Community members air co-op concerns
Several members of the community requested that the school board discuss with them their concerns regarding the O-H athletic co-op. Board chairman Ed Deife began by asking those in attendance to share their thoughts and concerns. Prior to the discussion, superintendent Dan Read asked those present to provide feedback in writing by listing the pros and cons of the cooperative on handouts he provided.
What appeared to concern those present the most was a perceived lack of participation and support by the Harrington community in the sports programs being offered. As the years have gone by, the number of Harrington participants on the co-op's sports teams has dwindled, leading some to question why. Is it a short-term issue because there are currently fewer students interested in sports? Or is it something else? Some brought up the issue of fan participation, as well. Is the fact that so many more Odessa fans attend games played in either town strictly the result of the difference in population or is it lack of interest?
School choice has made it possible for parents and their children to opt into school districts other than those to which they have been assigned by geography. With Davenport only 10 miles away from Harrington, several families have chosen to have their children attend school in that larger town, making it even harder for the smallest schools to maintain their numbers and keep their local identity. Those present recognized this as a problem for which no one currently has an answer.
The other main issue brought up by board members and the public alike was how to keep communication open between the two school boards. Some board members felt there was too little opportunity for the board members from the two towns to have conversations with one another, at times because members of the administration dominated the discussion.
Overall, the group's consensus was that the co-op is a benefit to the youth of both communities and ought to continue with adjustments being made when and if needed. Open communication between the two boards, the two administrations and the community members of both towns was to be encouraged.
The board held a workshop in the District Office at 6:30 p.m. for the purpose of discussing facilities planning and use issues. Attendance were the superintendent Dan Read; the principal Jamie Nelson; board chair Ed Deife; board members Heather Valverde, Chris Crossley and Janie Steward; board candidates Carmen Weishaar and Victoria Iverson and facilities supervisor Justin Parr.
The Board of Directors of Odessa School District #105 met in the library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, February 22, 2017. This meeting was publicized by posted notice and notices presented to administration, union presidents, board members and the newspaper.
Attending the open meeting were board members Ed Deife, Heather Valverde, Chris Crossley, Janie Steward and Carmen Weishaar; superintendent Dan Read; principal Jamie Nelson, and business manager Juli Weishaar. Also present were athletic director Bruce Todd, facilities supervisor Justin Parr, as well as parents, staff members and students: Suzie and Dalles Deife, Lindsy Starkel, Jill Larson, Bill Weber, Michael Claassen, Jeff Nelson, Chris Shafer, Jason Scrupps, HaLee Walter, Kiegan Wehr, Colton Melgren, Alayna Watkins, Jordyn Cooper, Joel Hardung and newspaper editor Terrie Schmidt-Crosby.
Read administered the oath of office and swore in Carmen Weishaar as director for Position No. 3.
Deife thanked both candidates, Weishaar and Iverson, for volunteering to serve on the board, adding that having to choose between two such able and committed people was no easy task.
FFA Community Garden Presentation: A presentation of the FFA's plans for a community garden, to be constructed on the vacant lot next to the Ag shop, was made by Colton Melgren, Alayna Watkins, Kiegan Wehr, Jordyn Cooper and their advisor, HaLee Walter.
The board approved the consent agenda, including the January 25, 2017 minutes; bills and payroll warrants #609648-609674, direct deposit warrants #900005304-900005364 for $235,995.33; general fund A/P warrants #609675-609716 for $47,818.09; ASB fund A/P warrants #609717-609731 for $13,670.91; Private Purpose Trust Fund warrant #609732 for $500.
The board accepted the resignation of Justin Parr as concessions director and approved the hiring of the following spring sports coaches: Bruce Todd as volunteer high school head baseball coach (with Larry Weber also contributing whenever his treatment schedule allows), Jeff Nelson as assistant high school baseball coach, Brent Coffman of Harrington as the junior-high head track and field coach and Jon Hayashi of Odessa as his assistant.
The board approved travel for students to attend state FBLA in Spokane, April 19-22; the State Science & Humanities Symposium at Seattle Pacific University, March 16-17 and the State Science & Engineering Fair at Bremerton, March 31-April 2
Nelson reported a headcount enrollment of 257 students in pre-school through 12th grade.
She reported that numerous certificates and awards were given out at the recent academic awards assembly for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. High school and junior high science teachers Jeff and Julie Wehr organized the annual STEMposium Family Science night which was attended by many students and their family members. The junior high leadership team recently hosted a middle school activity night for approximately 39 students.
Upcoming activities included the FBLA American Enterprise trade fair for elementary students, FFA ag week activities, the first annual elementary talent show organized by Dakota Steward and Austin Read, the Knowledge Bowl regional competition and numerous FLOCK activities.
Read reported a February enrollment of 231.1 full-time equivalent students.
Preliminary numbers show the Maintenance & Operations levy passing with a 72.57 percent yes-vote and the Capital Projects levy passing with a 71.58 percent yes-vote.
Read announced that Jill Larson will transfer from teaching kindergarten to second grade for the next school year. The kindergarten position has been posted within the district and will be opened to the public next week.
Read reported he is working with a committee of staff members to bring a 2017-2018 school calendar proposal to the next regular meeting for board approval.
The high school girls' basketball team concluded their season with two losses in the NE 1B District tournament. The high school boys' team qualified for the state regional playoffs, beginning Friday with a game against Cedar Park Christian at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Todd said high school practices for baseball and track and field will begin February 27, and junior-high baseball and track and field practices will begin either the week before or after spring break. Due to a low turnout, high school softball will not be offered this year.
Read gave a brief overview of the comparison of 2017 K-12 education funding proposals submitted by the governor, house and senate in his superintendent report.
Facilities director Justin Parr said leaks in the roof continue to be a problem. The facilities committee has put replacement of the roof on the list of future projects under consideration.
Road conditions and closures have made transporting students to and from school difficult the past few weeks.
Read presented balance sheet for January for the Associated Student Body, as well as the Financial Activity reports for the general fund for January showing revenue at $314,048 and expenditures at $327,560 for an ending balance of $707,173.
The next regular board meeting will be Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the high school library, with a workshop at 6:30 p.m. prior the regular meeting.
The O-H Athletic Co-op spring board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. March 8, 2017 in the Odessa school cafeteria.
Read reported the FBLA had been awarded $2,500 from the Spokane Teachers Credit Union as the winner of the "$100 Project," for their Toasty Tots clothing campaign (and not $3,000 as approved at last month's meeting." The FBLA has chosen to donate their $2,500 award to The Friends of the Pool to assist their efforts to keep the pool open.
The board approved a motion to accept the $9,656.32 donation from the O-H Athletic Booster Club. Read recommended that the funds be used for improvements to the baseball, softball and T-ball fields, and he will continue to seek input on other uses of the funds.
Read requested and received board approval for submission of a snow day waiver to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for one day, and possibly more, depending upon future weather conditions. With approval of the waiver, the last day of school will be June 14.
The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.