The ongoing saga regarding concerns of students’ safety and their transport between the Ballard Middle School and the Huxley Library has been resolved. The topic was originally brought forward to the Ballard Board of Education last fall by members of the community.
Huxley City Council met via conference call Tuesday, March 24, and agreed to terms with the Ballard Community School District on a document which was drafted by a task force consisting of school board members, library board members and city council members.
Under terms of the agreement, the Ballard school district will pay the city of Huxley $77,000 for the 2020-21 fiscal year (as originally planned through the 28E agreement) and will step that amount down proportionally for the next three years until the city is fully responsible for the funding of the library.
The 28E agreement was established in 2001 between the city and the school district for shared use of the library and recreation center. The recreation center portion of the agreement dissolved when the new high school was opened. The following is an excerpt of the agreement, which discussed the need for both parties to move different directions:
“The City of Huxley and the district need to move to a working model where each entity is responsible for paying its own personnel and upkeeping its own facilities, as the current agreement does not reflect long term fiscal sustainability for either entity.”
To satisfy the safety concerns that have been raised by members of the community, the district will hire a staff member to escort students back and forth between the middle school and library, and provide supervision of students while they are in the library. The school district will be responsible for the training of this individual and will let the city know whom they have chosen and what their schedule will be. The city will reimburse the school district for costs of the employee in the amount of $22,000.
The language of the resolution indicates a mutual long-term split of the original 28E agreement, where the city will ultimately take on the sole responsibility for the funding of the library and its staff over the next three years. The resolution that was approved by council runs through June 30, 2021. It is unknown at this time what the middle school will do for library service beyond that, but it is likely that the district will begin plans for its own library within the walls of the middle school.