Student enrollment up at Oroville schools

Oroville School Superintendent Steve Quick presents a plaque of appreciation to Jane Lynch for her 41 years of service to the Oroville School District. Lynch recently retired as a school bus driver. Photo by Gary DeVon

Oroville School Superintendent Steve Quick presents a plaque of appreciation to Jane Lynch for her 41 years of service to the Oroville School District. Lynch recently retired as a school bus driver. Photo by Gary DeVon

OROVILLE – The number of students attending Oroville schools has increased and so much so in the Kindergarten that the district is hiring a third teacher.

“Enrollment is actually up somewhat and that’s great news, the downside is some classrooms are starting to bulge,” reported Superintendent Steve Quick at the Monday, Sept. 26 meeting of the Oroville School Board.

Supt. Quick went on to tell the board enrollment was 643.55 FTEs, or Full Time Equivalents. The board built the 2011-12 budget for the district based on 600 students, which means the district should be receiving more basic education funding from the state than budgeted for which is the “great news” Quick was referring to. Enrollment has to hold through October though for the increase to affect the state funding, according to the superintendent.

“There are currently 61 Kindergarteners. We actually are posting tomorrow for a new Kindergarten teacher. We have 30 kids now in each class with a teacher. I haven’t personally had a parent complain, but we can’t go too much longer with those numbers.”

The Oroville Elementary Building is due for some remodeling and the board and district staff are trying to determine how to finance the work, especially during the current economic downturn.

Quick said he attended a recent bond conference and received some great information about bonds and levies and how to run levies while seeking a bond at the same time.

“Some other good news is the district got a $100,000 urgent repair grant for roof repair. It won’t do the whole roof, but it is a good start,” Quick said.

The superintendent also reported he had plans to meet with Oroville Education Association (OEA) negotiators to see if the district can’t get this year’s teacher’s contracts signed.

Quick then presented a slideshow with graphs comparing student progress in certain mandatory state testing. The graphs compared students in various grades as well as tracking the different classes as they tested over the years. Other graphs compared Oroville students with other areas schools, as well as the state average.

“Our kids are very similar to other kids up and down the valley,” said Quick. “One of the biggest predictors of progress is the economic conditions of the family. The Methow Valley runs near the highest. Tonasket is having some of the same challenges as Oroville throughout the elementary school. Similar students, similar backgrounds.”

In her report, Elementary School Principal Joan Hoehn said the district was doing screenings to identify Kindergarten student’s strengths.

“The first grade and transition went to the fair and had a great time,” said Hoehn. “And the fifth and sixth grade band had 94 students turn out. The band is asking people for donations of instruments… we have also ordered instrument booklets.”

On Oct. 3 the HOSTS – Help One Student to Succeed – reading mentor program begins at the elementary school, said Hoehn and on Oct. 4, 5 and 6 the elementary school will host author Gordon Foreman who has written 15 children’s books. Later in the month, on Oct. 26, the Oroville PTO will be sponsoring a visit of the Reptile Man to the elementary school, said the principal.

High School Principal Kristin Sarmiento reported the start of the school year was a busy one with the football team playing in the Emerald City Kickoff Classic in Seattle.

“Oroville had a bigger crowd of fans than the opponents who live there,” said Sarmiento.

The principal also reported on the visit of the Turkish exchange students who had gone back home and the Dominican exchange students who were visiting the district now. The kids from the Dominican Republic helped with Streetscape, according to Sarmiento.

“Our cross country is doing especially well, especially the girls,” she said, adding, “We have a really active FFA and they participated in the fair.”

She also reported that Oroville will be sending representatives to the Washington Student Council in Yakima, that there are lots of Senior Projects beginning and that the “O” Club was doing a fundraiser.

Under public comments Jessie Rise asked the board to work on a way to make it easier for the handicapped to watch the football games without having to travel all the way around the field to the west side.

“I am curious if the board policy was followed in the hiring of Dawn Miller,” asked Kristie McKinney. “I asked for a job description and wasn’t given one.”

Miller was hired to work with the building secretaries for 30 work days as an administrative secretary supervisor “with the intent of improving employee performance work efficiency,” according to Supt. Quick who placed the hiring on the boards’ agenda for the Sept. 26 meeting.

The next meeting of the Oroville School Board will be Monday, Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. at the district office located at 816 Juniper Street.

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 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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