The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Dave Schreindl
the Times 

Budget talk dominates Dayton school board meeting

Superintendent candidates to be announced after Jan. 29 executive session


January 23, 2020

The number one issue facing the school board continued to be the oversight of the monies collected from previous levies and how they are spent on various prioritized projects. And accordingly, how they are being held accountable to the public for the choices they make.

At its January monthly meeting Superintendent Doug Johnson presented an update regarding the 2016 and 2018 capital project levies. He said over $1.5 million will have been collected by October 2020 in order to address various facilities issues.

As of the end of 2019, the asphalt project for the loading zone and elementary project had been completed, the boilers had been repaired, the high school roof had been repaired, the communications project involving phones, speakers, and warning lights was done and the sidewalks had been replaced.

Johnson presented items to be addressed and approved by the board moving forward. One of which was the placement of irrigation equipment at the football field and track. It was agreed that this would make a good summer project and had been put off for long enough.

The board also agreed to push ahead with an evaluation of replacing the doors to the gym and with obtaining bids for covering the elementary play area also known as ‘Lake Dayton.’

The board determined the priority of monetary spending should be to address health and safety issues including installing more cameras and repairing the rest of the roofs in the district. On that note the board agreed to putting weather-related athletic contest participation decisions in the hands of school administrators and transportation officials. These would include forfeit decisions and implementing the policy that if one school district was closed due to weather, then the contest would be declared a ‘no go.’

Finally, a reminder was given that ballots would be going out in January for the upcoming school levy vote and that ballots need to be returned by Feb. 11. Johnson said a mailing will go out Tuesday, January 21, informing the community of all the facts on the levy.

Rose Burris, representing the high school ASB, presented to the board that her organization is planning a winter spirit day to coincide with the end of the semester on Jan. 24. She also told of the efforts of kindness week, the week before Valentine’s Day, where the ASB will help with kindness grams for the elementary students.

Other key elements from the meeting included:

The annual Day Estate Lunch is tentatively scheduled for March 26th. The amount of the donation to the School District from the Dr. John Day estate will be announced at this event.

Principal Kristina Brown report: Disciplinary events are down 45 percent. Credit was given to efforts by the staff.

The Board is looking for input from the community regarding the free public use of school district facilities. Johnson stated the problem of broken, lost, or misplaced equipment from unsupervised use, and from people not using the facilities in the right way is putting future use at risk. The board is looking for proposals on how to keep the public’s access to facilities without recurring maintenance issues.

The first reading of Policy 3245 regarding students and telecommunication devices was given. A key element from the State encourages school districts to use short term disciplinary options as opposed to long-term suspensions or expulsions.

The second and final reading of Policy 5253 regarding social media use was presented. The policy puts in place boundaries between staff and students including forbidding school staff members from following or friending students on social media and banning communication via text and social networks. The key point in all transactions is to be mindful.

Todd Miller donated $1,000 for track hurdles.Terrence Bartlett and John Donnelly were approved as basketball volunteers, Columbia Straw Supply donated $1,000 to the ski program, and Columbia County Employees donated $300 to the ski program.

The meeting ended with a celebration in honor of board appreciation month, and the hard work of the non-paid board members was acknowledged.

The school board will meet again on Wednesday Jan. 29 at 6 p.m. This will primarily be an executive meeting to discuss which three of the seven superintendent candidates to bring in for the interview process. The board said they hoped to come to a decision and make an announcement as close to 7 p.m. as possible.


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