Hayden School Board relents

Board agrees to accept town's offer on district's land

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The Hayden School Board decided Wednesday night, after months of difficult negotiations for a land swap, more money, or a track and field facility, to accept the Hayden Town Board's offer of $54,600 for the School District's land at the intersection of Breeze Basin Boulevard, Poplar Avenue and Third Street.

The town has been trying to acquire the 1.14-acre parcel of land to realign the intersection of the three streets to make the intersection safer and accommodate increased traffic that will coincide with future developments south of town.

Several School Board members have said the land is highly valuable because all three schools in the district lack land for expansion. They proposed a land swap, which was turned down. They proposed they should get more money from the town to purchase other land. That offer also was turned down. The most recent offer was to give the land to the town in exchange for the construction of a public track and field facility, which also was turned down.

"The School Board wanted to take initiative to stop going back and forth on this," Hayden Schools Superintendent Scott Mader said. "We felt like we needed to get some closure. Everything that was proposed was coming back negatively, and the School Board didn't want it that way.

"We really wanted some land, but it just wasn't working."

School Board President Kurt Frentress said there was "no doubt" coming into the Wednesday night meeting that the School Board would accept the terms.

"I think there could have been a better outcome, but it didn't look like we were going to get it," Frentress said.

The School Board is ready to move on with other projects and continue its quest for a track and field facility, Frentress said.

Besides the $54,600, the Town Board was offering to complete several small tasks on the property, including building a circular drive, cleaning up some topographical issues, and building a chain-link fence. The School Board agreed these tasks should be completed at the same time the intersection improvements are finished, which will be stipulated in the agreement, Mader said.

"We have to make sure everything in the agreement is adjusted properly," Frentress said.

In other business, the School Board adopted the 2003-2004 fiscal year budget.

The beginning fund balance for the fiscal year is set at $580,622, down $11,223 from last year. The ending fund reserve is far down from last year, set at $431,763, down $128,313 from last year.

Reasons for less money in the budget include a 3 percent raise across the board for all teachers for the 2003-2004 fiscal year, as well as a 15 percent increase in liability insurance costs.

The Hayden School Board also:

n Hired Vicki Trousdale to be a middle school teacher

n Hired Wendy Emerson to be a middle school special education teacher

n Hired John Wither to be a middle school math teacher

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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