The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Special meeting set for school budget


July means it’s time to tackle the budget at the Wahkiakum School District. This year Superintendent Bob Garrett did not have time to prepare the 2017-2018 budget for the Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors because it arrived the same day as the meeting.

Because the budget needs to be approved in July, the board agreed to table the matter and meet again next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. for the budget hearing.

Administrative Director Brent Freeman gave a report on the maintenance projects around the school. Trees have been removed, the floor of the greenhouse has been leveled. They will be putting in garden beds this week.

“There’s a lot of painting going on,” Freeman said. “We’re not painting everything but basically doing some triage and band aid painting until something is decided on the longer term future of this building.”

The buildings are getting painted inside and out, and parking lots, curbs, and even the high school track are getting a new coat of paint.

A new data cable is planned for the football scoreboard.

“We’re hoping to be able to be sure that the scoreboard will be able to work in the first week of August,” Freeman said.

Garrett was thinking about the future.

“We are going to be gearing up to talk about a remodel or a new high school,” Garrett said. “I’ve contacted OSPI, and there are a little over $5 million that the state would have in order to assist in the remodel of a high school.

“It’s time to begin that discussion. It’s probably going to take at least a year before we have it on a ballot. In December we make our last bond payment, so we can use that to entice the community that we are getting rid of that bond issue.”

Elementary school teacher Paul Johns gave a quick presentation on teacher pay for the board to consider when they begin tackling salaries later that night.

“When you guys are in your executive session, I just want you to have this information,” Johns said. We have a big reserve, and the state has been giving the districts lots of money, and what districts have been doing is turning around and giving that money back to teachers. We’re kind of behind the times with that. I hope you guys will consider catching us up with other districts with that.”

According to Johns’ report, Wahkiakum teachers are in 13th place out of 14 schools in their size code for TRI pay. TRI pay, which stands for Time, Responsibility, and Incentive is a way to recognize teachers for the extra things they do. Darrington School District is in first place and pays their teachers $8,568 in TRI money, Johns said, while Wahkiakum teachers receive $893 each year.

The board approved supplemental contracts for the coaches of fall sports. They also approved several annual agreements for services provided by ESD 112, which include things like:

• Digital media services, which will cost the district approximately $3,329 and provides a lot of instructional materials in digital format.

• School announcement network, which will cost about $450 and will allow the school to communicate late starts, closures and more to one place, which will then share the information with radio and television stations.

• Integrated delivery services, which costs $959, and provides mail service between districts via a courier twice a week.

• Prevention/Intervention specialist, which costs the school $12,500.

The board approved a revised contract for the current year for high school English teacher, Audrey Petterson, to reflect her years teaching at Lower Columbia College.

The board approved up to $25,000 for the purchase of a used SUV.

After an executive session, the board voted to approve the 2017-2018 teacher salary schedule for the district. They approved revised teacher contracts for all teachers, according to the new salary schedule. Finally, they approved 2.3 percent increases for Nikki Reese, the new K-8 principal, Stephanie Leitz, the high school principal, and Freeman.

The next school board meeting was moved from its usual Tuesday to Thursday, August 24, at 5:30 p.m.


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