At February’s Wahkiakum School District’s Board of Directors Meeting on Monday, Superintendent Bob Garrett spoke openly about the final chapter of his tenure, encouraging discussion about staffing concerns, hiring a replacement and realistic salary expectations.
“If you all have me back for one more year; I expect that next year will be my last,” Garrett said.
Some of the business manager’s duties were contracted out with ESD 112 when JoAnne Nortrup retired. The other duties were shuffled among remaining staff and added to the superintendent’s list of responsibilities.
“Everybody now is probably maxed out,” School Board Member Sue O’Connor said.
“They’re overloaded,” Garrett agreed. “There are so many demands on everyone. I’m here many days that I’m not contracted.”
According to Garrett, superintendents generally work 220 days a year. As a retiree hire, his contract is for about half of that number. His salary reflects that, and the financial obligation of a new hire is something the board will have to take into account.
A full calendar and a recent snow day necessitated the addition of a day to the end of the school year to make up for the lost hours. The final day of school will now be June 16 and the local inservice day for teachers will be June 17.
Garrett reported that the teachers association had agreed to the changes that they had been negotiating and that the two year collective bargaining agreement for 2013-2015 school years was in effect.
He also shared that enrollment was up 2.5 students, giving them an average of 395 students this year thus far.
High School Principal Stephanie Leitz told the board about a recent analysis of student grades. They were able to conclude that there was a 17.93 percent decrease in the number of students with F’s from the first quarter to the end of the semester, as well as an 83.33 percent decrease in the number of students ineligible for athletics.
According to Leitz, two of Michele Haberlach’s math classes used the raw data from the analysis to confirm their findings and learn a “real life application for math.”
Leitz also noted hearing the high school Secretary Pam Moore exclaim, “Wow, this is the most four points [4.0 grade point averages] I ever remember!” while typing up the honor roll list.
Plans for a school garden have moved forward. Americorps Member Sheila Mace has found a willing volunteer garden coordinator who has experience working with the school gardens in Longview. She is continuing to seek grants and work with staff and teachers on the development of the program.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for March 18 at 5:30 p.m.