Orcas Schools begin fund-raising with Open House and Thing-a-Thon

  • Tue Jun 17th, 2008 8:19pm
  • News

Teacher Marta Branch smiles as Andon Hiltner and Coyote Womack

tSchool board votes to reduce principals’ FTE by .1 each

On May 12, the Orcas Island School District (OISD) board met to vote on options for reducing the hours for the principals, as part of the Reduced Educational Program for 2008-2009. This program must be approved in order to begin the process of hiring staff – and reducing in force (RIF) – contracted teachers for the coming school year.

The May 12 meeting considered three options to reduce programs and personnel, in light of the $667,000 budget shortfall projected by the District administration for 2008-2009.

One option called for the elimination of one principal position, with one K-12 principal. Another option planned to retain the two principals positions, both at slightly reduced FTE, along with some additional cuts.

The board voted to retain two principals, at a reduced FTE of .1 each.

During the public comment period, Catherine Pederson said, “I’ve had a 36-year relation with the school… and have seen years of utter chaos. When there became a principal for each school, it created order out of chaos. It would be a giant step backwards to cut principals.”

Barb Skotte, President of the Orcas Island Parent-Teacher-Students Association (PTSA) said following the meeting, “Other cuts to program will now be required to address the projected budgetary shortfall. The board will be making those difficult decisions between now and mid to late July. If you want your voice to be heard regarding the programs that are important to you, you should plan on attending as many school board meetings between now and the end of July as you can.”

The next regular school board meeting is Thursday, May 22 at 5:30 p.m. in the school library

Open House and Harvest Meal

A weekend of public awareness and fund-raising began with the Orcas Island School District’s Open House and Harvest Meal for the community, which took place on a hot Friday afternoon, May 16. Attendance was below last year’s Open House. However, the Harvest Meal that evening was attended by some 225 people.

In contrast to last year’s Thing-a-Thon, which took place on a cold and rainy Sunday, the 2008 Thing-a-Thon transpired on a sunny, breezy spring day, May 18.

Orcas Island Education Foundation (OIEF) sold bright yellow T-shirts and kids “did their thing” whether it was reading, swinging, jumping, laying in the sun, gardening, cooking, drumming, biking, singing, or drawing.

“The weekend events kick off another season of fund-raising as the community comes forward to support the school district,” said Michelle Reed, President of OIEF. “Watch for coming activities, and if you want to see them continue, contribute to the school through the OIEF.”