Oroville School Board selects 2009 officers

OROVILLE – Tedi Fletcher was selected as the new chairwoman for the Oroville School Board at the directors’ meeting Monday, Jan. 26.

Fletcher, who has served as a school director for several years, will take the place of Jerry Nelson as board chairperson. She was nominated by board member Verle Rowton. Fletcher in turn nominated Amy Wise to serve as the vice-chairwoman. Tim Whitaker was nominated and approved to be the Legislative Representative for the board.

Following the election of the school board officers, Superintendent Ernie Bartleson discussed the state budget woes and how they will effect all the school districts in the state.

“We all know what’s going on statewide and it’s not pretty… but we need more information. There is a lot of fear and trepidation at the state level over what is happening with the federal government,” said Supt. Bartelson.

“On the local level the superintendents from the area have been meeting every Wednesday. Our meetings were once a month, but we felt we should meet more often and look at how we might help each other out,” Bartelson said.

He said the superintendents were looking at maintaining classroom teachers, extra-curriculars and sharing services.

The Oroville School Board has set a goal of keeping class size down. The state is expected to give a list to the school districts about what will they will be required to teach on Feb. 13, according to Bartelson.

“They still haven’t given us our marching orders yet,” he said.

Bartelson said the district will be looking at ways to fund classroom teachers and extra-curricular activities.

“Extra-curriculars involve salaries and transportation. We will be looking at which sports to keep on the table and whether we have to consider something like pay-to-play. We want to be consistent in our decisions because extra-curriculars are so important, if we put a couple sports on hold it has an effect all up and down the valley,” said Bartelson.

Bartleson said the districts may be able to save money by sharing services where possible.

“It is a little early to know how much the state is planning to cut. What we do know is that the cuts are going to be deep and wide,” he said.

The superintendent next discussed the state Construction Superfund that has $500 to $600 million for school construction. The district has several projects that could qualify for funding at the elementary school. These include completely replacing the elementary school roof, installing a control system for the building’s HVAC system, remodeling and expanding the cafeteria and redoing the gym floor.

“We were told that if we could have the projects lined up and ready for June there is a good chance to get the money. Gene suggested we add a big project… I know you have discussed replacing the high school gym. If we could get it lined up by June it could qualify for funding,” said Bartelson.

High School Principal Steve Quick was in a meeting in Seattle and unavailable to give his principal’s report.

Elementary School Principal Joe Warsham reported that there was a Lock Down Drill at the elementary school.

“Things went well and everyone did a good job. We did discover a few things we need to work on though,” he said.

Worsham also reported that Alex Lopez, an eighth-grade student at Oroville Elementary, had won the Geography Bee and would be taking an exam to see if will advance to the next level.

“There will be a Seuss Festival Book Night and Book Giveaway on Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. for the fourth and fifth-graders and at 1 p.m. for K through 12,” Worsham said.

He also discussed the Principal’s Challenge. He told the board that the kids had read a million seconds in October and that this year they have read 26,652,765 words in 7,163 books. He is challenging the pre-school through sixth-grade students to make a five percent increase in the average number of books they have read each month this school year during February – meaning they must read 2,332 books this month.

“So what’s in it for the kids if they win? Obviously it wouldn’t make much difference if I shaved my head and I can’t braid my hair. If they accomplish the goal I will dress up in a grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt, complete with lei and serve pineapple sundaes to every student,” he said.

The board also approved a large consent agenda which included paying WSSDA dues of $3,676 and setting high school graduation for June 6, 2009 at 2 p.m.

Susan Speiker was hired as a Life Skills paraprofessional for 3.3 hours a day, five days a week. Resignations from Phyllis Hilstad in food services and D.J Pooler as assistant high school volleyball coach were also approved.

In addition, the board accepted a $690.13 donation from Dollars for Scholars for the Music Department and $250 donation from Wells Fargo Bank for the Team Up for Our Schools Program.