The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Michele Smith
The Times 

Dayton School Board Considers Facility Needs

Public is invited to discuss DW combine on Nov. 29


November 23, 2017

DAYTON—There will be a public meeting at 6 p.m. on Wed., Nov. 29 in the Dayton High School auditorium to discuss the DW athletic combine. An update will be given by the combine committee, with a question and answer period to follow.

“The committee has agreed upon many parts of the combine, including how to hire coaches, where some of the practices and contests will be held, and how to deal with mascots, name and colors. More work needs to be done as the combine becomes closer to reality for the fall of 2018,” Superintendent Doug Johnson said.

Also, a special board meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the district boardroom on Wed., Dec. 6, for the directors to consider options on how to meet some urgent facility needs facing the district.

At last week’s school board meeting Johnson said unanticipated cost increases for projects originally identified as priorities for repair or replacement through the 2016 Capital Projects Levy dollars are creating issues for the district’s ability to accomplish all of them.

Now the district is having issues with its mechanical HVAC system. Two 30-year-old oil boilers, one 50-year-old oil boiler and the 30-year-old domestic water heater are in continual need of repair, Johnson said.

Also, the 20-year-old software application which controls the system has stopped working, altogether, he added.

Representatives from Honeywell were on hand to discuss the details with the board.

The district is in the process of replacing the controls, but has not agreed upon a plan for boiler replacement, they said. The cost for replacing the entire system is around $800,000.

Other priority projects include replacing the flat roof on the high school gym and replacing the entire phone system with Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

“If the roof fails and the boiler goes, it can shut us down,” Director Dave Bailey said.

Chairman Dan Butler expressed his concern about running a capital projects levy every two years and would like to see a long-term plan to keep up with aging infrastructure.

There will be a meeting in January to receive community input, Johnson said.

Johnson said he has met recently with Rep. Terry Nealy about potential impacts to the district as a result of the state wide property tax to fully fund basic education.

Johnson voiced concerns about some restrictions placed on the district regarding how funds can be spent and the lack of a statewide salary schedule for teachers, which could further erode the inequity in teacher compensation.

Rural districts will have a harder time recruiting and retaining teachers,” he said.

“It’s going to be challenging the next couple of years,” he added.

During the Show-and-Tell portion of the meeting, teachers Hannalee Farrell and Amber Olson talked about last year’s collaboration of Dayton Elementary 4th and 5th graders, working with students in Vancouver, Wash., to create a magazine with volcanoes as the topic.

Due to that success, Olson’s students will create a Washington State destination magazine featuring the geology of Washington State, which might include attending fossil digs and other field trips, she said.

The project targets standards in science, math, English, poetry, art and technology, and the students are showing good retention of the material learned, Farrell said.

High School Principal Paul Shaber and the ASB students have begun a “Respect Initiative,” which should improve the respect shown by students to each other and to adults, Shaber said.

Shaber said there was a Veterans Day Assembly to celebrate the accomplishments of veterans, and Elementary Principal Denise Smith said her students celebrated the day through participation in an American Legion sponsored art and writing project. A student was selected from each class to receive a $100 savings bond.

Smith said parent/teacher conferences were successful with nearly 100% of parents meeting with K-5 teachers.

“Staff and students are working hard at teaching and learning,” she said.


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