MOSS Information

Moss Gear List

If you have questions regarding what your student should bring to MOSS, when and where to drop them off or pick them up, or how to handle special medical needs, please see the link above. If you still have questions please contact the MMS Office.

Dear Parents of Sixth Grade Students,

I know that we are still in the middle of first quarter, but the school year is moving fast. The McCall Outdoor Science Camp is scheduled for this Spring and we want to get you and your student(s) ready.

This is an awesome opportunity for our sixth grade students. During the trip students will learn about and study ecosystems, weather, atmosphere, and the impact of fire on our forests. The camp is designed to meet the educational abilities and interests of sixth grade students. All activities are aligned with state standards in science, math and technology.

Moscow School District has partnered with the University of Idaho to continue with MOSS. A fund has been established through the UI Foundation that makes the cost of getting to and attending MOSS less expensive after taxes than in previous years when parents paid the tuition directly to the school district. The up-front cost is $290. However, up to 50% of a donation to an educational fund like the one set up for MOSS through the U of I is eligible for a tax credit applied to 2015 or 2016 Idaho state taxes, and all filers are eligible. Those who itemize deductions on Federal tax returns can realize even more savings.

What we need you to do

If you want your 6th Grade Student to attend, please ENROLL your student(s) for McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS). While this activity is part of the school curriculum open to all sixth graders, those who plan to participate need to register with the program. The deadline is FRIDAY, March 11th, 2016. This allows the Middle School to know how many students plan on attending to design transportation and staffing needs. We ask that everyone go to the M.O.S.S. website to complete the online Student Enrollment Survey for your child. It is located at, click on K12 Residential programs and fill out the Enrollmentsection. At the end of the enrollment section please select Moscow Middle School.

Is this is a pay to participate program?

No. MMS would like all sixth graders to participate in MOSS to get the most out of the science curriculum offered. Families are asked to contribute to the costs for the whole grade to attend just as they have been in previous years.

A brief history on covering MOSS trip costs…

In previous years, families were asked to contribute to cover the cost of the MOSS tuition (instruction, room and board for 5 days) and the district covered the cost of transportation to McCall and the personnel costs needed beyond the usual (i.e. substitute nurse if district nurse needed to go.) In 2013-2014 the district faced further cuts from the state and needed to eliminate the $31,000+ in transportation costs from its budget. In order to continue the program, those expenses needed to be included in the per student cost.

Can you explain the tax benefits to me?

Best for a tax accountant to do that but here's the general guidance. The expenses for MMS sixth graders to attend a week at MOSS are being paid for from a University of Idaho Foundation fund set up for this specific educational program. There are two potential tax benefits for contributing to the fund:

  1. Contributions to the UI Foundation are eligible for the Idaho Education Tax Credit which is 50% of the gift. Tax credits directly lower your State of Idaho tax bill. For example, if your 2014 taxes owed were $1,000 and withholdings from your paychecks were $900, then you would owe $100 in taxes. However, if you contributed$290 to the MOSS-MSD#281 fund and applied the $145(50% of $290) Idaho Education tax credit, then you would get a refund of $45 from the state.
  2. Some taxpayers subtract, or deduct, qualifying expenses from their income which then isn't taxed. The donations to the MOSS-MSD#281 fund qualify as tax-deductible. If you have enough of these deductions (more than the “standard deduction”) then you can itemize your donation and not pay taxes on it. This works for both Federal tax returns and State tax returns.

After taxes, most families who donate for one student to attend MOSS will be “paying” less this year than what families paid in 2012 or 2013.

My accountant told me that we cannot receive the tax benefit because my payment is for my student which is a direct benefit.

There are no “payments” for MOSS this year. Families are asked to contribute to a charitable foundation fund for the entire sixth grade class to be able to attend MOSS. All contributions for which the University of Idaho Foundation has a mailing address will be acknowledged with receipts. Since the first question anyone would ask is “how much is it for one student to attend?” we divided the total costs (just under $50,000) by the number of expected attendees and have requested that families aim to contribute that amount ($290) since they're our biggest group of potential donors.

What if I cannot pay the suggested contribution amount?

The “cash out of pocket” needed to make a $290 contribution is not trivial. There are a couple of ways to smooth that out so that it doesn't sink your own budget this month.

  1. Make a pledge of recurring payments through the end of the year. Arrange this by calling the UI Office of Gift Administration at (208) 885-2081 or make an online contribution at Search for the fund named “MOSS-Moscow School District #281.” Under “Options” for the gift amount choose “Monthly” until “End of Year.” For example, a monthly gift of $72.50 in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec will send one student. If recurring payments are made in Oct/Nov/Dec, then the contribution is $110 to meet the one-student amount.
  2. Participate in the fundraising efforts dedicated to the sixth graders going to MOSS. Look for more information info sheets in the coming weeks.

The hope is that every family will contribute to the MOSS-MSD#281 fund in a way that works for them. Otherwise, the burden and responsibility of paying for MOSS will then fall to those who are trying to keep the program as part of the science curriculum through extended fundraising.

What happens if we do not raise the money needed to send this group of 6th graders?

The financial burden ends up with Moscow Middle School which is why they needed very committed parental support to go forward with the program this year. If the costs for MOSS are not met this year, at least three things will happen:

  1. MMS will have to pay the bills out of its building budget by cutting out budgeted programs and services and putting at risk being able to meet certain state and federal requirements.
  2. The MMS Parent Support Team will continue fundraising in an effort to replenish the building budget funds.
  3. MOSS will not be an option for MMS to include in its 6th grade science education next year or in future years.

Why all the fundraising?

Before the sixth grade move to MMS, MOSS fundraising happened at the elementary schools. Participation in those fundraisers was typically by all grades (K-6) at walk-a-thons, school store, school-wide sales fundraisers, etc. What used to occur on the elementary level needs to continue there, especially by fifth graders, but the middle school also now is a major participant.

What can I do to help?

  • Help your student with their fundraising.
  • Participate in fundraising activities. A schedule will be available soon.
  • Ask Idaho relatives if they would consider making a contribution to the UI Foundation MOSS-MSD#281 fund and taking advantage of the tax benefits.
  • Write a grant (with help from [email protected])
  • Ask a business for a cash donation to the fund.
  • Volunteer as a chaperone and see why MOSS is special.

All students will be divided between two different weeks.

Your child's week for the camp is:

A - Lynn is April 25th through April 29th

Lyon - Z is May 2nd through May 6th

Students are divided into gender specific cabins and then into mixed learning groups for activities. Each cabin and group will have a chaperone.

Due to size constraints, we are only able to accommodate 98 people per week including chaperones, students and school staff. If you are interested in chaperoning please contact Erik Hudelson at [email protected] or 208-882-3577. Please do not register online as a chaperone until notified.

Kevin Hill
Moscow Middle School Principal
[email protected]