District 9 hears good news-bad news on financial front

Dr. Dan Zaklan is once again filling the position of business manager on an interim basis and with his return came with good news-bad news on the district’s financial picture, which he presented during the 5 p.m. workshop.

The “good” news, said Zaklan, is that it appears District 9 will be “okay” financially this year. Zaklan said he finds the district in relatively good shape because the staff has been very good about following their budget, carryover will help see the district through next year and  there is the building insurance money. He said District 9 is better off than many of the neighboring districts because they have been pro-active and diligent in their cost saving program.

Zaklan  cautioned financial concerns will increase necessarily as early as 2011-2013 biennium. As he presented information from the governor’s State of the State speech and from state budget projections, he urged expenditure restraint.

State budget projections show the state will have a shortfall of $2.3 billion in the 2011-2013 biennium; followed by a $1.7 billion shortfall in 2013-15 and $1.6 billion the following biennium.

In the immediate future, about $200,000 will be needed this year for textbook adoption and  the main high school gym floor needs fixing.

Looking a short way down the road, PERS cost will see a dramatic increase in 2011-2013 while stimulus dollars will disappear. The district lost 60 students this year and the state projections indicate a similar loss next year. That is at least a $360,000 reduction. The loss comes from the economics where homes are in foreclosure, families have to move, charter schools and on-line education. The district is gaining momentum with their on-line school and hopes to see continued growth in that program.

Zaklan said there are 11 heating-air conditioning units in the district that need to be replaced and the high school needs a new roof. He reminded the board of the recent Medford school bond which was so expensive because of a lack of continued maintenance and urged the board of directors to not ignore measures to prolong the life of the district’s buildings.

Zaklan talked about the dollar amount for the proposed new elementary school and the difference between money in the bank and projected costs of the structure. He said in discussion with the Willamette ESD who has been hired to oversee the project, there appears to be money available at zero interest for 15 years. But, it would cost the district $400,000 a year to pay it back and he said he could not advise taking that leap. During the formal board meeting, Zaklan said it was important to find a solution for the Little Butte students but recommended the board and administration re-look at their options. He quickly mentioned adding to the current old junior high, now being called “Outback” or  perhaps adding on to one of the newer schools, or re-grouping. 

During the work session, Superintendent Rickert advised the school board members that board member Jim Mannenbach has filed a complaint with the district as a community member requesting an investigation of three standards from the annual Division 22 Standards and Assurance report.  The board approved the district’s report at the Jan. 13 meeting. “However, it was clear at that time that two board members had concerns,” said Rickert. She presented a date-by-date report on correspondence with Mannenbach since that time.

On Apr. 6 Mannenbach filed the complaint on three standards: Class size, guidance and counseling and media programs.

The next step will be the appointment of a committee for each of the complaints. The six-member committee will include ,according to board policy; the superintendent, an administrator, a board member, a lay person, appropriate content area specialist, coordinator or director and the curriculum director in charge of standards. The lay person and board member will be appointed by the board chair.

The cost and time involved in this process will also be reported to the board of directors. A tentative date to report findings to the board is May 12.

Paul Cataldo, who will be the new principal at White Mountain Middle School next year, was introduced. He is currently principal at Hedrick Middle School in Medford. He previously served as a vice-principal at EPHS. 

Volunteer Judy Best from Elk Trail and Dorris Dadey from Shady Cove were recognized for their outstanding contribution. Student recognition for Shady Cove was tabled because of parent conferences.

EPHS Junior Amanda Matchett, student representative to the school board, highlighted many upcoming activities at the high school starting with Prom coronation on Apr. 19 and the FFA banquet on Apr. 21.

Carrie Beebe, of the Boys & Girls Club, was introduced and invited everyone to the ribbon cutting Apr. 21 4-6:30 p.m. at “The Club” in Shady Cove. Both the Medford and Eagle Point-Upper Rogue Chamber of Commerce will participate.

A few words in the handbook policy were presented for revision, giving the superintendent the ability to make changes in it without the entire book coming before the board.  It was approved 3-2 with Mannenbach and Mark Bateman voting no.

The board on a 5-0 vote approved extending the lease on Upper Rogue Community Center property through March 31, 2015. This will allow them to start on their expansion. The URCC 20,000 gal. water storage tank will be hooked to the district’s tank with water availability from it for the district should the district’s well go dry. URCC has first refusal on the land, which the district owns, should it ever decide to sell it.

A water line through district property  for 10 houses in Whispering Pines was tabled until the contract is reviewed.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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