Challis schools will receive $223,000 in federal funds from the Secure Rural Schools Act, formerly known as forest reserve funds, according to school district Business Manager Shawna Getty.

Custer County Clerk Lura Baker informed Getty of the district’s allocation. Getty shared the information as school board members begin work on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Getty had anticipated receiving $205,000 from the federal program for the current fiscal year which ends June 30. She is budgeting for $204,000 in those funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The forest fund reimburses rural school districts for declining timber harvest receipts on adjacent national forests.

The school district will transfer $53,000 from its forest reserve accounts to its general operations fund to balance the budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, school board Chairman Brett Plummer said after the board’s May meeting.

State revenues are up a bit, Getty said. As a result of action taken during the 2019 Legislative session, the increased state funding will be directed to higher salaries for teachers.

Getty and Superintendent Lani Rembelski recommended the board pass on the step pay increases for teachers under the Idaho Department of Education’s career ladder program, which was approved by the Legislature several years ago, Plummer said. The Challis district is planning a 3 percent pay raise for other staff members in the coming year, Plummer said.

The state’s contribution to teacher’s salaries comes out of a different pot of money than state funding for classified staffers.

A public hearing on the proposed 2019-2020 fiscal year budget is planned during the June 12 school board meeting. That meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. at the elementary school.

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