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School Board Feb. 17 Meeting

Summary of reports and actions

The White Salmon Valley School District's board of education held its Feb. 17 meeting in the Columbia High School library. All five board members--chairman Paul Mosbrucker, Jeff Cooper, Kristie Hurn, Kris Kreps and Tom Stevenson--were present.

The board heard the following reports and updates, and took the following actions during the meeting.

Enrollment.

The district lost four full-time equivalent students during the January-February count, and is down 10.0 FTEs for the year.

Superintendent Jerry Lewis noted the drop in enrollment has been most dramatic at Hulan L. Whitson Elementary School, a situation he described as "unusual for this district at this point in the school year."

Dollar-wise, Lewis added, the decline in enrollment will cost the district approximately $40,000 in state basic education support.

Boundary Line Adjustment.

The district completed its boundary line adjustment with neighboring landowners Don and Angie Cox on Feb. 10 and now owns an additional 9.33 acres behind Columbia High School.

Litigation.

Lewis reported on a recent state superior court ruling that found the State of Washington does not fund education in accordance with the State Constitution, which states that state government has a "paramount duty" to fund K-12 education.

Lewis said that superintendents statewide are in agreement that further spending cuts in K-12 education would be devastating, and that's the message they've been relating to state legislators.

Professional Learning Communities.

Staff from the district's three school buildings had the opportunity to provide feedback at the mid-year point on how the Professional Learning Communities are working.

Lewis presented copies of staff comments to the directors, who were told that the district's administrative team is using staff evaluations "to assist in making course corrections that will help our district be more effective in developing a collaborative culture."

"This is a process that takes time," he went on, "and the administrative team is looking at how all of the meetings teachers participate in can be streamlined."

Leave Request.

The board granted a request for a second year of leave to Rick Freil, a physical education teacher at Henkle Middle School.

Parent Survey.

Peggy Neuman, on behalf of a parent advisory group, presented a parent survey concerning the district's 2010-11 calendar--specifically, the start date for the next school year.

Suggestions for the next first day of school included starting after Labor Day, starting one week before Labor Day and starting two weeks before Labor Day.

Lewis said the survey information will be shared with the local teachers union, the White Salmon Education Association, before any decisions on a start date are rendered.

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