OROVILLE – Dr. Ernie Bartelson attended his last Oroville School Board meeting as the district’s superintendent Monday, June 28, leaving just two days before his official retirement at the end of the month.
School Director Tedi Lynn Fletcher, chairwoman of the Oroville School Board, presented Bartelson with a plaque and offered the board’s thanks for his years of service and dedication to the district.
After retirement, among other things, Bartelson who has been with the district for the last 13 years, will raise strawberries on his property on O’Neil Road, south of Oroville. To emphasize his career move, the board gave the outgoing superintendent a “Strawberry Fields Forever” T-shirt and mug. A cake commemorating the occasion after the board meeting also carried on the “strawberry” theme.
Bartelson thanked the board, staff and citizens of the district for their faith in him over the years.
In other business, Kristin Sarmiento, programs director, gave an update on federal programs within the district.
Sarmiento said the state’s Transitional Bilingual Program had done a Home Language Survey of people living in the district. The survey was to find out how many people indicated they spoke a language other than English at home. The survey will be used by the district to determine how best to transition students to where they no longer need extra help in their classes. Sarmiento said there were currenly 75 students who needed extra help, with some starting to learn English in Kindergarten and a few with no English language skills who were “straight from Mexico.”
“We pull those who need help from class on a daily basis to build their vocabulary,” Sarmiento said. “We also have an English as a Second Language (ESL) Program at the high school.”
In addition, Sarmiento said the district works with Gear-up and Wenatchee Valley College to pay students who become proficient in English as tutors.
“Sometimes Migrant Home Workers go to the cherry camps and identify students who have language needs, yet they never have enrolled at the school,” Sarmiento said.
Sarmiento spoke about a post secondary program for any student that has ever been a migrant student, even adults, that helps pay for college.
Sarmiento also reported on the recent visit by the Smile Mobile and the overwhelming turnout for the service which provides dental health screening and care for students in the district.
“All students are screened unless a parent opts out,” she said.
There was such a large use of the SmileMobile that Sarmiento said Oroville will be a definite stop for the program next year.
In addition, the programs director talked about the LAP Program which helps students that are below state standards in the eleventh and twelfth grades, and are at risk of not meeting graduation requirements, catch up.
“The program also has alternative testing to the regular state test. Once they do get behind it is harder to catch up,” said Sarmiento.
Oroville High School Principal Steve Quick, who takes over this month as the district superintendent, reported on some policy updates. He said a third math credit for Algebra II has been added to the graduation requirements.
“If Algebra II does not meet a student’s career plan, we must meet with the parent, student and counselor to find an alternative third math credit – it could be accounting, etc. if it is a better fit with that student’s career plan,” said Quick.
Superintendent Bartelson explained that any time it was recommended that the board make a change in policy it takes two readings at board meetings for the policy change.
“That way the board has a month to think about it, unless of course it is a legislative requirement or a minor change, then it takes just one meeting,” Bartelson said.
Bartelson also told the board that Gary Pringle, the new elementary school principal, had met and interviewed six candidates for the sixth-grade teacher position.
“They were all great candidates. The district has decided to hire Miss Janet Marshal,” Bartelson said.
The board approved compensating the district business manager, Shay Shaw, for the extra time she takes to manage more than 30 grants.
“She writes, monitors, budgets and distributes the grants. She should be compensated for those lost weekends. She puts in a lot of hours, no one can do it like Shay does,” said Bartelson.
The stipend to compensate Shaw for extra time not budgeted by the district to manage the grants will come from administrative fees written into the grants themselves.
“Grants all have indirect costs like lights, heat and administrative all built in,” said Bartelson.
The meeting concluded with Shaw’s financial report. She said that the main water heater at the high school had quit working and that it could not be repaired. The cost for a new one is $13,825. Steve Thompson who heads the maintenance crew is looking into other sources for a new water heater, according to Shaw.
“They are still working on the new toy at the elementary school. They are a lot of money and we want to make sure that company is still up to code,” Shaw said.
The board moved to approve payroll and accounts payable for June in the amount of $593,602.
The next Oroville School Board will be held on July at 5 p.m. in the boardroom at the district office located at 816 Juniper.