Machinery request returns to school
April 20, 2017
After an executive session at the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors meeting on Tuesday night, the board voted to offer Nikki Reese a 2017-2018 contract for the K-8 Principal position soon to be vacated by Theresa Libby. Reese is currently the principal at St. Helens Elementary School.
Earlier, the board heard a student recite the FFA creed, a presentation from the 4-H Robotics Club, and teachers Mary Moonen, Tina Merz, and Sue Garn talk about art curriculum at the school district.
VoAg teacher Kyle Hurley, who was asked at the last meeting to provide more information on the track hoe/excavator he requested, came unprepared.
"I just wanted to know if it was a definite no," Hurley said.
"I would love to support it, but I need to see more information," Board member Shawn Merz said.
The board had several questions and concerns about insurance, legal age to operate, safety, and whether it would make more sense to rent the equipment, some of the same questions they had a month earlier.
"I have one concern, and that is the aluminum welding," Board Member Paula Culbertson said. "It was started over a year ago with the acquisition of a machine that required three phase and now we've declared that surplus. One year later we still haven't done anything on it. If we had stuck with the original plan we could have been welding in the fall. There are lots of good ideas, but what is the plan? Unless we follow through on a plan and actually have the programs in place, we can have machines sitting around doing nothing."
After hearing comments, Hurley said that the message that he was getting was that his program was "not up to snuff." Two community members expressed concerns that the CTE program was not being supported. Board members insisted this was not the case.
"We're just asking for more information so we can make a decision," Merz repeated.
In other business, the board approved a bid from DP Construction of $34,000 to erect a greenhouse.
Last week, the board held a special meeting to define a possible new position at the school. The position was being created with the notion that it would free up the principals to focus on educational matters, and take on some of the current part-time superintendent's duties. This week, the board voted to approve the position of Administrative Director, which will soon be advertised.
Chris Gartski approached the school about the possibility of having a 4-H Archery Program. 4-H insurance will cover the program, according to Superintendent Bob Garrett. The consensus of the board was to move forward.
A Cowlitz County driving school may provide driver's education for Wahkiakum students this spring. Terry Bonny has not been available to provide traffic safety this school year, though he may return next fall, according to Garrett.
"We don't know if it will happen, but we would like to give the students the opportunity to take it here instead of having to go there," Garrett said.
After some discussion, the board approved a school calendar for 2017-2018. Garrett reported that enrollment was up by eight students this month.