District 9 approves health center

EPHS was the school honored at last week’s board meeting. Principal Allen Barber introduced two students: Gabriela Hernandez and Jeremy Burke. Gabriela has a 3.78 g.p.a. She currently has 25 ½ high school credits and 53 SOU/RCC credits and by the end of the year, she expects to have 73 college credits. She is interested in electronics. Jeremy is a 4.0 student and also has 25 ½ high school credits as well as 76 college credits. By the time he graduates he expects to have 96 credits. He wants to earn a doctorate in computer engineering.

Usually the principal of the school being honored selects one staff member for special recognition. Barber not only selected two staff members, he surprised them. Those staff members were Theresa Leonardo and Rebecca Mealy. Leonardo is in charge of 14 people in the Eagle Center and Mealy is the one that keeps the athletic department ready and organized.

A number of students and members of the student health center advisory board were present to hear the discussion on the proposed health center. Jim Mannenbach inquired about the cost, which will be $20,000. He had another question or two and then said he was sure because the area is very conservative, there would be concerns regarding how the center handles abortion, birth control and counseling issues. Peg Crowley, CEO of the  three Community Health Centers in Jackson County, said if the center write a formal referral they are obligated to share with the parents.

A motion was made to approve the center. Board member Mary Ann Olson said she had been the board representative to the advisory committee and was extremely impressed and thought the center would cut down on communicable diseases.

Mannenbach said he thought the committee had done a great job, that it would be great for treating illness and reduce school days missed. He said he had some concerns but believed it was headed n the right direction.

The motion passed 3-2, with Mannenbach and Bateman voting no.

Following passage of the motion for the health center, several students and advisory members talked about what they believe the center will do for the students.

Criteria for the annual evaluation of the superintendent was discussed. It was finally approved 3-2 with Bateman and Mannenbach voting no. 

Last year the district received a $275,000 grant that has been used for middle school math improvement. Amy Isaacson, who is the full-time coach, made a presentation to the board. She explained that the next generation learns differently and that educators need to be able to meet their needs. Isaacson said the enthusiasm of the staff and their willingness to learn and give has been amazing. She said teachers spent a total of eight days in Portland training on their own time, gave up three holidays and seven days in the summer. With the computer programs, students can communicate with teachers after hours and in the evening and they can work with one another on math problems.

She invited the board to visit one of the classrooms. Isaacson said she believes District 9 has more technology in their schools than any school in the valley. She also noted the Oregon Department of Education and teachers from Klamath Falls will visit the program on Jan. 18.

Business Manager Scott Whitman gave a presentation on the development of a sustainable budget. Supt. Rickert, Whitman and the rest of the administrative team have been to all of the schools in District 9 to explain the funding issues today and what it appears to be for tomorrow.

Most of his report can be seen in the District 9 Newsletter in this issue.

Whitman and Rickert praised the district personnel for keeping a very tight rein on expenses. Thus far, District 9 has not cut days, whereas most other districts have had to do this.

In addition to the information presented in the district newsletter, Whitman discussed support services and the major capital improvement needs.

Support services make up 40 % of the General Fund budget while instruction is 56 %. He provided a calendar showing the cost per day to run the district. That estimate is $109,336.

Capital needs are pressing. Whitman provided a list of the most critical needs as follows:

Boilers, Heating-Air Conditioning- EPHS- $295,000, District office- $70,000, White City Elementary- $85,000.             
Roofing- EPHS $2-3 million -This was described as the #1 issue by Ken Gruenwald, maintenance supervisor; WC Elementary- $600,000 and Shady Cove- $55,000.

Infrastructure-EPHS paving- $450,000, Mountain View paving- $300,000, EPHS field upgrade- $80,000.

Phone upgrade to VOIP-Majority E-Rate funded, requires about $70,000 from General Fund.

Software & systems- Time clock system- $100,000, Financial PR/HR- $2-$300,000.

Student Info system- $75,000, Hardware & Network upgrades- $165,000, Servers- $30,000 per year.

Transportation-Current fleet includes 43 busses, average age is 13 ½ years, with an average of 163,000 mi. per bus. Generally busses last up to 15 years and 200,000 miles. Federal standards say the fleet must meet 2007 diesel emission standard by 2017. Currently three busses meet that standard. The district needs to replace 4-5 busses per year to meet standard (including age and mileage issues). Cost per bus is $95,000 to $115,000.

These are some of the most pressing budget issues that the budget committee will be facing.

The agenda had been re-configured because Ted Dole had to leave the meeting early. This actually put approval of the consent agenda at the end of the meeting. Bateman asked that the minutes be removed. On a 4-0 vote, the consent agenda was approved without the minutes. Chairman Scott Grissom said they would place the minutes on the next agenda.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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