D9 meeting mix of praise, planning and complaints

Two students from White City Elementary and a volunteer were recognized and given framed certificates by the Board of directors, Grandma Doris Mattey, who is a foster grandparent and has volunteered at WCE for 16 years, was recognized . Principal Ginny Walker introduced Randall Pickett and Caitlin Mercado as the honored students. Both are in the fifth grade. Both were recognized as persons of character an integrity, with academic strengths, ethics, and participants.

Also introduced were the two student representatives to the board for this year. Each gave a comprehensive report on high school events. They are Carolina Rigalotta and Austin Marlia. They reported on homecoming activities and  Red Ribbon Week, Oct 26-30. They said a student will be doing turkey baskets for Thanksgiving as a senior project and Skills USA is planning a spaghetti feed sometime in the future.  They also reported that the Leadership Class received a $5,000 grant.

Concern over a change in policy regarding guests at high school dances was expressed by parent Tracy Morgan and two seniors. The policy does not allow a student who is not in EPHS or another school in the valley to attend dances. This precludes students who graduated last year and may be dating a current EPHS student from attending. The two students who spoke had a petition signed by 171 students. They said they could understand not allowing 9th or 10th graders to have a guest who is not a student, but they said many seniors would not be attending the homecoming dance as a result of the policy.

Mrs. Morgan said while Principal Allen Barber stressed the change is for safety, she believes he should talk about safety of the 13-year-old with an 18-year-olds in a car at lunch time.

The board chair suggested Morgan talk to the superintendent following the meeting with regard to the dance policy.

After the contract with Willamette ESD was signed for project management services for a new elementary school, a building needs assessment was held Oct. 8 with the following people: Dave McKay, Willamette ESD, Tina Mondale, School Improvement, Principals Joni Parsons and Lynn Scott, Ken Gruenwald, maintenance, Tom Reimer, transportation, Lydia Tolley, food service, Debi Weth, technology, Randy Struckmeier, business, Mark Bateman, representing the school board.  McKay, Gruenwald and Struckmeier toured Eagle Rock Elementary. Currently drawings and/or plans for Eagle Rock, Glenn D. Hale replacement (Hillside) and Parkside Elementary in Grants Pass
are being reviewed.

The board adopted the Continuous Improvement Plan as presented by Director of School Improvement, Tina Mondale and they approved a board self evaluation process that will be done over the next couple of months through a defined process.

Janean Nodine, Eagle Point Education Association representative, spoke to the board about several concerns.  She said she understood some board members were not aware of issues such as a reduction in some classified hours and contract issues with kitchen staff. She also said the Uniserve consultant was being targeted by some administration and that meetings have even been cancelled when the representative showed up. Nodine requested the administration treat the consultant in a professional manner and reminded the board that teachers are told to be professional. Nodine said the work TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. Are you willing to make District 9 the best it can be? Start now, she told the board.

At the work session Board Chair Scott Grissom addressed fellow board member Jim Mannenbach and an apparent conversation he had with EPEA representatives. “It is a hard transition from teacher to board,” said Grissom. “You need to be more like a general (which he said represented the board) and not get caught up.”

Mannenbach said he would not give up his 1st Amendment rights, would follow board ethics and would  never discuss negotiations or executive session. “I have a right to talk with anyone.” He said he felt as though there were implications in Grissom’s remarks.

Supt. Rickert said if there are concerns or complaints they should be brought to the superintendent to try to resolve. You are a board, she reminded members, and “if your practice is to communicate to the union, you need to talk as a board.”

The board and administrators that normally attend the Oregon School Boards Association meeting in November will not be attending this year. Rickert said it is expensive and the district simply does not have the funds. She pointed out two new board members did attend the new board workshop in the summer, OSBA representatives recently met with the board and they would be in the valley for a dinner meeting to talk about legislative issues.

The Oct. 28 work session has been moved to Nov. 4 and it will be at 5 p.m.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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