Superintendent Update April 29, 2016


 Kuna School District Updateksd1
Inspiring each student to become a lifelong learner and a contributing, responsible citizen

April 29, 2016

“ Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion. ” ― Simon Sinek


Mr. and Mrs. Thornton’s generous donation of 100 acres combined with an increase in the number of new homes that are being constructed within our school district boundaries combined with the supplemental levy expiring at the end of this school year combined with numerous facility, staffing and curriculum needs has many of you wondering about what the the future holds for the Kuna School District.

Over the last several months, the school board trustees and I have been exploring options of how to provide financial stability to both our taxpayers and the district while also preparing for the future. Financial advisors have spent numerous meetings with the trustees discussing options. In our May 10 school board meeting, LKV Architects will meet with the board to share advice for planning for growth.

Finances continue to be tight in our district. The state’s increase of our operational funds to 2009 levels combined with strategic savings and maximizing resources has allowed our district to take the next school year to take the following three critical actions as we consider a possible levy election in March 2017:

1. Analyze the Data
○ Contract with a growth and demographic consultant who will provide data that should drive facility and land needs for the future.
○ Continue to collaborate with our financial experts on ways we can maximize savings to our taxpayers by restructuring our bond debts while also providing financial stability to the district and taxpayers.
○ District Curriculum Council began work to assess needs and put together a plan to meet these needs.

2. Engage Our Community
○ We not only need to share the recommendations of experts but also hear what our community wants for their children as we move into the future. We will organize a series of community meetings to gather this feedback.

3. Create a Master Facilities and Resources Plan
○ This would be the combined result of bringing the data, the needs, and our community’s dreams together.

The Kuna School District I knew when I started my first teaching job here over 20 years ago is a much different district today. While we have grown bigger and encounter different challenges than 20 years ago, one thing has remained strong and that is the dedication and commitment of our community to do the right thing for children. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the children of Kuna School District and am glad that you are all a part of the team on the journey.

Note: Videos from past board meetings can be found at the following link.


In service,


wendy signature


updatelogo Updates

Employee of the Year Celebration
Be sure to join us on Monday, May 2 at 7:45 a.m. in the Kuna Performing Arts Center to celebrate each other and our profession.

Summary of Educational Legislation
This year’s legislative session was a positive one for K12 education. Legislators passed a 7.4% budget increase to the state’s education budget from last year’s budget which is a combination of catching up from the budget cuts they made during the recession and current improvements. One of the communication challenges school districts face is explaining how changes to the state’s education budget impact local districts. I will attempt to simplify by explaining that 7.4% increase in a state budget does not equal a 7.4% increase to a district . However, after years of cuts to education, this year’s legislative session was a positive one for education.

To help everyone understand the state impacts to our district, the following is a short summary of the legislative changes, their associated state budgets and the estimated impact to the Kuna School District:

1. Fullyfunded the second year of the career ladder for teachers and included pupil services staff to the ladder. This increased the state budget allocations for teacher salaries by $41.5 million. Estimated impact to the Kuna School District is an increase of $550,000. We currently pay $1,969,947.80 more than our state funding so the extra money decrease the amount of money we have to use from operational funds to cover salary costs.

2. Restored operational funding to 2009 levels. Operational funds are the monies that are used to cover costs for heating, maintenance, benefits, transportation, overage costs of salaries, etc. Districts will now get $25,696 per support unit (during the lowest point of the recession it was $19,626) which translates to the increase to the state’s budget of $27.3 million. Estimated impact to the Kuna School District is approximately $500,000. Even though this change brings us to 2009 funding when combined with inflation, we are still funded $2,703.78 less than the 2009 level so we still have some catching up to do.

3. Literacy intervention for grades K3. The increase to the state’s budget is $9.1 million. Estimated impact to the Kuna School District is $215,100.

4. $8 million was set aside in the state education budget to pay for a possible settlement over the Idaho Education Network contract mess. No direct impact to KSD budget.

5. $2 million for expansion of the state’s STEM educational opportunities which includes Idaho’s STEM Action Center. No direct impact to KSD budget.

6. $570,000 to establish a new state school security office which will be staffed with five people who will inspect schools every three years. No direct impact to KSD budget.

7. 3% increase to the multiplier for classified and administrative salary apportionment. This adjustment moves the base to $34,110 per administrative staff and $20,421 per classified staff. So of the $1,243,297 expenses in administrative salaries approximately $1,034,368 will be covered by the state, leaving $208,929 to come from operational funds to cover the difference. Of the 2,843,425 expenses in classified salaries $1,965,832 would be covered by the state, leaving $877,594 to come from operational funds to cover the difference.

8. $1 million to provide extra money for virtual schools and alternative schools that take on additional students during the academic year. No direct impact to KSD budget.

9. $5 million added to the Idaho Opportunity Scholarship and $1 million to fund Advanced Opportunities for high school students. No direct impact to KSD budget.

Like Us on Facebook and Instagram and Follow Us on Twitter

The school district facebook page has 117 new followers this month! If you haven’t connected with the district via social media, please follow the Kuna Jt. School District on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you have information you would like to share on the page please let Cheri Carr, Brittany Regli or Dave Reinhart know.

kuna wayThe Kuna Way Awards
Please help us to celebrate our colleagues and community partners who are examples of practicing the Kuna Way. If you know of someone who should receive this award, please nominate this person via the website feedback link.





Collaborating to solve problems, to make decisions, to reach win-win decisions and to continuously improve to make our system better for kids:

Karen Stringer for applying for and being awarded a School Library Access Mini Grant from the Idaho Commission for Libraries.

“Karen’s extra care for our students is amazing! Her extra efforts in applying for this 
grant will bring $5,000 for new resources to the Crimson Point Library!”

Katie Harding for designing and donating the benches for Ross Elementary students to use in the 

“Thank you so much to Katie and her husband for designing, building and 
donating the awesome benches at Ross. I loved the creativity in using pallets to design places for kids to sit in the courtyard. It's been great watching the kids come to the previously unused empty area to use them. Thank you for your leadership in seeing something that needed to change and changing it for the better!”

Putting kids first and doing whatever it takes to help students succeed:

Tammy McMorrow for celebrating her love of teaching and love of her students

"Tammy was recently celebrated in a podcast called Inspiring Educators: Unsung 
Heroes . Click here to listen the podcast and learn why Tammy has been so dedicated to teaching first grade for 22 years in the Kuna School District."

J.J. and Renee Cox for the support to the KHS band programs

“Last year they decided that we will get new uniforms. They put their shoulder to 
the wheel and under their guidance, $15,000 was raised and the new jackets have been ordered. They both give of their time, asking little in return.”


Take care of each other and ourselves:

Angelie Bauer, Ian Smart and Alex Jensen for coordinating a fundraiser for a Bishop Kelly colleague who is battling cancer. They raised over $8,000 for the family!

“These three are the true example of the Kuna Waywe 
take care of one another and that includes our colleagues from other districts. What amazingly kind and generous support! We are proud to call these leaders our friends.”

khs promAngelie Bauer, Sally Neil and KHS CAST for putting on a prom for the extended 
resource students at Kuna High School

“The kindness and caring that the CAST students and Mrs.Baer have shown 
will forever change these students lives. As a parent the fact that KHS students want to something like this for our kids has left me speechless. The kids look GREAT.”


rumor Rumor Mill

Have You Heard a Rumor and Want to Know the Answer? Post your question on our website!

It is easy for rumors to get started in light of all the questions and concerns employees and parents have regarding the Kuna School District. If you've heard a rumor that you'd like to get an "official" response on, we encourage you visit the "Rumors, Questions and Feedback" link on our website.


Q. Are we running a levy or bond soon?
A. The School Board and district leaders have been reviewing needs and revenue projections over the last three months. Videos of these presentations are available on the district website and can be accessed at this link.