Challis school board members accepted the resignation of Marta Pierson as secretary of the Challis Junior-Senior High School and hired Cassandra Barnes as sixth-grade teacher, Peggy Redick as junior high track coach and second-grade teacher and Jennifer Zollinger as assistant athletic director at their July 3 meeting.

Pierson is going to work at Thompson Creek Mine where she will handle payroll, she said.

Zollinger will be the assistant to Todd Dixon, who has been hired as athletic director. Dixon, who is from Eagle, said he’s looking forward to the job.

The district still has an opening for a science teacher, Superintendent Lani Rembelski said. The district is also advertising an opening for high school special education teacher.

The annual public hearing to set school bus routes for the coming school year will be held at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at the district office in the Challis Elementary building, trustees decided.

The board did its annual self-evaluation and board members’ most common response in areas where the state asks them to rate themselves was “satisfactory.” Several school board members said there’s always room for improvement.

Trustees rated Brett Plummer’s performance as chairman at his request, giving him high praise. “Be honest,” Plummer told trustees before asking them to rate him.

“Do I work well with others?” was one of the questions Plummer asked.

“Well, as often as you’re in the newspaper, nobody’s burned your garage down,” Trustee Trish Farr said, jokingly.

“Well, that was fairly painless,” Plummer said afterwards, adding he had expected his fellow board members to give him more suggestions on things he needs to change.

The middle school gymnasium in Challis was scheduled to reopen to the public on July 8, Rembelski said. It had been closed while the district maintenance crew refinished the floor. The Challis High School gymnasium is now closed for the same purpose for the next four to six weeks. The target for reopening is the first day of volleyball practice in August, she said.

Rembelski suggested the addition of a district attendance committee to keep track of student attendance. During the Idaho school year, students legally must be in school for a certain number of days. They are only allowed to miss eight days per semester or 16 per year. Trustees considered but took no action on that and other suggested changes to the leadership premium program. The program provides extra pay for teachers who go above and beyond the call of duty, such as teaching dual-credit college-high school classes, Plummer said.

Some universities offer a stipend to high school teachers who teach college classes, Rembelski said, adding she needs to clarify with the University of Idaho whether the stipend is supposed to be paid to the teacher or to the school district for extra expenses in offering a particular class for college and high school credit. Since the state also pays a leadership premium, a teacher who also collects a stipend is double-dipping, Rembelski said. That might be the university’s intent, but she needs to know for sure. She plans to double-check and revisit the issue at the board’s Aug. 14 meeting.

The board received a letter from student Hailey Lutgen thanking the trustees and scholarship committee for awarding her two scholarships to attend Idaho State University. Lutgen said she learned values and morals during her Challis school years.

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