Nampa School District prepares for new school year

NAMPA, Idaho (KBOI) - The Nampa School District is interviewing prospective teachers, trying to fill the 150 positions left open across the district.

With school back in session August 20, the district is running out of time.

While students are off enjoying their summer, the district is hard at work dealing with the fallout of a multi-million dollar deficit. This outstanding debt has left the district with ongoing contract negotiations, and furlough days for some teachers.

When summer started, the district needed to hire more than 150 new employees before August. Most of those open positions are for teachers. KBOI tried to find out how many teachers the district had hired as of mid-July, but was told the district didn't have the numbers available yet.

District leaders did say they aren't worried about falling short of that number, and said they've already hired a number of new candidates. Some come from other school districts in Idaho, others are from out of state.

Teachers in the district also will have to deal with furlough days. Heated teacher negotiations have landed some teachers with 14 unpaid work days. However, our partners at the Idaho Press Tribune reported that if teachers make less than $31,750 annually, they will be exempt from the furloughs.

"We have a protected minimum salary in the district so for a group of our employees, about 28 percent of those who currently work for us, go below that so they won't be impacted by the furlough days next year," said Allison Westfall, spokeswoman for the Nampa School District

With new hires being added to that number, the percentage of exempt employees will jump to between 45-50%. Still, the district says furlough days will save it $2.2 million.

"That was included in our calculations so that doesn't decrease the savings," Westfall said. "It's right where we expected it to be

Those savings will go toward pulling the district out of a $5 million deficit. Westfall says they expect to stay within the budget this year.

"We do expect to start the school year with a deficit, but we do expect to have some revenue coming in: a one-time levy, and a property sale that will help reduce that deficit," Westfall said. "So to avoid future deficits we need to bring our spending into line."