At a second community forum in the White City Elementary School gym, District Operations Manager Scot Whitman outlined the budget situation for D9. He said that about 85% of the funding comes from the state and from taxes. PERS (Public Employee Retirement System) increases will account for major upward adjustments next year, but there is a strong possibility that reform will lower those costs. Whitman also happily reported that the state would likely supply more money than originally anticipated, allowing the district to closely approach a sustainable budget.
Dr. Tina Mondale, Director of School Improvement presented the new grading system, which utilizes proficiency measurements and Common Core State Standards, the latter in place across much of the nation. More information will be available to parents in the fall.
There were fewer audience comments this month, allowing Board members to chat with members of the audience before the regular meeting started. Throughout the room student artwork decorated the walls. The pictures, some creative art and some illustrating science and math projects, showed talent and solid thinking on the part of the students.
Teacher Wynn Wilson heralded his fifth-grader Erik Flores as the outstanding Mountain View Elementary School student. Erik is a likeable kid, intelligent, and a strong athlete. And a reader. Through the Reading Country program, he has logged nearly 750,000 words so far this year.
White City Elementary third-grade teacher Mrs. Geiger presented Maribel Ayala as a sweet, helpful student who always does her best, and one who does extra research at home to share with her class. Mrs. Thompson, first-grade teacher, chose Joaquin Borrayo as a young man who defines safe, respectful and responsible, a hard worker eager to please. Amy Maukonen, Special Ed teacher, received kudos for her enthusiasm and diligence as she tracks her 33 highly diverse students throughout the day. She identifies their unique needs and leads them to achievement.
Valerie Cordle has stepped in as interim principal at Mountain View, and received high praise for the job she is doing; for her poise and being readily available to all, teachers and students alike.
During the Public Forum (during which the Board makes no response nor takes any action), Brian Saling spoke to the lack of collaboration on the part of the Board. He likened the superintendent to the Board’s captain, with the directors acting as the compass. He encouraged the Board to work together, to guide “our ship” in a wise and cooperative manner. He closed by saying, “It’s been painful to watch.”
Student Representatives Micaela Saling and Hunter Hoeptner reported on high school events. Spring Spirit Week is in progress, concluding with an Airband assembly Friday. Both baseball and softball started their seasons with wins. SkillsUSA held their annual dessert auction—a success, and the Honor Society launched a new Lunch Buddy Program with Eagle Rock, giving members an opportunity for community service while spending time with younger students.
EPHS will offer an SAT preparation course in May, prior to the June 1st test. Sponsored by SOU, the course is designed to help students learn about the test, and strategies for navigating the process. There will be a cost, but well worth it for the added assistance with college entrance.
Superintendent Cynda Rickert gave her report, and among last month’s activities were: budget planning, mentoring aspiring leaders, Thursday site visitations and administrative focus walks to support teaching and learning, follow-up phone calls from the Board’s last Public Forum, and a phone conference with Southern Oregon legislators.
Appropriate revisions had been made to the Board Policy Reimbursable School Meals and Milk Programs, aiming at more healthy options, and the revisions were approved.
Eagle Point Employees Association Representative, Rick Taylor, was unavailable for the meeting, but Allen Barber said the two of them had met, a good, positive meeting.
The Board voted to not re-table the bus purchase motion from last month, and to accept the “Superintendent’s recommendation for the 2013-14 renewal and non-renewal of probationary teachers and administrators and for extension of contracts to contract teachers, administrators and supervisors.”
One of the final agenda items for the evening was the Superintendent’s contract renewal. Board member Mark Bateman felt the contract should not be renewed based on what he called wasteful spending on projects, and the pending action and lawsuit. Member Jim Mannenbach agreed with the latter item, taking a wait-and-see stance. He questioned district-covered legal fees and the terms under which a superintendent can miss a Board meeting. After brief discussion, the resolution passed by majority vote. The contract runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2016.
The Board approved the 2013-14 School Year calendar, and it was pointed out that D9 is the only district in Southern Oregon with no furlough days—a shortened school year. The Board also approved to award the EPHS Mechanical Upgrade Project contract to Vitus Construction and the EPHS Controls Upgrade Project contract Johnson Controls, as presented.
In a slot allotted to Board Acknowledgements, Doug McKenzie praised the Board for its fine work, and Board Member Mannenbach praised the teachers for theirs.
April’s meeting will be at Hillside Elementary School in Eagle Point, with a final community forum regarding next year’s budget and the new grading system. That meeting starts at 5:00, open to everyone.