Friday, August 17, 2012

School District news

By Superintendent Bob Vian

District level

During the last budget cycle the district lost a significant amount of revenue when the Federal Jobs Program ended with a loss of nearly $200,000. In addition we built a budget without assurance that the Craig/Wyden “timber money” which Western States have relied upon for years would be renewed. In July we received notice that there would be Federal timber funds, but at a level approximately $100,000 less than the prior year. In addition the district lost 45 students over the past year. State funds are based on students so funding from the state will be reduced.

Local taxpayers were generous and passed our operating levy of $1.94 million, the same level as the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The budget for 2012-13 was written to “right size” the district based on fewer students and funding cuts. The majority of the cuts to teaching staff were made via retirements and resignations. Several Instructional Aides were cut, but we are currently working to reallocate funds to rehire some of those lost positions. It is our intent that no student’s special needs will be neglected.

Putting money into facilities maintenance was a major concern. As you will read in the building reports several projects are underway. Our goal is to spend our money locally and most of the maintenance work is being performed by local contractors and companies.

Dr Kerrie Raines joins the district as our new Special Education Director. Dr. Raines served as a vice-principal, Federal Programs Officer, and Special Education Director in Glenn’s Ferry Idaho for the past couple of years.

Ben Jenkins will assume the duties of Lon Blades, who retired, as Transportation Director. Ben will continue as the head mechanic along with the Director’s position.

Cavendish School

Teacher Jenine Nord will start school with a logging theme this year, preparing for the county fair. Students will do research on logging the first couple of weeks of school. Jenine plans to ask local loggers to speak to the students. Students will take a field trip to the Dam Visitor Center and the Orofino Museum on Aug. 28 to learn about logging.

The furnace was replaced at Cavendish.


Mindy Pollock will have the Peck students working on projects for the Clearwater Fair as well. The logging theme of the fair will dictate projects.

Timberline Schools

New Principal Shaun Ball has moved to Pierce from Bonners Ferry. He reported that the one portable which was purchased has been moved from the east side of the school. The portable is sited next to the current Timberline Elementary building. TES will now have six classrooms for the seven K-6 grades. No elementary students will have classes in the high school this year. The second portable was returned to the vendor.

Timberline High School will have one new teacher this year; Joe Lawrence replaces Shannon Poppe, long time School District #171 teacher who moved to Wyoming. Mr. Lawrence will teach Language Arts. Joe attended high school in Lewiston, did his student teaching in Lewiston, and substituted there last year.

The new sewer system is nearing completion. The nearly $300,000 project is being built by local contractor Riverview Construction. The new system will replace a system that used two sewage ponds that were beyond their life span. The majority of funds for the project has come from the districts $232,784 Building Fund (money from property which the district has sold, we are currently receiving $250 per month due to the sale of Weippe Elementary on a contract) which will be depleted. The balance will come from Federal forest funds.

Orofino Elementary

New Principal Shelly Brooks has joined our staff from Priest River. Mrs. Brooks has six years of experience as a high school principal in Priest River and Kellogg. Prior to becoming a principal she served in several administrative positions and as a Special Education Teacher.

Deidre Jenkins will become a full-time fourth grade teacher. Lindsay Waggener was hired to fill Mrs Jenkins’ half time position. Jennifer Jyler will be the Special Education teacher at OES.

Mrs. Brooks and head custodian Justin Howard have been overseeing several building upgrades at OES. The portable classrooms are being removed from the school grounds. Avista has removed several power poles and upgraded insulation on the overhead wires near the school. Two restrooms are being remodeled due to floor joist dry rot and generally poor condition. Two classrooms, where odor problems have persisted for the past couple of years, were stripped to subfloor level. New floors and carpets have been installed to make the classrooms ready for students and staff for the new school year.

Orofino High School

Principal Robert Alverson is the “old timer” in the district administration. He will begin his second year as principal at OHS. Doug South, hired from Marsing High School, will be the new Vice Principal. Mr. South will also serve as Activities Director. Doug will handle all aspects of school administration including teacher supervision, student discipline, and student safety. Michael Tetwiller has been hired to teach math at OHS. Mr. Tetwiller replaces retired social studies teacher Bo Cummings.

Space has been adjusted to make room for the seventh grade move to OHS. Seventh grade lockers and a computer classroom used by the seventh graders were moved from OES.

OHS has received a wiring upgrade to allow all computer labs to operate simultaneously, something that the building wiring could not handle in the past. New rain gutters have been ordered for the front of the building. Old worn and torn carpet is being replaced in three classrooms by local contractors. The carpet was a safety hazard as students and staff tripped on the seams that had four inch gaps of missing carpet.

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