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By John Dowd 

School moves ahead with NHS trip plans


April 15, 2021

The Thompson Falls School Board approved a National Honor Society senior trip this year. The group still has around $16,000 from last year and 19 non-refundable airline tickets. Last year’s trip was supposed to be to Washington, D.C., in March, but because of COVID-19 the trip was canceled. Of the 16 students in the group in the spring of 2020, six graduated. Unfortunately, those seniors will not be able to participate in the trip, according to Jodi Morgan, the high school counselor.

“It’s disappointing and I feel terrible for those kids,” said Morgan, “they all worked so hard.” As part of the school policy, since those youths are no longer students at the school, they cannot participate in school trips. Additionally, they cannot be given the money that they helped raise. According to Superintendent Bud Scully, it would be considered a “gift of public funds,” which the school is not allowed to do. The money they raised is part of a school program and goes into the school, and cannot be used outside of the institution, as he explained.

This year, the group plans to take their trip to San Diego, California. The D.C. trip last year would have been a six-day trip, whereas the trip this year will only be a three-day excursion. The Thompson Falls National Honor Society plans to use those non-refundable airline tickets for this year’s senior trip, scheduled for the first week of May.

As part of their yearly turnover, the board approved the rehire of all tenured teachers. Scully said that next month the board will be asked to do the same with the non-tenured teachers, or those who have not been employees of the school for over three years.

The board also elected to terminate the employment of a probationary custodian with cause and to increase their internet from 100Mb to 1Gb. This means an increase of about 10 times the internet capacity. Scott McKenzie, the district’s technology coordinator, explained it increases the bandwidth at the district, meaning more devices will be able to connect through the school.

“We have been adding devices for the last few years, and we are over capacity,” said McKenzie. He continued that these devices are currently taxing the bandwidth past what it can handle at the moment. The increase will happen over the summer, and will cost around $1,200 for installation. The monthly cost for the improved internet will be around $4,000, however, through government subsidies based on the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches, the cost will be covered up to 80%. According to McKenzie, this means that the school will only be paying about $800 per month.


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