The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Dayton School Board to Reprioritize Capital Projects

Fred White and Amy Rosenberg are in the running to fill board position vacated by Dan Andrews

 

October 26, 2017



DAYTON—At the outset of last week’s school board meeting, two candidates for the position vacated by Dan Andrews were interviewed by the Board of Directors.

The candidates, Fred White and Amy Rosenberg, were asked a series of five questions regarding the role of the school board, the role of an individual on the school board, and how best to build relationship between the board and the community. They were also asked to identify the issues and challenges facing the board, and explain why they are interested in being on the board.

The Board’s selection will be announced at the next board meeting on Nov. 15.

Head Coach Troy Larson and Assistant Coach Tracy Pearson provided information about the current football season, and assured the board the coaching staff has player safety at the top of their list of priorities.

Superintendent Doug Johnson said the Yakima Valley Officials’ Association inadvertently failed to assign officials for a scheduled game against Mabton. The game was rescheduled for October 23, and there were to be two full games in a five day period of time, and three games in an eight day period of time.

“I’m concerned about the safety of the kids,” Johnson said. “If we have to make it up, there is not a lot of calendar space.”

In his report Supt. Johnson said the cost of the summer asphalt project, exceeded budget, and the District is reprioritizing the remaining capital projects.

He said while replacing the high school roof, the phone and intercom system are still at the top of the capital projects list, the board needs to take a look into costs for replacing some mechanical systems, which have been problematic. There are issues with the heating system and controls, he said.

Johnson said a low ball estimate for the heating system and controls is around $275,000.

“The District was hopeful to stretch the life span a few more years,” said Johnson.

“We can’t update the control system until the boilers are updated. If we can’t run the boilers, we can’t run the control system,” said Johnson.

The board will discuss how to address all the facility needs at their November meeting.

The District is exploring changes in emergency plans, Johnson said.

Johnson said a building safety audit will be performed by a company specializing in emergency preparedness for schools. Following that, the District will provide the staff with training, and make improvements to emergency preparedness, over time, Johnson said. Parent input is desired, he said.

Many questions remain about the new state education funding plan, Johnson said. Information is confusing, especially in regard to whether there will be enough money to run programs and keep personnel. The state Supreme Court will decide whether the legislature has done enough to address fully funding basic education, he said.

Johnson said Dayton voters passed a four-year levy in 2016, and will not be asked to vote for another levy until 2020, but the original amount and rate are subject to the new legislation – both will be reduced, he said.

The District will continue to attend meetings and gather information from the state experts, he said.

Elementary Secretary Jeannie Lyonnais, the Blue Mountain Action Council, and the Dayton food bank are participating in the Weekend Food Program, which provides enough food to meet basic needs, to families in need, Johnson said. The program might be expanded to include the middle and high schools, he said.

The Norgaard Trust Funds provide scholarships to graduating seniors who attend two and four-year colleges, Johnson said. Board members are Dan Butler and Justin Jaech, teacher Brenda Henderson, Clay Hutchens, and himself, he said.

High school Principal Paul Shaber said while students are currently involved in homecoming activities, the number of activities has been curtailed to keep students’ attention on academics.

Parent-teacher conferences are also underway, Shaber said.

Elementary Principal Denise Smith said a Family Cultural Night took place during the Scholastic Book Fair, and was well attended.

She said K-5 teachers are continuing their search for a Math curriculum that will best meet the needs of students.

“We’re going to push ELA back a little to get better at math, and give the kids a better foundation,” Smith said.

Johnson expressed his gratitude for all who planned and participated in the Walk-A-Thon, which was a success.

 

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