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Blaine County School District constructs their own solutions

Posted at 8:20 PM, Dec 06, 2023

HAILEY, Idaho — BCSD employees have struggled to find housing, which resulted in missed opportunities. The district has gotten creative with finding solutions!

  • WRHS's construction academy is helping construct housing to supplement the housing crisis.
  • Superintendent Jim Foudy has prioritized housing to ensure it doesn't become a long-term problem.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Next door to Blaine County School District's district office, where high housing costs have been impacting their hiring efforts, four units will soon house staff.

Superintendent Jim Foudy says, "The district has struggled to hire employees at times."

The housing market negated their efforts to fill open positions in February after offering a job to their first-choice candidate by March, who couldn't afford to accept the position.

By the time the district made an offer to their second choice, the second choice had already accepted another job.

But recently, they've been more successful.

Kandy Blackburn of Human Resources explained, "We've been very fortunate in this area to have community members reach out to us first with rental opportunities so we can connect any of our new staff coming in that can't secure housing. [Offering to us] first, before they open it up to the rest of the community."

This gives teachers an advantage, but it's only possible with community collaboration.

The lack of affordable housing is a problem district officials want to solve now - before they're faced with even more staffing issues.

"Blaine County School District has a vested interest to establish workforce housing to attract and retain staff. Many of our staff are nearing the age where they are eligible for retirement and we're going to have a lot of vacancies to fill" explained Foudy.

The district has gotten creative with how they are finding solutions. The four units under construction for a quadplex are being funded by Advocates for Real Community Housing.

Foudy elaborated, "This project wouldn't be possible without the support of the ARCH Foundation. It is a unique structure. The way it works is ARCH is responsible for building the improvement to the land."

However, one family unit, already built by Wood River High's construction academy, has started to change the model. This shift will allow them to supplement the single-family home and two other smaller units that are in the plans.

Shawn Bennion, the Director of Buildings and Grounds for BCSD, explained the impact this has on students. "This allows them to get their feet wet and get introduced to all the different trades. And then have the opportunity to go and pick what trade they prefer and have successful careers in that," said Bennion.

This creative solution provides a phenomenal opportunity for students to learn practical lessons they can apply to their future, whether they choose to become an engineer, electrician, or a renter or homeowner.