean Kinzer said.

In 2016 Whitcom received $1.2 million.

At the beginning of 2018 it was noted that there would be budget cuts to Washington state 911 coordination agencies.

The decrease in funds came from the state 911 running two systems at once unexpectedly.

“The state had two parallel programs and they were supposed to implement one and take away the other,” Kinzer said. “For some reason, they were still running two programs. This is why local 911 emergency centers are not getting the amount of funding they had previously.”

Commissioner Michael Largent said from his understanding this isn’t an isolated incident for Whitman County.

— Victoria Fowler, Whitman County Gazette (Colfax), Thursday

Nez Perce says no changes planned for Zims Hot Springs

NEW MEADOWS — Operations of Zims Hot Springs resort near New Meadows will remain largely the same under the Nez Perce Tribe’s ownership, Adams County Planning and Zoning commissioners were told Monday.

The tribe’s application to continue operating the resort was unanimously recommended for approval by the P&Z and will go before Adams County commissioners for final approval at a future meeting.

Commissioners were told that use of the 38-acre property at 2995 Zims Road, about four miles north of New Meadows, will remain mostly the same, but that the tribe will “modernize” it.

“We’re not necessarily going to change a whole lot, we’re essentially just bringing it to 2020,” Nez Perce Tribe Business Operation Planner Shelby Leighton said during the meeting.

Leighton told The Star-News after the meeting that the tribe has no plans of installing gaming machines at the resort.

The tribe does not plan to change the resort’s name and will continue to operate it under the name “Zims Hot Springs,” Nez Perce Communications Manager Kayeloni Scott said.

Most of the work to update the resort will consist of installing new plumbing and electric lines, Leighton told commissioners.

Updates could also be made to the existing 4,000-square-foot lodge at the resort, but no expansions of any facilities at the resort are expected, Leighton said.

An RV park and campground at the resort will continue to be operated by the tribe and a mobile home on the property could also be used as a short-term rental for vacationers, he said.

Expanding the RV park or lodge would require additional applications and a full rebuild of an outdated sewer infrastructure that services the site.

The tribe also hopes to pasture horses in fields neighboring the hot springs, Leighton said.

An extra employee is expected to be hired to devote more time to maintaining the two heated pools of natural mineral water that are fed by artesian wells and cooled by waters of the Little Salmon River.

The tribe bought the property in March and closed it until May, when public services were reopened.

Business hours are 2-10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. Friday through Saturday, Leighton told commissioners.

The hot springs are located in the Nez Perce Tribe’s aboriginal territory and was once referred to as Chinook Meadows.

The area was first homesteaded in 1889 and re-named “Zims Hot Springs” in 1949 when a man named Zimmerman bought the springs, according to former owner Al Dixon.

Dixon’s father bought the hot springs in 1976 and the family continued running it until it was sold in March.

The Nez Perce Tribe’s government offices are headquartered in Lapwai. The tribe has 3,500 enrolled citizens and the Nez Perce Reservation spans about 770,000 acres in north central Idaho, according to the tribe’s website.

Here is a list of other businesses owned by the Nez Perce Tribe:

Clearwater River Casino and Lodge east of Lewiston.

It’se Ye-Ye Casino in Kamiah.

Camas Express Convenience Store near Winchester.

Nez Perce Express Gas Station and Convenience Store east of Lewiston.

Clarkston Golf and Country Club, Clarkston.

— Drew Dodson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday

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