Enrollment numbers still strong at Oroville Schools

OROVILLE – Student enrollment within the Oroville School District remains higher than predicted with 580 students, according to Shay Shaw, the district’s business manager.

During her financial report at the board’s march meeting, Shaw told the school board that the Full Time Equivalents, FTEs, were higher than last year during the same time period.

“We built the budget last year on 566 FTAs, we are waiting until the April report to see what happens,” Shaw said.

She also told the board that the state plans to cut seven cents from what they pay toward student meals.

“Right now we run mean and lean. Going with Chartwells has done much to cut our costs for the school lunch and breakfast programs already,” she said.

In her report she told the board that the district was going to replace some of its copy machines and that they were trying to try to do so after leases and service plans ran out in June.

“Copy machines are kind of like the Klingons of the school district. They can be hated,” Shaw said.

By waiting until the leases run out the district will not be paying on service contracts for machines the district no longer uses. She said the hope is that the less reliable machines can make it until then.

“The goal is to have both payments for both buildings less than what we are paying for the elementary right now,” she said.

In Steve Quick’s Superintendent’s report, he showed a short video regarding the student exchange with the Dominican Republic. His daughter Reinna Quick was one of the students featured on the video, which had reports from the participants who came from around the U.S. and host families.

“I felt pretty grateful for everything I have. I feel more appreciative of the things I have,” said the student about her experience spending two weeks in the Dominican Republic.

The superintendent said the target date for the Dominican students to come to Oroville is April 24.

“The date depends on Passports and Visas. We are shooting for five kids and two adults,” he said. “The kids who are leaving for Turkey leave around the same time. Then the kids from Turkey will come here next September,” Supt. Quick said.

He also reported that the Driver’s Ed class is having trouble getting enough students for spring. Only 14 students have signed up, while usually there are between 20 and 30 students in the class.

Connor Thompson, the student representative to the board, discussed the beginning of the spring sports season. He also said that the students were looking for a drama coach.

The Wednesday before the board meeting there was an Electives Roundtable where students in grades nine, ten and eleven, could find out about what electives are being offered by the district.

“There was some excitement from the students who were not aware of some of the electives that were available,” Thompson said.

Principal Gary Pringle made a report on what’s happening at the elementary school. He recapped the successful Principal’s Reading Challenge. The students surpassed all their goals and were rewarded, including watching one student pour a bucket of ice cold water on the principal.

“We are experimenting with another idea – March Math Madness,” he said. “The winners of each class will form two, five-member teams and play basketball. There will be envelopes with math questions in the audience and successful answers will add to the team’s scores.”

There was no High School Principal’s report do to a personal health issue.

Dawn Miller, director of the Gear Up program in the district, discussed that program’s goals. Gear Up works to make sure students are academically, financially and personally ready to continue on with their education after high school, according to Miller. Oroville students have gone on field trips to both two and four year colleges as well as to trade schools. The program has also done much regarding career exploration, including hosting an annual Career Fair, she said.

“My goals is to see that all our graduates are more willing to apply for secondary options, whether it be a two or four year college, trade school, the military or an apprenticeship,” Miller said.

So far she said that 98 percent of the students set to graduate this year have made secondary plans.

“There is just one hold out. It’s been an amazing year, a lot of students wouldn’t be this far if Gear up hadn’t been there,” said Miller.

Coaches from the winter sports season made their reports to the board as well. DeHaven Hill and Dane Forrester who coach junior high basketball made their report first. They told the board that the numbers were down in both the seventh and eighth grade programs, so they did most of their coaching by combining practices.

“No one complained about playing time. We are trying to prepare our kids for Mike (Boarn) when they get to high school,” said Coach Forrester.

“It was tougher on Dane, he only had one girl who had played basketball before,” Coach Hill added.

Coach Bourn told the board that the high school girls’ team is losing “three good seniors” from next year’s roster. They will be missed, but the team does have 13 girls that will be coming back next year, he said.

“There was a disappointing ending to the past season. I did think this year would be the first Oroville girls’ basketball team to go to State,” he said. “This league has been much tougher than I thought it was going to be.”

Bourn added that Oroville was picked in the preseason to finish in third place and ended up finishing tied for third.

“When we beat Kittitas down at Districts we saw some girls who were starting to believe and that feeling will carry over to next year. I am happy with the progress they made… I had a good bunch of kids turn out,” he said.

Bourn thanked Superintendent Quick, Athletic Director Brett Fancher, the board and the junior high and AAU coaches for their help this past season. He also said he appreciated the Oroville Booster Club for their efforts.

Walt Arnold, the junior high wrestling coach told the board that he had a fun group of kids to work with this past winter.

“They worked hard. My goal is to watch them get better and better. We had a good season with a lot of growth,” he said.