The South Lane School Board met on Monday, November 6 with a packed agenda including construction projects, administrative goals and updates from students and programs. Some highlights:
The school board heard an update on the Early Learning Center that is scheduled for part of the $35 million bond package of projects as well as information on plans to revamp the Warren Daugherty Aquatic Center. Both projects face budgetary woes with the ELC coming in over budget by nearly $1 million and the pool over budget by $600,00.
Superintendent Krista Parent gave the school board a quarterly update on her goals for the year. Parent presented her goals yearly in the past. During Monday's meeting she touched on community and school outreach, noting that she had spoken to each school and department between August and September, attended a pool committee meeting and hosted site tours of the new Harrison Elementary School. In terms of her goal to combat chronic absenteeism, Parent told the board she is closing in on forming a team to address the issue which will include Chris Wells as Dean of students, Nick Findley as a career specialist and two new hires at Cottage Grove High School and Al Kennedy High School.
In an attempt to recognize staff, Parent informed the board that she has created a schedule to recognize each department in the district throughout the year as well as district wide events. "The whole idea is to get out and say 'Thank you and we appreciate you more than just once a year,'" she said.
The school district has two students less than it did at this time last year. Parent presented the enrollment report to the board that counted students as of October 5 of this year--part of a continuing trend. "People ask about closing Latham and if those students will go to the new Harrison and the answer is we don't know, we'll see what happens." Parent noted that the largest class is seniors at 231 students. "You'll be losing 231 students and bringing in a (kindergarten) class of 180 or 190. That's going to effect your budget," she said.
"There's concern about Latham," she said, noting it had 13 students less than last year.
District employee Diane Hicks spoke as a resident and not in her capacity as a teacher when she addressed the board Monday night. Fighting back tears throughout the three minutes she spoke, she said she'd felt helpless after the shooting in Texas on Sunday that left 26 people dead. "I don't like feeling helpless but the school district has to do everything it can to get our children help at an early age," she said."The whole reason I'm in education is a passion for children and social justice issues," she said.
The board will have to create a supplemental budget after submitting new numbers to the state concerning a budget for outdoor school.
Bohemia, Harrison, Dorena and Latham are among the schools scheduled to take part in outdoor school with Harrison celebrating its 42nd year in the program. The Measure 99 funded program gets kids out of the classroom and into the outdoors to learn hands-on math and science.
Parent informed the board that she had requested just under $45,000 from the state including $18,000 for teacher stipends as well as $1,500 for unreimbursed transportation. The school district budgeted $50,000 for outdoor school in June when it passed its budget.