2020 One year ago today

After years of deficit spending and budgetary shortfalls stretching into the tens of millions, the University of Idaho announced it ended fiscal year 2020 with an operating surplus of more than $900,000. In an email sent to UI students, faculty and staff, President Scott Green said the UI ended 2018 and 2019 with $21 million and $19 million in losses respectively. He said the school reversed this trend in a single year by cutting around $22 million in expenditures. Green said while the school has improved its net position by more than $4 million, UI reserve accounts are still well below levels required by the State Board of Education. ... The coronavirus pandemic has affected virtually every aspect of daily life in K-12 schools around the country, and local school counselors say their job has become more necessary than ever but also more difficult as they try to deliver social and emotional support while having less in-person time with students. Aaron Schiffelbein, counselor at McDonald Elementary in Moscow, said with students spending the majority of the school week receiving instruction online, he has had to be adaptable in his methods of reaching students.

2016 Five years ago today

When Lincoln Middle School was reconstructed 12 years ago, the architects and school officials were not projecting the problem the school now has on its hands — too much growth. The school’s principal, Cameron Grow, arrived nine years ago, when LMS had only 430 students and when there were worries about the student population decreasing. Nearly a decade later, the building is nearing capacity, and it may be maxed out within three years. The school was designed with substantial room for growth at the time — enough to accommodate 700 students — but those unused spaces are being taken up quickly, Grow said. ... Two Washington couples — Kent and Elaine Bassett, of Bellevue, Wash., and Ray and Joan Folwell of Pullman — partnered last week to purchase 437 acres of land surrounding Steptoe Butte State Park in an attempt to preserve one of the largest and last known portions of the Palouse Prairie. The group purchased the land, which is believed to include 20 acres of Palouse Prairie, for $638,000. “It’s the largest piece of prairie in Whitman County to date,” Joan Folwell said.

2011 10 years ago today

Enrollment totals have already fallen this year in the Pullman School District, but Superintendent Paul Sturm said the number of students attending classes still is higher than anticipated. “We’re well above our budget,” Sturm said during Wednesday’s School Board meeting. Officials projected an average of 2,215 full time students this year, but Sturm said 2,306 children currently populate the halls of Pullman schools. September’s count of 2,319 students districtwide brings this year’s average enrollment tally to 2,313 — almost 100 more than anticipated.

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