Snow fort

Reagan Cota, 6, crawls through her snow fort in January 2017 in her front yard in Twin Falls.

PAT SUTPHIN, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO

TWIN FALLS – Winter is less than six weeks away and we’ve already gotten the first snow of the season.

It means the Twin Falls School District is thinking about snow removal.

Director of operations Ryan Bowman gave an information report to the school board Monday night about procedures maintenance employees follow during winter storms.

With 16 school campuses, it’s a massive job to make sure parking lots, sidewalks and ramps are shoveled, and safe for students, employees and parents.

“We have a lot of sidewalks and parking lots to clear,” Bowman told the school board.

Last year, many Magic Valley schools logged eight or more snow days. School officials said the winter conditions were highly unusual and most hadn’t seen that many snow days since the 1990s.

Bowman told the school board he likes the moisture, but hopes “we don’t have the same kind of snow as last year.”

“Last year, hopefully, was an anomaly,” Superintendent Brady Dickinson said.

The school district owns seven snow plows. When there’s a snowstorm, some maintenance workers start their day as early as 1 or 2 a.m.

Last winter, some even slept in the school district maintenance shop knowing there would be an early start time in the morning, Bowman said.

School maintenance workers used 37 yards of sand and six pallets of ice melt last year.

A couple of school trustees asked about the school district’s liability for maintenance workers, students and parents if someone slips and falls, for example.

Parking lots need to be “reasonably clear,” Dickinson said, but the focus is especially on clearing and sanding sidewalks.

During their Monday meeting, trustees also:

Heard a monthly financial report.

A budget advisory committee – which includes committee members – is working on a recommendation for a plant facilities levy. The current 10-year measure, for $3.3 million annually, expires in 2018.

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The district is considering bringing a renewal request to voters during the March 2018 election.

Fiscal affairs director Bob Seaman also presented a list of capital assets, including school district facilities and equipment. Information for each school included the building’s age, historical cost and projected replacement cost.

The total: $210.2 million in historical costs and $391.3 million-$431 million in projected replacement costs.

Board chairman Bernie Jansen said there’s quite a range of building ages, from brand new to about 100 years old.

Some of the buildings are showing their age, Jansen said, but added the district is to be commended for how well they’ve been maintained.

Dickinson said the topic will be relevant at the December school board meeting when a bond official will be to talk about the plant facilities levy.

Bowman presented a lengthy list of needs in school buildings, such as a new roof at Bickel Elementary School, and improved security at campuses such as Morningside Elementary School and Harrison Elementary School where the school office isn’t right near the front entryway.

Voted to create an endowment for donation money the school district has received to award scholarships to business students.

Recognized employees of the month: secondary schools consulting teacher Cecelia Charland and special education data coordinator Amber Gillespie from school district support services, and teacher Margaret (Peggy) Carr and secretary Tara Fiscus from Magic Valley High School.

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