Schools see an increase
in general fund dollars
DALLAS -- It appears Dallas School District's general fund budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year is on a fast track to approval following a public hearing and meeting of the budget committee.
At Monday night's meeting the committee listened as Superintendent Christy Perry and business manager Tami Montague noted that the budget has climbed some 10 percent to $26.658 million.
It includes the full-time equivalent of 4.5 additional teaching positions -- a new Spanish language teacher at Dallas High and a sixth-grade teacher at LaCreole Middle School, as well as two special education teachers and a half-time addition to those teaching English as a second language.
"There are no significant changes in programs," the superintendent stated. "We should see some reduced class sizes and a moderate increase in course offerings," she added.
The principal position at Morrison, the alternative high school in the district, is moving from a half-time position to a full-time post. Principal Jamie Richardson is carried as a half-time teacher and half-time administrator in the current year.
Sale of the Rickreall School campus site remains a possibility, with $375,000 from that sale included in the general fund.
The state school fund grant, largely based on average daily student population, is estimated to bring in $17,448,872 in the year ahead.
An additional $5.2 million comes from local revenues, including $4.8 million from property taxes.
"We based these numbers on the Governor's $6.2 billion K-12 budget. The Ways and Means Committee is talking about $6.345 billion, but there may be strings attached to the additional money," Perry said. "We used March 30 estimates and are hoping for further clarification soon from the Oregon Department of Education."
She concluded, "I believe this budget proposal is a viable plan. There are still things we could add, but we can operate with this budget.
Veteran committee member Dave Morris was elected chair of the committee by acclamation. A similar voice vote gave Carla Cudmore the vice chair position.
A second and probably final meeting of the panel is set for May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Morrison Administration Building, 111 S.W. Ash Street.
Dallas extended campus
program keeps growing
DALLAS -- Forty Dallas students are passing up graduation this year to maintain their status as Dallas High students and attend Chemeketa Community College in the year ahead.
Dallas High Vice Principal Brian Green couldn't contain his excitement about the Dallas High Extended Campus program as it moves into its third year.
"We had 24 students start the program this year, and 18 of them will finish. Ten of the 18 have grade averages greater than 3.00," he said.
"This spring, 67 students completed applications for the program. We are capped at 40 students entering -- it was really hard determining who would be in that 40," Green added.
He sought the school board's approval to remove the enrollment cap. Following concerns voiced by director Michael Blanchard regarding the long-term viability of the program in light of state funding, it was decided to increase the cap for the 2008-09 school year to 60 students.
Under the Extended Campus program, a student who has completed the high school program may choose to remain on the high school rolls by not graduating. If accepted into the Dallas extended campus he or she is able to attend Chemeketa classes as a full-time student with all books, tuition and fees paid by the district. That cost is fully reimbursed through state funding.
get funding approval
DALLAS -- In its first-ever grants, the Dallas Education Fund recommended awarding some $500 in two separate grants to benefit Dallas students.
The Dallas School Board accepted recommendations of the committee that oversees the fund.
A pulse monitor for use in Whitworth Elementary P.E. classes will be purchased as a result of a request by P.E. teacher Craig Button. After seeing the positive effects of outfitting students with pedometers while they walk, run or jog, Button believes seeing the effects of exercise on their heart may encourage more activity as well.
Carol Shavere applied for a grant to enable her students at LaCreole to equip and operate a refreshment cart as a vocational project in her Life Skills class.
The Dallas Education Fund seeks contributions of all sizes from those interested in helping students in the Dallas district gain as much as they can from their education experience.
The fund operates under the umbrella of the Dallas Community Foundation a 501(c)3 charity. Checks may be written to that foundation with a notation that the money is to go to the education fund.
Two join faculty
at Dallas High
DALLAS -- "They're both fabulous," was the way Dallas High Principal Keith Ussery described two experienced faculty additions the school board approved at its Monday meeting.
Abigail Comber is joining the language arts staff as an English teacher. She has taught five years at a private school in Washington state. In addition, she completed her Ph.D. course work through Indiana's Ball State University.
Kurt Woolner will teach Spanish at Dallas High in the fall after eight years on the staff at David Douglas in Portland.
Said Ussery:"They both just wanted to come here and teach."