Schools: Dallas budget gets first approval

DALLAS - A $34.8 million operating budget for Dallas School District No. 2 received the unanimous approval of the district's budget committee Monday night.

DALLAS - A $34.8 million operating budget for Dallas School District No. 2 received the unanimous approval of the district's budget committee Monday night.

A further public hearing with the school board is the next stop for the 2007-08 fiscal year budget.

It includes a $26.7 million general fund, $3.0 million in special revenue grants and projects as well as $725,000 of facilities repairs and maintenance, $928,000 for food services, $2.4 million for debt service and $1.0 million in student activity fees.

At the budget committee's final meeting Monday, allowances were made for two grants the district may receive in the 2007-08 year.

A Safe and Drug Free Workplace federal grant may bring as much as $100,000 to the district. Those funds would be used to develop a staff mentoring program.

The state legislature is discussing a set-aside from school funding disbursements that would go toward school improvement pilot programs. The budget enables the district to accept and expend up to $800,000 that might come to it through such a grant.

Dave Morris, budget committee chairman, called for approval of a motion by committee member Greg Locke supporting the budget prepared by the district staff.

Voting for it were other members of the committee, Matt Posey and Cindy Hoskisson, as well as the four members of the school board present: Bob Ottaway, Kevin Crawford, LuAnn Meyer and Michael Blanchard.


"Racism" sparks board discussion

In reviewing the Dallas School District Discipline Plan, the school board found "racism" proved to be a touchy subject at Monday nioght's meeting.

The 17-page discipline plan addresses racism as "the use of racist and/or racially insensitive words, power, and/or actions that result in school disruption."

Disciplinary steps for that offense as for others are outlined as well.

Board member Kevin Crawford, a lawyer by profession, questioned the need to separate racism from other forms of harassment by students in the schools.

He also noted the potential problems inherent in making the determination of what constitutes racist speech or disruption.

Dallas High School Principal Keith Ussery concurred with Crawford's concerns but voiced his own concern should racism not be specifically addressed in the policy.

He noted that over the past five years a common problem that has been dealt with involves racist speech.

On a 3-1 vote the board approved the discipline plan as presented. Chairman Bob Ottaway as well as Michael Blanchard and LuAnn Meyer approved it, and Crawford voted in opposition.


Teachers leaving Dallas district

Two teachers with a combined 50 years or more service to students are looking to retire later this year.

Sherry Fobert notified the school board that she intends to retire as of Sept. 1, concluding a 30-year career in teaching. Fobert, a faculty member at Dallas High, commented that "I hope the top priority of our district and community continues to be our youth."

Orpha Sharp said she plans to retire Dec. 31 after 20 years as part of the Whitworth "team of educators." She is the resource room teacher at that elementary school.

After one year in the district, Bob McBeth notified the board of his resignation. He has accepted a position teaching social studies in another school district. At Dallas High McBeth was the New Options teacher and coached the boys varsity basketball team.


Field trips combine fun, learning

A legion of sixth graders - 190 strong - from LaCreole Middle School will visit Canyonview Ranch in Silverton on May 30 and June 1.

Mary Tharp has organized this third outdoor school trip in the past three years for the students, about 20 adults and some 30 or more high school students as well.

With help from the state Fish and Wildlife Department staff, the forestry service and others, the students will have lots of science-related activities as well as fishing, orienteering and other things to do on the large ranch near Oregon Garden. It has two ponds and a river, Tharp noted.

The previous two outdoor schools have been at Camp Kilowan on Teal Creek near Falls City. Tharp said the Silverton site is larger - and the staff there does the cooking.

An overnight trip to Astoria will find 78 Whitworth fourth grade students as well as four teachers and 20 other adults on the road this Thursday and Friday.

They will visit the Astoria Column (and throw gliders from it), the Maritime Museum, and tour the newly-rebuilt Fort Clatsop - first established by Lewis and Clark.


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