Oroville School Board discusses policy changes

New Oroville School Directors Kolo Moser  (center) and Ryan Frazier are sworn onto  the school board by Superintendent Steve Quick at the last meeting of the board for 2016.
New Oroville School Directors Kolo Moser (center) and Ryan Frazier are sworn onto the school board by Superintendent Steve Quick at the last meeting of the board for 2016.

Frazier and Moser sworn in to board

OROVILLE – The last Oroville School Board meeting of 2015 saw the swearing in of new school directors Kolo Moser and Ryan Frazier, as well as returning director Todd Hill.

The first business was to elect a new board chairman and vice chairman. Director Mike Egerton was nominated for the chairman position and was elected unanimously. DirectorTravis Loudon was nominated for the vice chairman position and also elected unanimously.

The board then approved the agenda, pulling out an item from old business involving board policy changes for separate discussion. Board member Todd Hill said he objected to changes to board policy regarding Resolution of Staff Complaints, No. 5270.

“My discussion is in regards to Resolution of Staff Complaints is fine, in its current form it doesn’t seem to have stopped complaints from being resolved,” said Director Hill.

“The language is directly from WWSDA (Washington State School Directors Association), said Superintendent Steve Quick.

“Is their a reason they used this particular language?” asked Egerton.

“The union has their own language for addressing grievance. This is for non-certified employees, not for certified employees,” said Quick, making the distinction between teachers, who are certified and other staff, like paraprofessionals, who are non-certified.

Hill also asked that Item A under new business be removed. The item involves the first reading of Policy 1400, which governs Oroville School Board Operating Protocols.

“I just want it removed forever; it keeps showing up and I disagree with it, totally,” said Hill. “These are things we already do, we haven’t to my knowledge had an issue with them.”

Egerton said that other school districts had adopted the board protocols.

“I thought at the time that we were going to wait until the new board was in place before we adopted a Code of Conduct that the board must adhere to,” said Egerton.

“We did use two meetings to discuss this,” said Loudon.

Director Moser said he’d like to get “more educated” on the subject before voting on the protocols. Director Frazier said he’d like to look at some of the other district’s policies before deciding.

Since it was just the first reading the board more chances at future meetings to take another look at before deciding on approving the policy changes or not. The board voted three to two to keep the policy in the agenda for this meeting.

Under “Good News and Announcements” Hill said the band had their winter concert.

“I feel the band has really improved since their previous concert,” said Hill.

Parent Lisa Cone was the only one who signed up for public comment. After welcoming the new board members, Cone discussed the drop off and pick up area at the elementary school and bullying at the elementary and high school.

“I still think the drop off and pick up area at the elementary school is a major concern… it’s dangerous. People are making U-turns, parents have been nearly hit. It’s still a problem, I know there is no easy solution. Maybe staggered release times might work. It comes up on social media, people have asked me to bring it up,” said Cone.

“On another point, bullying is continuing to be a very large issue, it’s growing every year. It happens grade school through high school,” she said. “Nothing happens or the perpetrator continues to just get a finger wagging. I’ve dealt with bullying with my own son in the past, I can’t say I’ve been happy with the resolution.”

Cone said with a new board she thinks it might be time to revisit the bullying issue.

On a different subject, a parent in attendance at the board meeting, Marc Egerton said, “I’d like to thank you as the new board and the old.”

Addressing new board member Frazier, Egerton said, “My comment today is kind of a red flag. My concern is you are in litigation with the school and your potential biases as an active part of this board, directing school policies and making decisions.”

Frazier was a provisional teacher during the 2013-2014 school year. His contract was not renewed for the 2014-2015 school year. He brought a lawsuit against Superintendent Quick, as well as the school district. Frazier, who now works for a real estate agent, defeated the former board chairman, Rocky DeVon, in the recent general election.

Frazier said, “I graduated from here, I was born and raised here. My purpose is to make a better school. As a board member we have to take our biases out and we say so in our oath,” replied Frazier.

In his superintendent’s report, Quick said a Memorandum of Understanding has been reached with the coaches allowing them to get their Commercial Driver’s Licenses with the passenger endorsement that would allow them drive the game bus.

He also said he had met with the new CEO of North Valley Hospital and that there is a plan in the spring to do a “full on functional exercise” for an Emergency Drill.

A consent agenda was approved for Items B through J. These included allowing fund raising events at the elementary; a $500 stipend for Billy Monroe for passing the English test for the Highly Qualified status in High School English and a $1000 stipend for Carla Kerns for passing the NES 102 and 103 tests for Highly Qualified.

Other approvals included accepting the donation of $75 for the yearbook from Mrs. Moore; a donation from Tonasket Distribution Center of 350 cases of bottled water for the ASB athletes and a donation from the Oroville Booster Club in the amount of $349 for a Matt Boss subscription. Chairman Egerton stated that the board was grateful for each of the donations.

In her treasurer’s report, business manager Shay Shaw said enrollment went down 11.5 kids between November and December, mostly in the high school.

“Our Year to Date total is 542 and we are still OK because we budgeted for 520. Hopefully we can hold on for another month or two to carry us through the rest of the school year,” she said.

Director Moser asked if there was an exit survey for the parents of students who were leaving the school district.

“Seems we lose a lot to Tonasket,” said Moser.

After being told parents of students leaving the district had been asked why they were doing so in the past, Supt. Quick said a lot of the kids are moving out of the country. Shaw said many are also taking online school – something that has become more widely available in recent years.

“It is paramount that we make kids want to go all the way through school here. I think it is something we should all think about as parents. I want to build Oroville up. People should be their leave their current schools to come here,” added Moser.

The board is also continuing their discussions about in-house suspension versus sending students home to serve their suspension.

Frazier and Moser sworn in to board