The Kiona-Benton City School District board of directors meets regularly on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 PM in the District Board Room.
THIS BOARD MEETING WILL BE HELD IN THE DISTRICT BOARD ROOM AND AVAILABLE TO VIEW VIA ZOOM ON 5/22/2023.
Our school board is always interested in involvement and feedback from our community. Anyone wishing to provide public comment during a school board meeting must:
- Be present in-person at the board meeting, or;
- Submit his/her public comment in writing by 6:00 PM on the day of that board meeting. The comment must be emailed to Heidi Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org or physically delivered to Ms. Chapman at the District Office no later than 4:00 PM on the day of the meeting. All written submissions must include the following:
- Your name
- Phone number
Topic: Kiona Benton City Board Meeting 5/22/2023
Time: May 22, 2023 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
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Webinar ID: 873 7333 7536
Response from the School Board to March 2023 Questions
During the March 13, 2023 regular meeting of the Kiona-Benton City School Board of Directors, a number of school staff and community members came forward with questions and concerns during the Public Comments section of the meeting. Per Board Policy No. 1400, board members may listen and learn from the public comment time, but do not respond or answer questions during this time. As appropriate, the school board may direct the superintendent to follow up on any issues raised.
With this in mind, the School Board has provided a list of answers to questions recently posed. The following questions were submitted through a public records request and also address many similar questions during public comment:
If we release the three individuals who have been hired and paid through grant money,
a) Who will be writing for the grant money from here out?
b) What will happen to the grant money assigned to those positions?
c) As we get reimbursed for those three positions, why are we not using the reserves until reimbursed for the grant money as is standard practice?
The three individuals who were under consideration for release have been retained.
If we are laying off people due to funding, why are we trying to hire a vice principal at the high school?
Would it not make sense to have the middle school principal split his time between the high school and the middle school (as was done in previous years to save money)?
The Vice Principal/Athletic Director at the HS has not been hired yet and there are in-district personnel who may be considered for the position.
If the district is in the red financially, why was the superintendent given a raise on his contract this year?
Why was the superintendent's contract renewed early this year? Prior to the levy vote?
The superintendent received the Implicit Price Deflator (IPD) percentage increase that went to all members of all bargaining units last July. The Superintendent contract has been extended at the same time the past three years (prior to February as written in the contract).
Why is the district paying an individual $175/hr, 10 hours weekly ($7000 monthly) to assist the school psychologist with paperwork when we have the counselor or the Special Services Director who could help him and are already on the payroll?
The District is not paying an individual $175/hr to assist the school psychologist. The rate is $90 per hour, which is the standard industry rate for specialized areas of services such as psychologists, physical therapy, speech therapy, etc.
Why are we employing a psychologist to work REMOTELY on IEPS?
There is a statewide shortage of specialized areas of services. Due to the increase in student services needed within our District, we contracted with an available psychologist that lives outside our area to keep the District in compliance.
Why did the board hire a tenured teacher to teach Spanish instead of a less costly teacher? Current teacher - $105,570 annually, previous - $79,369 annually
This teacher applied for and was hired one week before the 2021 school year started after our contracted Spanish teacher passed away following an illness. As with any teacher, they are placed on the salary schedule according to their education and experience. He was our only qualified applicant.
What did the school gain in return for the additional payroll that it has given the teachers?
The district has enjoyed no labor discord as a result of ratified contracts with all three of its bargaining units, including the teachers.
Is policy 6513 (Kiona Benton Firearms Policy) still in effect? If not, what is the justification for not following it and how do you think this affects the safety of our students?
Policy 6513 is still in effect.
Is the high school principal getting paid additional funds (above his normal salary) for his Athletic Director?
The HS principal has not received additional funds to date.
lf we received a reported 5.2 million in Covid funds, how was the amount allocated?
This information is provided in separate PDF files here:
From 2018 to 2023, payroll has gone UP approximately 30% (average increase of $600,000 annually) and the number of employees has gone DOWN approximately 2%. Were these increases given across the board equally to all employees?
The majority of staff are a part of collective bargaining units where salaries are negotiated. There will be a variance of percentage amounts based on these individual units. Non-represented employee increases are at the discretion of the Superintendent’s approval, with the finance office staff’s recommendations. Those recommendations normally follow the increase of IPD that the units negotiate and/or what the State allocates.
According to the Tri-Cities Herald article that Mr. Petersen contributed to, we currently have 5% of our total budget in reserves (with an expected decrease to only 1.8% by school year completion. How much is in the reserves currently in dollar amount?
The reserve to date (3.23.23) is currently -$57,000.
Specific reports requested: