By Margie Doyle
At its January 24 meeting, the Orcas Island School District (OISD) Board approved opening the position for a new Elementary (Kindergarten – Sixth Grade) Principal for the 2013-14 school year, after hearing that the consensus of the Administrative Structure Review Committee is for two full-time principals, K-6 and 7-12. At the next meeting salary considerations for this position will be brought to the OISD board.
Current Elementary/Middle School Principal Kyle Freeman was given the choice of remaining as the Elementary Principal, or becoming Principal for the upper grades, and decided to make the move.
Superintendent Barbara Kline said the reasoning behind the two principals (she currently divides her time between duties as Orcas High School Principal and District Superintendent) is “to support the students and support the teachers.”
The Administrative Structure Review Committee is also considering a different structuring of district office jobs, Kline reported.
The high school siding project, begun last August 6, also drew the Board’s attention. Parent and building contractor Justin Paulsen spoke of concerns regarding “contract violations, legal violations and negligent disregard for the safety of the students… which put the board at risk.”
Project manager Drew Reed responded that the job is “98 percent complete, with the facilities building [behind the high school] excepted.” Reed acknowledged that barricading and job site cleanliness had been issues, but said there had been no safety incidents, few change orders, and that the extended time for completion was due to the addition of 54 new windows to the original contract. Artus Construction from Blaine, the project contractors, did not charge for the additional time. The total contract had been for a little more than $397,00, and the project came in at under $394,000.
OISD Board member Tony Ghazel said the new windows were working well and reductions in the buildings energy bill could be expected. Also, “not one classroom had to be re-located” during the project.
Enrollment and Budget
Business Manager Keith Whitaker reported that enrollment for the month of January was 833 total headcount, including 193 elementary students, 65 middle school students, 146 high school students, 376 OASIS (Alternative Learning Education) students in grades K-8, and 42 OASIS high school students. The Total full-time equivalent (FTE) students then amount to 787.39 in January.
In September the total headcount was 829; since then there have been decreases in elementary, middle and high school students and increases in the OASIS programs. Waldron Island School has held steady at 13 students. Whitaker observed that in comparison with recent past years, January is a traditional low point for enrollment, and that he expects to gain 8 FTE students by June, as past years indicate. Most school departures appear to be linked to families moving off-island for employment, Superintendent Kline said.
Kline and Freeman attended a January 18 conference for state administrators of Alternative Learning Education (ALE); the board is also working with elected representatives about the ALE program. Ghazel, Sutton and Board member Scott Lancaster spoke of the positive reception and acceptance by legislators as they discussed the “value and quality of OASIS K-12.”
In response to a request by OISD Board Chair Chris Sutton, Whitaker provided a graph showing analysis of the general fund balance from Sept. 2011 through Dec. 2012, when it was $172,350. The graph shows that the general fund’s low point of $971 in Feb. 2012 rebounded to a high of $332,675 in April, 2012, and that the Oct. 2012 fund balance of $332,191 nearly matched that.
Whitaker also provided a 10-year analysis of the OISD’s general fund ending balance, revised for 2012-13 at 4.73 percent of the total budget, up from .40 percent in 2005-06, and down from 8.43 percent in 2008-09. Whitaker expects that, with the January apportionment report, the district should gain about $50,000, to result in an ending fund balance of about 4.9 percent.
In discussing Athletics costs, the board considered adding about $11,000 to the budget to allow for hiring assistant coaches and transportation for spring sports — golf, softball and baseball. The Athletics Booster Club is currently fund-raising for those costs. Transportation poses the greatest variation in costs, due to post-season playoff expenses.