Tonasket Schools approve 2013-14 contracts

TONASKET – The Tonasket School board approved its employee contracts for the 2013-14 school year at its Monday, May 13 meeting.

Approved were groups of contracts for certified, classified, administrative and supplemental employees.

Superintendent Paul Turner said that there were few changes from last year.

The biggest potential staffing issue is related to cuts in Title I funding due to sequestration.

“In the middle school we have one retirement,” he said. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern because we’re losing so much in sequestration from Title I that we may need to shift a staff member from the high school down to the middle school.

“So, we’re hanging there, but I’m going to have to make a decision soon, and we may have to do that before we here from the legislature (on state funding levels). We could put it off and wait, but it’s a tough nut to crack. We could cause some consternation, but then have the funding come back and change it back. We have until June 14, but I want to make a decision by May 15.”

“One thing we haven’t talked about is if we want to … change the amount we hold in reserve,” said board member Catherine Stangland. “If we decide to change that (from the current five percent), how would it affect offering all of the same positions?”

“It would drastically affect the intent for this fall,” Turner said. “I’m looking at maintaining around $700,000. I’m hoping that if we’re going to adjust that minumum balance, that I have a year to play and get there. It’s a bit late in the game.”

“I’d suggest if we do that, that we phase it in over time,” said board chair Jerry Asmussen.

Summer schedule

The board also set its summer meeting schedule. While in official terms that meant cancleing and rescheduling normally scheduled meetings, the end result is as follows:

  • Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 p.m. – Regular meeting
  • Monday, June 17, 7:30 p.m. – Regular meeting
  • Monday, June 24, 7:30 p.m. – Regular meeting
  • Monday, July 29, 7:00 p.m. – Regular meeting plus budget hearing
  • Monday, Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m. – Regular meeting
  • Monday, Aug. 26, 7:30 p.m. – Regular meeting

Several of those dates will also include work sessions covering a variety of topics.

The board also voted to keep fees for traffic safety courses at $365 for next year, based upon a projected enrollment of 70 students. They also approved the resignation of bilingual parapro Crystal Pedregon and approved the hire of middle school counselor Joshua Thayer and Alternative School parapro Gale Wilkison.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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