Blaine County School District Extends Contract for Superintendent of Schools, Renews Contracts for Administrators
UPDATE: February 24, 2012
Steve Guthrie, Blaine County School District Board of Trustees
Chair, announced last night that the Board of Trustees approved
a three-year contract for Dr. Lonnie Barber as Superintendent of
the Blaine County School District. The Board of Trustees voted
unanimously to renew the contract following its annual
performance evaluation of the Superintendent. The Board also
approved contract renewals for all District and school
Dr. Barber was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in July,
2007 as part of a leadership succession plan. The Board hired
Dr. Barber two years later to become the District Superintendent
following Dr. Jim Lewis’s retirement.
In a subsequent press release, Chairman Guthrie cited the
progress made during Dr. Barber’s tenure in achieving the goals
of the Blaine County School District’s Strategic Plan. “Under
Dr. Barber’s leadership, the goals of our Strategic Plan have
been accelerated. Dr. Barber has worked closely with the Board
of Trustees, staff, and the community at large to implement the
Strategic Plan, which was based on unprecedented community
involvement. We believe Dr. Barber will provide the leadership
we need to continue carrying out the community’s plan,” said
The annual evaluation process of the Superintendent is part of
the District’s commitment to ongoing performance evaluation of
all staff. Said Dr. Barber, “the evaluation process is seen as
an opportunity to improve on all levels, from custodians to the
Superintendent. We have a process in place to help all staff
grow and improve. I always learn something from my evaluations
and I’m committed to implementing the feedback the Board has
given me based on the parent and staff survey.”
Chairman Guthrie spoke about the process involved in the
Superintendent’s evaluation, “One of the most critical jobs of
the Board is to evaluate the Superintendent. It’s a continual
process, as it should be. The Board spent many hours and held
several meetings to accurately and successfully evaluate the
Superintendent and document our process. We work closely with
the Superintendent and have ongoing discussions about progress
and expectations. We’ve also worked with Liz Kilpack of the
Idaho School Boards Association, who provided input and guidance
throughout the process. This is a team effort and we believe
we are moving in a positive direction.”
Dr. Barber continued, “I’m looking forward to continuing to
serve the Board of Trustees and the students, parents, teachers,
staff and community members in Blaine County. Public
education is at a critical crossroads right now and in Blaine
County we have the opportunity to do it right, to really deliver
for the diverse student population we serve and to give every
student the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. I’m humbled by
the chance to help students become the best that they can be
through the Blaine County School system.”
In the past four years, the Blaine County School District has
among other things:
Approved the BCSD Strategic
Plan based on unprecedented community and staff input,
leading the way to 21st century learning.
Passed a Plant Facility Levy
that preserves the General Fund for the cost of educating
students and uses Levy funds to maintain and modernize
facilities. The Levy also provides innovative technology
used by teachers and students every day.
Implemented the International
Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme in grades 6-10 at Wood
River Middle School and Wood River High School.
Helped teachers bring Project
Based Learning to every student.
Began offering all-day
Kindergarten, helping more students prepare for 1st grade.
Expanded the college counseling program throughout
the District, resulting in increased numbers of students
applying to college.
Began offering SAT prep for
all students and expanded dual credit and Advanced Placement
“This is a team effort, and our accomplishments are the result
of a very dedicated staff who want to see the District move
forward in a direction that makes a difference for students.
It’s our teachers who are responsible for our success,” said
Blaine County Schools Perform Above
State Average but Miss Adequate Yearly Progress
Welcome to a new school year. We would like to update you on
Blaine County School District’s progress toward State goals in
academic core areas as reported by the Idaho Standards
Achievement Test (ISAT).
Each year, all districts are mandated by the Idaho State
Department of Education to reach 41 different prescribed goals
in the areas of Reading, Math and Language Usage. Based on the
2011 spring ISAT scores, Blaine County School District made
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 39 out of 41 required target
The district must meet the benchmarks established by the State
Department of Education in all 41 areas each year. This year
Blaine County School District did not meet the State prescribed
academic targets in two areas. The first was in the area of
Reading for Students with Disabilities, even though Blaine
County School District students scored 14.7% above the State
average in this area, and once again ranked first in the State
of Idaho with an 81.3% proficiency level among the 31 largest
districts. The second target area was in Math for our Limited
English Proficient (LEP) students. Again, Blaine County School
District students in this category were significantly above the
State average by more than 10% points. This ranked Blaine
County School District 4th in this category in the State of
Idaho, of the 31 largest school districts.
This year, both Wood River High School and Carey High School
reached proficiency in all 41 prescribed goal areas and made
AYP. The five other schools in the district missed AYP in a
limited number of areas of State prescribed goals. Hailey
Elementary, Woodside Elementary and Wood River Middle School
each missed their AYP goal in only one of the State prescribed
areas. Hailey Elementary missed the State prescribed goal in
Limited English Proficiency Reading. Woodside Elementary missed
the State prescribed goal in Economically Disadvantaged Math
despite increasing the percentage of students meeting
proficiency benchmarks in this area. Wood River Middle School
missed the State prescribed goal in Limited English Proficient
Math despite increasing the percentage of students meeting
proficiency benchmarks in this area as well.
Bellevue Elementary and Hemingway Elementary did not reach the
State prescribed goals in three areas. Hemingway Elementary did
not meet the State prescribed goals in Hispanic Reading, Limited
English Proficient Reading and Economically Disadvantaged
Reading. Bellevue Elementary did not meet State prescribed
goals in Hispanic Reading and Math, Economically Disadvantaged
Reading. For more information about AYP data, contact your
neighborhood school or go to
Blaine County School District does not taking missing any
prescribed goal lightly. Our staff and administration is
committed to the continuous improvement of each school and the
district. We are dedicated to employing the most effective
strategies and practices to help each and every student reach
their fullest potential.
To that end, we have further sharpened the focus of our district
improvement efforts around the education of the Whole Child,
21st Century Learning, Project Based Learning Practices,
Curriculum Mapping, early intervention and effective follow-up
If you have any questions regarding Blaine County School
District AYP status, or would like additional information,
please do not hesitate to call the Blaine County School District
office at 208-578-5000.
An investment in public education is
an investment in our community
UPDATE: May 10, 2011
“In America there is a place to take a stand, it is public
education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political
system. It is the great common ground. Public education after
all is the engine that moves us as a society toward a common
destiny . . . It is in public education that the American dream
begins to take shape.” - Tom Brokaw
What is the taxpayer return on investment for public education?
On Tuesday, May 10, the Blaine County School Board will consider
approving the 2011/12 Master Agreement, which will include a 2%
cost of living increase for teachers and staff. The Blaine
County School District appreciates the support of Blaine County
voters and taxpayers. It comes at a time when the local economy
is still suffering, and some may wonder about the social and
fiscal return on taxpayer investment.
Your tax dollars go back into the local economy
- The total payroll for the district is $30,874,300 for
539 employees. Please click on the graph for larger
- According to the Idaho Mountain Express, every $1 spent
locally equals $10 to the community. For example, if 15% of
the total BCSD payroll is spent locally, that’s $46,311,450
back to the community.
Your tax dollars invested now save money in the future
- Studies show that investing in public education is more
cost-effective than paying for the social and economic
consequences down the road. Individuals who graduate and have
access to quality education are more likely to find gainful
employment, have stable families and be active and productive
citizens. They are also less likely to commit serious crimes,
less likely to place high demands on the public health care
system, and less likely to be enrolled in welfare assistance
programs (www.all4ed.org and
- For example, high
school dropouts are more than twice as likely to be unemployed
and three times more likely to receive welfare assistance.
- Improved education and more stable employment greatly increase
tax revenue, such as a return of at least seven dollars for
every dollar invested in early childhood education.
- 75% of state
prison inmates do not have a high school diploma.
- The average
cost to house inmates in prison is $22,600/year.
- Graduating from
high school improves the quality of health, reduces dependence
on public health programs by 60%, and cuts rate of alcohol abuse
by six times.
Your tax dollars contribute to economic growth
- Increased property values correlate with the quality of public
- Companies like Power Engineers, Webb Landscaping and
Smith Optics have stated that high quality public schools are a
recruitment tool for the growth of business.
Your tax dollars are leveraged through second-home
- For every dollar in property taxes paid by full-time resident
homeowners who claim the Homeowners Exemption, owners of second
homes (as well as owners of commercial, industrial and
agricultural property) will pay three dollars. Residents’ tax
dollars are leveraged to support public schools.
What do Blaine County taxpayers receive specifically
from their schools?
- Average district class sizes of 19.56 students per 1 teacher
- Average year of experience for a teacher is 14
- Over half of our
teachers have Master’s degrees
- Nationally recognized performing
- Internationally competitive robotics team
Merit Finalists every year
- Increased Advanced Placement classes
and overall test scores
- ACT scores above state and national
- 99% of current seniors applied to college
- Programs like
The Leader In Me, International Baccalaureate, Dual Language
Learning, Advanced Placement, and Dual College Credit.
Special Education services, including Autism Spectrum Disorder
services for the entire community supporting children in both
public and private schools.
The future of our economy depends on educating every child to
his or her fullest potential. In a speech to the National School
Board Association recently, former Secretary of State Condoleeza
Rice said, “Education is a national security issue, not just
because we need an educated military, or that our ability to
compete globally depends on it,
but because what holds
us together as a nation is our belief that we can start from
nowhere and go somewhere.”
Schools cannot do this alone. We depend on you for financial
support but we also need your involvement. We need a public who
understand the complexities of education, and who want a school
system that will rise to the challenge. Please, come to a school
board meeting, join your PTA, or attend a public meeting. We are
grateful for your investment in the future of our community and
we look forward to working together to build a better world, one
child at a time.
Negotiations in Blaine County: A new
UPDATE: April 7, 2011
The 2011 session of the Idaho Legislature saw sweeping
educational reforms, sponsored by State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Tom Luna, and recently signed into law by Governor
Butch Otter. The reforms, titled Students Come First
are centered on three pillars of reform and have been touted as
A plan to educate more students at a higher level with
limited resources. The three legislative bills that drove
the reform are Senate Bill 1110, which established a pay for
performance system for teachers, Senate Bill 1184, which will
force a reduction of the number of teachers and para-professionals
in Idaho by over 1000 in order to support more technology in the
classrooms, and Senate Bill 1108, which has been labeled as a
labor relations and employee entitlement bill.
While I personally believe that each of these bills contains
some parts that are detrimental to the education of our
children, I would like to focus at this time on some of the
implications that Senate Bill 1108, the labor relations and
employee entitlements, has for our school district. While State
Superintendent Luna has said that this legislation returns
decision-making powers to locally elected school boards and
creates a more professional and accountable work force, others
have labeled it as a “union-busting” bill. The bill in effect
does the following:
Phases out continuing
contracts for all current and future teachers who have not
yet earned it (have not completed three full years of
successful practice in the district), to be replaced by one
or two year contracts.
Eliminates seniority as a
factor in the RIF, reduction in force (staff), decisions
made by the Board of Trustees.
Creates a requirement that
feedback from parents and objective measures of growth in
student achievement are factors in the performance
evaluations of professional staff.
Gives principals more
control over the new professional staff assigned to their
Eliminates the Early
Retirement Incentive Program for certified teachers.
Limits the length of
negotiated agreements between the school district and
teachers to one year.
Eliminates the “evergreen”
clauses from negotiated agreements, which means that master
contracts that have guided districts and teachers for many
years can no longer be carried over from year to year.
Requires unions and teacher
associations to provide documentation that they represent
over 50% of employees in order for collective bargaining to
bargaining (negotiations) to compensation (salaries and
Requires that all labor
negotiations be conducted in public meetings.
The Blaine County School
District and the Blaine County Education Association have a
long history of effective partnerships in our district,
including the negotiations process. While negotiations have
in the past been conducted in private, I am confident that
our negotiations will continue to benefit both the district
and our teachers, whether conducted in private or in public
meetings as the law now dictates. In the past, our
negotiations have consisted of teams of certified teachers,
and administrators and board members. This will not change.
The biggest changes to our prior process will be the fact
that the law now limits negotiations to discussions about
teacher compensation (salaries and benefits). While
negotiations are conducted between the administration and
certified teachers, it has been our history that any
additional salary or increases in benefit have been extended
to our hard working classified employees. I do not
anticipate that this will change.
Our negotiation dates will
be established between the Blaine County teacher association
and the administration soon. I will make the public informed
of these dates as soon as we establish them. I am confident
that the partnership that has existed between the Blaine
County Teachers’ Association and the Blaine County School
District will continue to be both collaborative and fruitful
and that the new process will continue to serve our
students, teachers, administrators and community well.
children that we educate today are tomorrow’s future. Our
job is to give our children the best possible education so
that they are equipped to create the best possible future.
We cannot do that without our valuable teachers.