Challis and Mackay high schools will field a joint girls’ softball team for the next two years, with approval of a cooperative club sports team by trustees of the Challis and Mackay school districts.

Challis trustees approved the co-op team at their Feb. 13 meeting. Mackay trustees had given the green light to a joint team earlier. It’s the second Challis-Mackay cooperative athletic team. The Challis-Mackay RiverCats co-ed baseball team has existed for several years. The Challis and Mackay schools have also cooperated with golf teams.

School board approval was needed because the club sports team use school facilities, although parents, students and coaches must come up with money for travel and other expenses.

Coach Annie Taylor, a Challis Elementary School teacher, approached the School Board for approval along with several Challis girls who plan to play on the team: Rhyanna Israel, Summer Taylor, Jessica Lafeen, Zoe D’Orazio and Sadie Taylor. Girls in Challis and Mackay will have separate coaches and will practice separately Mondays through Thursdays and together on Fridays.

The girls haven chosen the name Challis-Mackay Wildcats, Taylor said. Practice began Feb. 25, and the Wildcats will share open gym time with the RiverCats. Eight Mackay girls and six Challis girls have committed to playing on the team, Taylor told trustees, and two more Challis girls are interested.

The Wildcats don’t have any money yet, but have decided to sell beef jerky as a fundraiser for uniforms and equipment, Taylor said. People can contact any player or Taylor at Challis Elementary School at 208-879-2439 to buy jerky.

The Idaho High School Activities Association allows non-school sanctioned teams to play other club teams, Challis Athletic Director Jennifer Piva said. Challis and Mackay may cooperate on a boys’ golf team this year, Piva said, but the three Challis girls going out for golf want to form their own team.

In non-sports business, trustees have scheduled meetings to inform people about why renewing the $400,000-per-year supplemental levy is necessary to keep the district and its schools operating for the next two years. Basically, all school operations would be affected and substantial cuts would be necessary if voters turn down the levy, Superintendent Lani Rembelski said earlier this year. The supplemental levy funds classroom supplies and textbooks, staff wages and benefits, and sports and other extracurricular activities. The final meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, at the Challis Community Event Center.

District patrons vote Tuesday, March 12, on the levy question. Its approval would mean no increase in property taxes from current levels. For the levy to pass, a simple majority of voters must approve it. Challis patrons have approved all supplemental and facilities levies in the past.

An educational consultant is compiling interviews with Challis district employees, teachers, patrons, parents and students into a school climate survey, board Chairman Brett Plummer reported. There have been a lot of comments and suggestions about how the school district can improve, he said.

In personnel action, the board accepted three resignations, most effective at the end of the school year. Katie Fredrickson is leaving her teaching job in junior high math and consumer economics, Judy Knapp is retiring as a school bus driver after decades and Alissa Lafeen is resigning as an assistant cook.

The board approved hiring Damon Burk and Lyn VanSchoiack as track coaches and Shannon Munson as an assistant cook.

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