Progress of District 25 and necessity of supplemental levy
By Mary Vagner
Pocatello/Chubbuck School District No. 25 offers a quality education for all students. We take pride in our students and staff. Our staff works hard to ensure students are prepared to be successful in college and that they are ready for post-secondary training to be career ready. Through our years of budget reductions, we have maintained services and programs, but not at the same level as in the past. Our ability to maintain services is due to the local financial support we are receiving through the supplemental level. Currently, we are sustaining our services on a budget that is below the level of state funding we operated on in the year 2000-01. We have lost $7 million in state support. Of that $7 million, we have lost $2.5 million in state discretionary funding. Discretionary funds are what we use for operations.
We are fortunate and thankful to live in a community that values and supports a quality education for children. This community has supported the supplemental levy for more than 60 years. The levy supports student safety; student assessment and remediation; operating costs such as lights, heat, water, fuel, and insurance; highly qualified teachers and extracurricular academic and athletic programs. District 25’s two year $8.5 million supplemental levy is to be voted on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
We are successful because of our collective belief that all children can be successful at high levels and because of the commitment and skill of our highly qualified staff. As a District our staff actualizes our vision, mission and strategic plan on a daily basis.
In Idaho, student achievement is measured by the ISAT which is designed to measure a student’s mastery of academic content as required by the state. The ISAT is given in grades 3 – 8 and 10 in math, reading and language arts; and in grades 5, 7 and 10 in science. Ninth grade students are also given the 10th grade standards test. In addition, the Idaho Reading Indicator is given to students in grades K-3. Our students score at or above state benchmarks on the ISAT and IRI. Our graduation rate for 2011-12 is 94.36%.
For the last two years, the state has required that all 11th graders take the SAT. Our students placed in the middle of the larger districts to which we were compared. Last year our high school students earned 988 dual enrollment credits and last year’s graduating seniors were awarded $10 million in college scholarships.
Student achievement is monitored daily in classrooms using various assessments that measure knowledge, skills and abilities against state standards. We implemented effective grading practices designed to truly measure a student’s learning. Our teachers implemented strategies that prohibit students from opting out of leaning and enhance students taking responsibility for their learning.
Next year we will implement Common Core State Standards. We have been preparing to do so without any financial help from the state.
We are serious about the achievement of students. We take each child as he or she comes to us. Some come ready and willing to learn and some do not. Nonetheless, our job is to have them college and career ready when they graduate. We commit to being accountable for the safety and success of children, to the most efficient use of public funds and to contributing to a vibrant community.
We appreciate your continued support of children and remind you to vote on March 12, 2013.
Mary M. Vagner is the superintendent for Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25.