D9 extends superintendent's contract, prepares to RIF 36

Thirty-six District 9 employees will learn this week they are victims of the RIF process (Reduction In Force). This is yet another part of the district’s effort to reduce expenditures for the 2009-10 school year. The process, as explained by Mike Remick, human resource director, was to work with principals and supervisors, meet with Eagle Point Education Association representatives, and finally have principals meet with each person involved as well as sending out official letters. Seniority is the key factor in this process, said Remick, as he explained the process to school board members during last week’s work session. “It is a difficult time,” said Remick, as he explained employees have the right to be recalled for 27 months should openings occur.

Superintendent Cynda Rickert said the notice was being given early in hopes employees could begin searching for jobs before their current position ends. 

Superintendent Rickert’s evaluation was presented. Her evaluation process involved having board members talk with principals, supervisors and directors. The evaluation was based on four characteristics: effective leadership, quality teaching and learning, support for systemwide improvement and clear and collaborative relationships. There were four categories by which each characteristic could be judged: unsatisfactory, basic, proficient and distinguished. The evaluation reflected “distinguished” in every characteristic. Her contract was extended for three years with no increase in salary, which was part of administrator’s effort to contain costs.

While the superintendent received a perfect evaluation according to the overall summary, the administration and board came under verbal attack by five or six  members of the union and community members during the time allotted for comment at the Mar. 11 board meeting.

EPEA Co-President Janean Nodine said trust and respect had been abandoned by the administration. She pointed to losing the principal at each White City school as one example. She said it seems there is a growing pattern of intimidation and with that process Nodine said they can’t move forward. Staff members do not feel safe being involved in a meeting over an issue  in a one on one basis, said Nodine.

She said a representative of Mediation Works came to her class to talk to students on the need to stand up to bullying and intimidation. Nodine said she thought of what she sees happening in the district and said, “you as a board need to step up,” and  concluding by saying she hoped something could change.

An employee at Little Butte School said she had more than one call from the administration over what she feels was a misunderstanding of comments she made regarding a statement made by the district regarding insurance coverage. Apparently the district said employee insurance coverage was better than ever and the employee said that was not her experience.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Biddle and Lt. Larson were recognized as this month’s partners. Biddle is a school resource officer in White City. Effective in July he will become a full-time resource officer at White Mountain Middle School.

Mountain View Elementary fourth grader Ameytzen Rojas and fifth grader Oscar Cervantes were recognized as outstanding students from that school.

During the work session held prior to the board meeting, Tiffany O’Donnell updated the board on the proposed teen center in Shady Cove. She was asked to return with a report once all the financial details were complete.

Bruce Howell, who has been a consultant to develop a process for athletics and activities submitted a report of the progress he made during his 70 days of employment. Howell passed around a notebook, which was turned over to Athletic Director Brian Winter. It  includes details of those items accomplished and the process to be followed for each item. He also showed the board a list of items still to be done.  March 11 was Howell’s last day.

Negotiations are scheduled again on Mar. 18.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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