Vernonia School Board Report

At the February 12, 2015 Vernonia School Board Meeting:

Teacher Riley Goes Back to Work – After deliberating in Executive Session the Board removed the termination of teacher Jean Riley from their agenda.  Riley had been placed on Unpaid Leave while she attempted to renew her expired teaching license.  The Board had Riley’s termination to consider if she was unable to renew her license.  Riley did renew her license and following the Board’s decision, was scheduled to return to work on Monday, February 16.

Board Approves Teacher Extensions – The Board approved Resolution 1415-03 extending all regular and probationary teacher contracts for two years.  Contracts for two temporary, one-year positions were not renewed.

Board Sets Cap for Transfers – Per state regulations,  the Board had to set a limit on Interdistrict Transfers.  The Board voted to set the limit at fifteen students.

Interagency Agreement With Jewell District – Superintendent Aaron Miller presented the Board with a signed Interagency Agreement between the Vernonia School District and the Jewell School District that sets terms and conditions for resident students in the Vernonia School District who attend the Jewell School.  The agreement calls for Vernonia to pay Jewell 50% of their state General Purpose Fund for each student and for each special education student.

Board Approves Budget Calendar – The Board approved the Budget Calendar for fiscal year 2015-16.   Budget Committee meetings are scheduled for Thursdays on April 30 and May 14.  A  public hearing and adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 11.

Board Approves 1st and 2nd Readings of Policy Updates – The Board approved the second reading of some policy updates and the first reading of several others.  These policy updates are recommended by Oregon School Board Association and are integrated into the Vernonia policies following their second reading.

NWRESD Local Service Plan – The Board received the budget for the North West Regional Education Service District (NWRSED) Local Service Plan for the 2015-16 school year.  The plan calls for the Vernonia  School District to receive $3,249 in services.

Audit Presentation – Janice Essenberg from the NWRESD presented the audit for the Vernonia School District fiscal year 2013-14.  The audit was prepared by Grove, Mueller & Swank, PC and according to Essenberg and the report, the financial position of the District was presented fairly.  The audit showed the District has Capital Assets valued at just under $39 million and approximately $5 million in long term debt.

ShaW Clinic Report – The Board received a report on the Spencer Health and Wellness (ShaW) Clinic from Nicole Lawrence from The Public Health Foundation of Columbia County.  Lawrence told the Board that the clinic is currently staffed by Front Office Clerk Krista Rosales, Physician’s Assistant Melissa Walsh and Mental Health Therapist Lindsay Howson.  Lawrence told the Board the clinic has been closed due to the water damage that occurred in January, but should re-open in the next week.

Superintendent Report – Superintendent Aaron Miller presented the Board with a written report.  Miller told the Board the District is on a “non-grant funded” spending freeze.  Miller told the Board that a Steering Committee with over twenty interested community members is being formed to investigate developing a Charter School application.  Miller told the Board that enrollment has declined from a high of 583 this year to 565.  Miller told the Board he is developing a budget based on the assumption of overall state funding of $7.2 billion for education for the next biennium.  Miller told the Board that the construction of the shop facility will be complete and ready for students shortly.

Building Reports – Elementary Principal Aaron Miller presented the Board with a written report that updated the Focus School work being done.  Miller informed the Board that musician Ed Drury worked with students on January 28, made possible through the Run for the Arts fundraising.  Drury will return as an artist in residence this spring with a program entitled “Making Music and Musical Instruments from Around the World.”  Miller also shared student assessment data obtained through a system called EasyCBM, which shows competency in basic skill development in reading and math.  This data is then used to drive instruction in the classroom. Miller reported that the data shows that students have been making progress in math, which has been a focus during the last several years, and not as much progress in reading.  Miller also noted that, according to the data there are still too many students rated in the Intensive Needs level.

High School/Middle School Principal Nate Underwood presented a written report to the Board in which he noted Robotics competitions, Senior Projects, and a community survey for parents to give feedback to help instructional practices – go to:  Underwood also presented attendance statistics which indicated the schools still have an issue with chronic absenteeism.

Board Hears Student Report – Quentin Skanes, representing the High School Leadership Class told the Board that numerous students received Honor Roll awards at a recent Renaissance Assembly; a Leadership Dance will be held on March 7; the Leadership Class will hold Blood Drives on March 2 and April 28; juniors and freshmen will host a talent show on March 19; a Health Fair will be held on April 21;  the Leadership Class is planning a Doernbecher Week  April 13-17; OSSUM will host a SKID presentation on May 6; the Engineering Class is making and selling fire starter bricks from recycled paper.