District 9 vetoes lunch increase, gets $2,000 scholarship

The 1 ½ hour Apr. 13 District 9 Board of Directors work session focused on three primary issues: energy savings, student food prices and superintendent evaluation process.

The board will hear a report from staff at the next regular board of directors meeting and
make a decision on a proposal from Energy Education. Ed Graff, of that firm, provided some background information on their program and gave each board member a comprehensive booklet on their process. Some of the requirements for the program include a part-time employee, training at three national sessions in addition to local training and $6,600 in software plus annual fees. They say they guarantee savings will cover the cost of the program or they will refund the difference.

The federal government Healthy Hungry Free Kids Act (National School Lunch Program) will require school nutrition programs to equalize the difference between the free meal and paid meal reimbursement. It is recommended that schools such as District 9, increase the federal paid meal price by a minimum of 10 percent each.

Currently the reimbursement rate is $2.74 and the minimum lunch should be $2.46. As an example. Lunch at EPHS is $1.95, which is 51 cents below federal requirement.

Later in the evening at the regular board meeting, a vote was taken on increasing prices and the motion was denied with Ted Dole, Jim Mannenbach and Mary Ann Olsen voting not to increase prices. They will revisit the issue by the June meeting.

The third item in the work session was a raised evaluation process for the superintendent.
Board members had been asked to respond with any revisions to a document they had. No one responded prior to the meeting, according to Board Chairman Scott Grissom. But at the work session, Mannenbach said there was a national standard book on evaluating superintendents and expressed interest in its utilization, which included a 360 evaluation (community and staff). Mannenbach said he had brought the information to board members earlier in the year. Olsen said she had never seen the information and asked for it. Mannenbach said he forgot to bring it to the Apr. 13 meeting.

The regular part of the District 9 board meeting began on a very positive note with the introduction of two outstanding fifth grade students from Little Butte School, Ariana Marks and Rylan Austin; and the school’s plant engineer, Jim Bieg (Big).

Ariana was described as one of three of the hardest working students Mr. Christmas has had in his many years of teaching. She is also an exceptionally talented writer.

Rylan is known as “sweet Rylan,” the child everybody wants to claim. She is humble and excels academically.

Mr. Bieg is the school’s custodial super hero. He fixes every problem, even donates bikes to fundraisers. He knows special ways to make the days pleasurable for staff and students. He will be retiring this summer.

Five community members spoke during audience comment time. Comments included the belief that information is withheld from the public, to student concern over the future of sports and the middle schools. There was a request to pull chocolate milk from the school menu and praise for the hard work staff has done on the budget. Track Coach Mike Johnston and his team were thanked for help with “Lend a Hand Day” and positive changes in the district in the last five years were noted.

EPEA (Eagle Point Education Association) representative John Harding said, on behalf of the union, that the district’s projected ending fund balance was a concern and that they want to be sure all funds are being used in the best way.

Business Manager Scott Whitman reported the district is over spending  $1,249,541 this year and as previously outlined that brings that account down to $4.7 million. The second year of the biennium will reduce that fund to approximately $2 million.

Member Mannenbach asked the minutes be withdrawn from the consent calendar for three reasons:
• Mark Bateman asked for, and did not receive, details on RIF.
• Supt. Rickert said she approved a letter.
• False statements made against Mannenbach in a letter received by the board.

Rickert asked for clarification on false statements. Mannenbach said it was a personnel issue and he couldn’t supply the name in open meeting. Rickert immediately called for an executive session at which time the board and administration went into the staff room to hear from Mannenbach.

As the executive session began, Board Chair Scott Grissom asked if Mannenbach was recording the session and Mannenbach pulled a tape recorder out of his shirt pocket. He said he turned the device off at that point.

Back in open session, Mannenbach was asked if started to record executive session and said that was very serious.

Mannenbach asked for a sound recording of the meeting, which he was told he could obtain by bringing in his flash drive.

The motion to make amendments to the minutes was denied 3-2. The motion to approve the minutes as presented passed 3-2. And on a 3-2 vote, the board adopted the process for evaluating the superintendent.

Supt. Rickert asked Bateman and Mannenbach to stay after meeting and set a time with her so they could individually discuss their concerns with her and why they voted no on evaluations and no on her contract.

Mr. Ashmun of Sodexo presented the district’s education foundation (probably D9 Foundation) with a scholarship check for $2,000 to show their support for the students.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent

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