Following a brief public hearing Tuesday evening, the Blaine County School District board of trustees approved a $92.8 million budget for the coming school year. The budget is more than $18 million higher than this year's.
In other business at its regular monthly meeting, the board approved appointment of Wood River Middle School Vice Principal Peter Jurovich as new Wood River High School principal and heard from district Business Manager Mike Chatterton that eight local companies have been recruited for projects funded by a recently approved plant facilities levy.
Approval of the budget was on a 4-0 vote. Trustee Steve Guthrie attended the meeting via telephone hookup and Trustee Paul Bates was absent.
Chatterton explained that the budget for fiscal year 2011, which starts July 1, is so much higher than this year's because of income and expenditures from the $59.8 million levy approved by voters in October.
Only one district patron spoke at the hearing, and he didn't directly comment on the budget but instead criticized the district's $15.1 million contract with McKinstry, a Seattle-based engineering firm contracted for levy-funded geothermal projects at various district facilities.
"I think things are out of whack with regards to McKinstry," said Hailey resident Tommy Richardson. "My opinion of what I see going on is McKinstry corporation is telling the school district what to do. I think I'm too late—I hope the board hasn't given the checkbook to McKinstry."
In a report on levy-funded activities, Chatterton said eight local engineering and architectural firms have now been hired for geothermal work through the McKinstry contract or for other projects.
He said six local firms have been hired through McKinstry for the first geothermal project at Bellevue Elementary School. Engineering companies recruited are Galena Engineering with offices in Ketchum and Hailey, Paul Stoops Associates in Hailey and Bouiss & Associates in Ketchum. Architectural firms are Vital Ink in Hailey, Wright Bryant and Johnson in Ketchum and Michael Doty Associates in Ketchum.
Chatterton said Vital Ink has also been contracted directly by the district for design of a food-storage and maintenance facility, and Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton has been contracted for architectural work for a new Bellevue Elementary School lunchroom.
He also said Power Engineers of Hailey has been hired by the district to review McKinstry designs and plans and to provide the district with project expertise.
Chatterton said in an interview that contract amounts for the companies are still being negotiated and that the information will be released in the near future.
Approval of Jurovich as the new high school principal was on a 4-0 vote. Jurovich will replace high school Principal John Blackman, who was approved by the school board in April as the district's new assistant superintendent.
District Human Resources Director Katie Palmer said in an interview that the high school principal position was advertised nationally and that the district received 40 applications, one from as far away as Morocco.
Eight finalists were chosen by a 17-member selection committee for interviews. She said members of the committee included parents, teachers and other staff, Trustees Bates and Guthrie, Wood River Middle School Principal Fritz Peters and district Superintendent Lonnie Barber.
Terry Smith: email@example.com