Vernonia School Board Report

At the April 11, 2013 Vernonia School Board Meeting:

Board Accepts Resignation-The Board accepted the resignation of teacher Kari Hansen.  Hansen had been an instructor for thirty years in the district.  Superintendent Ken Cox, along with the entire Board, thanked Hansen for her many years of dedicated service to the district and the students.


Board Cuts Days for Calendar-Due to budget shortfalls, Superintendent Ken Cox requested, and the Board approved, a reduction of four days from the school calendar this year.


SHaW  to Hold Open House- Spencer Health and Wellness, School Based Health Center will hold an Open House on April 23, 2103 from  9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.  There will be refreshments, special guests and a ceremony at 1:00 PM.  The public is invited.


Board Approves Calendar-The Board approved an instructional calendar for next school year which includes 165 days for students and 180 days for teachers.


Special Education Report-James Brookins gave an annual Special Education report to the Board.  Brookins discussed the specialized services the district receives from the NWRESD.  He also reported on the continuing increase in the district of Life Skills and Behavioral caseloads.  Brookins reported that the district will have seven students from the Sped program graduating this year, but will have seven students incoming into kindergarten that have been identified for the program next year.

Brookins reported that the District did not meet Mathematics and Reading standards for students with disabilities in 2011-12, but that the Improvement Plan the district submitted was accepted without revision.  Brookins also reported that the District was 100% compliant for System Performance Review and Improvement and all work has been completed through 2014.

Teacher Kathleen Jackson reported on the Learning Resource Service program at the high school level.  Jackson reported that several students are studying for their GED and that one passed all requirements and received their diploma.

The district had ninety-nine students in the program this school year, or 17% of the student population.   Superintendent Cox told the audience that the District receives $11,000 (instead of the usual $6,000) for each student identified as special needs, but only up to 11% of the population.

School Board member Bill Langmaid  noted that the Vernonia School District has families moving into the district to take advantage of the “…phenomenal program we present.  So we are attracting a higher  cost population as a result.”  Langmaid suggested lobbying the state legislature to remove the 11% cap on smaller districts.  Brookins noted that students identified with special needs is increasing in general.  School Board Chair Jim Krahn thanked Brookins and his program for all their work.  “We appreciate what you do very much,” said Krahn.



Girls Scouts Explain Projects-Girls Scouts Lauren Ely and Jessica Butcher told the School Board they were planning to initiate a project on April 13th to remove weeds along Missouri Avenue and the entrance to the new school campus.  Girl Scouts Megan Ely and Mackenzie Willard told the School Board that Troop 40485 was initiating a recycling program in the School Commons and would use the money they collect to assist  a fresh water project in a third world country.


Student Reports-Middle School leadership students Hope Cutright, Lauren Glass, and Megan Rice updated the School Board on activities from their school including what they are studying in certain classes, art projects, a 6th grade garden project and the VMS track team.  They also informed the Board that students are preparing for their Washington D.C. Trip and that the Leadership class is involved in numerous activities.


Board Approves Student Survey-Board member Bill Langmaid made a presentation on behalf of the Vital Vernonia Indicator Project and presented a short student survey that students will be asked to complete this spring that will gather baseline data for the project.  The five question survey asks students about  volunteerism, school pride, plans beyond high school and current job opportunities.  The Board approved the survey.


Board Approves  Resolution-The Board approved  Resolution 1213-06 to join and support  a state-wide “Strong Schools, Strong State” campaign to prioritize education in state investments through adequate and stable funding, preventing further program cuts and staff reductions and starting on a path to achieve Oregon’s 40-40-20 goal.