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Continued commitment

Truth be told, football really isn’t a seasonal game. Sure, there are calendar dates set aside for the first day of practice and first game and, yes, there are dates set aside for playoff games right through the championship game.

EV sees fewer students

The number of students enrolled at Valley school districts is all over the map, with some districts hardly changing. East Valley, however, was 164 students short on the first day of school, a number that has rebounded somewhat. West Valley is on the other end of the spectrum, seeing an increase of nearly 100 students at the high school alone. Student numbers are crucial to districts. The state pays $5,000 for each full-time student, providing the lion’s share of a district’s income. Each spring, districts estimate how many students will enroll in the fall and budget accordingly. A huge drop in enrollment means the district will have too many teachers on staff and not enough money to pay for them. A steep increase forces a district to scramble and hire teachers at the last minute.

Sick days spreading

Swine flu is likely to blame for higher-than-normal absences at Inland Northwest public schools, officials say. East Valley Middle School canceled after-school activities two days in a row because of an unusually high number of sick students. Nearly 10 percent of Coeur d’Alene High School’s students have been absent so far this week, and 21 percent of the students at Central Valley’s Barker High School have been ill for three days.

Teacher back after rebuke for behavior

University High School teacher Mike Cronin went back on the job this month after receiving a letter of reprimand for allegedly inappropriately touching a female student and a female staff member while drunk. Documents released by the Central Valley School District this week in response to a public records request show Cronin was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 30 while several complaints involving his behavior were investigated.

CV teacher faces road rage trial

Central Valley High School science teacher Scott Winslow is facing felony criminal charges over an alleged road rage incident June 9. The school district placed Winslow on paid administrative leave Monday, said district spokeswoman Melanie Rose. The district was unaware of the charges until receiving a packet of court documents in the mail that morning, she said. The same documents were mailed anonymously to The Spokesman-Review.

Girls soccer teams young but talented

When they were freshmen, Central Valley High School girls soccer coach Andres Monrroy marveled at the potential his young players had and looked forward to three more years of escalating success. When they were sophomores, he saw them make significant strides, only to have their season broken down by injuries that sidelined as many as six of his starters.

CV schools seek alternatives after cuts reduce busing

Students at four Central Valley elementary schools that rode the bus last year now have to walk after the school district cut several bus routes from McDonald, Progress, South Pines and University Elementary schools. South Pines now has no bus routes except some special education buses because the school’s entire attendance area falls within a one-mile radius of the school.

Strapped districts spread the burden

As students return to schools throughout the Inland Northwest, they’ll notice changes wrought by budget woes: more kids in the classrooms, athletic games played closer to home, fewer buses, old textbooks. Tyler Pfeffer’s first-period class at Shadle High School on Thursday had 37 students, he said. But district officials say that number won’t stand.

Bears of experience

When Rick Giampietri started his football coaching career, it was a different game. On the national stage in 1969, the National Football League and the American Football League had yet to merge, a move that would happen a year later. Vince Lombardi was beginning his lone season as head coach of Washington, helping the team in the nation’s capital snap a 14-year losing streak by going 7-5-2, but would be dead from colon cancer a year later.

Back to the books

This first day of school is no ordinary one for Freeman School District. The old high school has been largely torn down for an “aggressive modernization,” and high school classes will be meeting in portables across the road next to the elementary school.

BACK TO THE BOOKS

It’s a day usually greeted with either terror or joy – the first day of school. The smell of freshly sharpened pencils and the rustling of fresh paper will soon fill the halls of local schools. Most greater Spokane Valley school districts generally adopt similar schedules, but this year the late Labor Day holiday has caused beginning and ending dates to vary by as much as a week in some cases.

More schools miss feds’ goal

Compared to the previous year, twice as many schools in Spokane Public Schools failed to meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act in 2008-’09, officials announced Friday. Statewide, the number of schools and districts that failed to make “adequate yearly progress” on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning in at least one of 37 categories also rose.

CV approves football fee

The Central Valley school board voted Monday night without discussion to add a $125 fee for middle school boys to play football. The move is part of a pay-to-play plan the district came up with to save the program from cuts. The new fee is in addition to a $26 helmet and uniform fee and the Associated Student Body fee required of all student athletes, which varies by school. Low-income students who qualify for free lunch will only have to pay the $26 uniform fee and the ASB fee. Students who qualify for reduced-price lunch will pay both those fees and a $45 football fee.

Sports travel cut leaves gaps

Central Valley’s decision this week to eliminate out-of-district competition for middle school sports to save an estimated $14,000 in transportation costs may or may not actually save that much money. The $14,000 figure is how much the district spent in the 2008-’09 school year for out-of-district travel, said Superintendent Ben Small. The amount includes gas and bus driver wages since drivers to games in other districts get paid to sit and wait for the game to be over to drive students home.

CV raises activity fees

Middle school football players can expect to pay higher fees to play in the fall in Central Valley and every other middle school sport will be impacted by the school board’s decision Monday night to eliminate all competition outside the district for middle schools. The budget ax finally hit extra curricular activities Monday night, and middle school sports were the hardest hit. All middle school sports will be reduced to eight games. Junior varsity teams will only be allowed to travel only with the varsity team. But the biggest impact will be the decision to cut competition outside the district, a decision that will also impact the East Valley, West Valley and Freeman school districts.

Penchant for service

There must be something in the water in Spokane Valley, something that attracts residents to school boards and keeps them there for decades even after their children are grown and gone. Each of the three boards has a member that has served for more than a decade, with one approaching his third decade. In East Valley, it is June Sine, elected in 1991. In Central Valley, board president Cindy McMullen has served since 1987. And in West Valley, Jim Williams was elected to the board in 1983.

CV, EV superintendents find satisfying first year on job

Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small and East Valley Superintendent John Glenewinkel have a few things in common. They both have had to deal with state-mandated budget cuts in the last few months, they both started their new jobs a year ago and both attend the same Rotary meetings. Glenewinkel is known for his skill with a barbecue and a preference for casual clothes, while Small is known for wearing a suit every day. Though their styles differ, they’re both enjoying their new jobs.