Tonasket School Board approves changes in staffing

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board approved several personnel changes, including a move by Music Director Patti Middleton from full-time to half time in the district.

“We’ve had a request from Patti Middleton to go to half time with the music department,” said Superintendent Paul Turner at the school board’s Monday, Aug. 29 meeting. “I recommend we accept the request as we’ve managed to fill the rest of her schedule.”

Middleton will continue as the high school music teacher, which opens up a middle school position, according to Turner. After advertising the position as three applicants were interviewed and Mariliz Romano was selected as the middle school music teacher.

“She’s wonderful,” said School Director Patti Baumgardner about the decision.

Turner commented that this will be Middle School Principal Jay Tyus’ first hire.

Tim Cork, who resigned as girls’ varsity softball coach was then hired as head varsity baseball coach. He will be assisted by Corey Schertenlieb.

“Together they have a lot of experience and a lot of passion for the game,” said High School Principal Jeff Hardesty.

The meeting had been advertised as a Public Hearing for a Budget Revision. The Board Approved the addition of $14,040 for the unexpected necessity of rebuilding one of the school bus engines which was out of warranty. The change increases the Transportation Vehicle Fund budget from $122,960 to $137,000, according to District Business Manager Debbie Kitterman. The money will be transferred from the Transportation Fund to the Transportation Vehicle Fund.

“The budget was built with an additional $22,000 to be used toward a future vehicle purchase,” said Kitterman, adding that she did not expect anything else major to affect the budget.

The board also approved several consent agenda items, including a large number of policy changes that are being made because the district is updating its policy manual.

In his principal’s report, MS Principal Tyus said he couldn’t wait for the kids to get there for the new year.

“I am feeling very comfortable with the efforts of the staff to get ready for the upcoming school year,” said Tyus. “I am also optimistic about some of the scores we are seeing.”

HS Principal Hardesty said he was really excitied about the upcoming school year.

“I have noticed a lot of the staff deconstructing the standards. There is a lot of networking taking place,” he said. “I am not quite ready to share scores with you yet, not until they are posted.”

Jim Clarkson with the Martin Morris Insurance Agency appeared before the board to discuss renewal of the district’s insurance policy through the United School Insurance Program, a pool of small school districts which is administered by Canfield and Associates. Clarkson said the cost of the policy was going up approximately seven percent for the Tonasket School District.

“On average the increase was three to four percent for the other districts in the pool. Tonasket’s increased more because there are two more vehicles on the program than last year. Also the increase reflects an increase in the general liability because there is an increase in the student population over last year — 1058 to 1094,” he said.

Clarkson also introduced Paul Harrison from Canfield and Associates.

“I just wanted to talk to you about where the USIP is going. We insure 90 small school districts in the state. It is a good thing as the district is not out there alone if there were to be a catastrophic incident,” Harrison said.

He gave an example of such an incident taking place in the Bellingham School District which is insured under a different pool administered by Canfield and Associates.

“They had a middle school burn down after an incident with a welder who was doing some work there. The pool spent $42 million to rebuild the school and Bellingham in less that a year and a half. The district saw the same 10 percent increase as the other members of that pool,” he said. “By purchasing through a pool the insurance is a little more affordable and it smooths out some of the ups and downs.”

The USIP started with 34 small school districts in Eastern Washington, including Tonasket, one of the founding members.

“When superintendents moved from the east side to districts on the west side of the state they wanted their districts in and that’s why the pool has grown to include 90 districts,” said Harrison, adding the pool was reluctant to increase the number of members at first.

“We are always looking for members that fit the program. We don’t accept districts whose loss history is too bad or whose philosophy doesn’t fit the program… those districts that want to be a ‘lone ranger,'” he said.

The pool representative explained that several free training seminars are offered to districts in the program, including training child abuse and sexual harassment procedures.

The board voted to approve the two invoices submitted by Canfield and Martin Morris to renew the districts insurance for the coming school year. The two invoices amounted to $108,024.68.

The school board also approved a Conditional Assignment Waiver for Arcelia Carroll that allows her to teach at the high school level while she seeks her state High School Certification. Carroll, who was hired on an Emergency Certification, currently has her Elementary School Certification. Having a plan to gain her high school level certification was a contingency for reemployment, according to Principal Hardesty. She has four years to complete the certification and there are several benchmarks she must meet along the way, Hardesty told the board.

In addition the board approved a Temporary Assignment Waiver, for Keith Moeder, who has a K-8 Certificate, to teach one physical science and two math courses at the high school.

“He has extensive knowledge of the math exam. He really fits the bill,” Hardesty said.

The board had their first reading of two new policies. They regard the Absence of a Board member from a board meeting and the Legislative Program.

“A number of the district’s policies are being reorganized to match with the state numbers. This should result in a lot thinner policy book,” said Board Member Jerry Asmussen.

The board tabled a discussion on Redistricting because the new numbers had only arrived that day.

The next meeting of the Tonasket School Board will be Monday, Sept. 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the district boardroom.