Oroville School Board discusses district goals, budget cuts

Connor Thompson took the oath of office as student representative to the Oroville School Board. The oath was delivered by Steve Quick, the Superintendent of the Oroville School District. In his non-voting position Thompson will be expected to report on st

Connor Thompson took the oath of office as student representative to the Oroville School Board. The oath was delivered by Steve Quick, the Superintendent of the Oroville School District. In his non-voting position Thompson will be expected to report on st

OROVILLE – The Oroville School Board adopted seven goals for the 2010-2011 school year, as well as heard a report about the potential for additional state cuts to district funding.

The seven goals the board approved were:

1) Support students and staff by ensuring policies, procedures and decisions supporting student learning and achievement.

Make adequate yearly progress in reading, writing and other indicators for AYP while meeting or exceeding the state average at each grade level in both reading and math.

2) Complete a multi-year District Comprehensive Strategic Plan.

3) Develop a plan to reach out to home school students and students who have dropped out of school.

4) Create and implement a district communication plan to improve communication with students, staff, parents and patrons.

5) Develop a plan to share with the community the goals and objectives of a bond for the purpose of remodeling the elementary school, bus garage, other facilities as deemed appropriate.

6) Work toward achieving the WSSDA’s board standards.

Steve Quick, Oroville’s School District Superintendent, delivered the oath of office to Connor Thompson as Student Representative to the school board. In his non-voting capacity, Thompson will bring student issues to the board and is asked to report to the students on board decisions. Thompson is the son of Scott and Nancy Thompson.

The board heard principal’s reports from Elementary School Principal Gary Pringle and Junior-Senior High School Principal Patricia Scott.

After reporting he had a fun time at his first “Teddy Bear Tea” Principal Pringle gave a presentation with graphs showing the elementary school’s student scores in reading, math and science. In most cases the students in past years have shown consistently high scores in reading compared to other students in the state. However, the scores for math and science have generally lagged behind.

“Comparing Oroville Schools with the state are we closing the gap?” Pringle asked. “

He said that the fourth graders had closed the gap a bit in math after going into the fifth grade and that students had exceeded the state in reading in the fourth grade and writing in the sixth grade.

Pringle then went over an action plan to increase student scores in the future.

“I want to caution you to remember that behind these numbers are kids,” he concluded. “Not everyone moves at the same pace.”

Principal Scott also looked back at past years, going back to the fourth grade for her current crop of junior high and high school students.

“Obviously we’ve improved in reading and writing, but math is not consistent, that’s an abysmal score,” she said, looking at the class of 2012.

She said the class of 2014 was better in math, but there were still some inconsistencies, as well as some inconsistencies in reading.

“It is obvious that we are still benefiting from the reading emphasis from the grade school. However, we need to focus on math and go back and ensure we have the skills to do algebra in high school,” she said, adding that the district needed to make sure that the students had the readings and science skills to get them ready for college and careers.

Shay Shaw, district financial manager, reported that as of the first official count, enrollment was at 35 students higher than the 566 FTEs the district budgeted for. This means the district is eligible for more state basic education dollars than was used to make the budget for this year.

“We only dropped like six something students all year last year which is unheard of,” said Shaw.

Shaw warned the board that as of Oct. 1 the state was going to make a 6.3 percent across the board cuts.

“I’m not sure yet how that will affect schools,” she said. “They’ve talked about cutting the levy equalization money, but that won’t affect us as we don’t get any. However, I think it is wrong for schools who do not have enough valuation. Others think they will cut 6.3 percent in all funding, but the formula says the legislature can’t do that to schools. Others say they might cut the K-4 Enhancement funding and that’s where we’d see a change.”

Shaw said that if the K-4 enhancement was cut then the difference to Oroville would be the equivalent of 1.187 teachers, or about $72,000 including benefits.

“It is a good thing our enrollment is up, but it has to stay there to not feel it if the state cuts the K-4 Enhancement.”

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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