July School Board Notes

July School Board Notes
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The Omak School Board approved a $65.2 million budget for both Omak brick and mortar schools and Washington Virtual Academy at their July 24 meeting.

During the public hearing on the budget, Fiscal Administrator Scott Haeberle shared a report showing the highlights and comparisons from last year’s budget.

The District anticipates an increase of about 80 full-time equivalent students for the 2018-2019 school year. Omak brick and mortar had 1,512 students last year, and WAVA served 3,325.

The biggest change in the budget from last year is a nearly $11 million increase, most of which is for staff salaries, based on additional funds from the State this year. Salaries increased for nearly all staff, both in the buildings and online.

Although tentative agreements have been reached with nearly all the bargaining groups representing Omak staff, those agreements have not been ratified yet by membership so are not official.

The new budget also reflects changes in the local levy, which will be run at a rate of $3.41 per $1,000 of assessed value until the end of December this year. In 2019, that drops to $1.50 per $1,000. For Omak’s budget, that means a drop in revenue from $2.1 million per year to about $950,000.

The District is currently constructing three modular buildings, which will be about a $5 million capital project in total, taken from savings. After that work is completed, any additional capital projects will be based on capacity needs, such as more portables or modular buildings. Capacity at the middle school is a high concern for upcoming years, when large classes move up.

If enrollment does not increase dramatically, some capital funds could be applied toward a parking lot at East, security upgrades in other buildings, or other projects. If a bond is passed, work could begin immediately for a new middle school.

Other fund totals include:

Transportation vehicle fund: $300,000 (for two buses)

Debt service fund: $716,563 (for outstanding bonds)

Associated Student Body fund: $243,670

The board approved the budget as presented, along with a newly State-required four-year budget summary and enrollment projection.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a resolution to grant a temporary waiver for the next two graduating classes from Highlands High School to graduate with 20 credits instead of the State’s increased requirement of 24. This allows students currently working through the program to complete it with original requirements on-time instead of having to add credits too late in the process to recover.
  • Approved the first reading of Board Policy 6100 which deals with how school district work with Tribal governments regarding federal funding programs. Shandy Abrahamson represented the Colville Confederated Tribes Youth Development Council, saying she was “proud and excited” about the work that has been happening with local school districts over this.
  • Approved the first reading of the District’s Emergency Operations Plan, which deals with the overall operations in case of an emergency situation. Superintendent Erik Swanson said each building is also revising their specific plans, informed by this document.
  • Approved change orders with Cates & Erb for work on the modular buildings at North and East.
  • Approved an agreement with Therapia Staffing to recruit physical/occupational therapists and the like for Omak School District.
  • Approved the hiring of:
  • Lisa McDonald, SPED Life Skills teacher, North
  • Alicia Tonasket, OMS English teacher
  • Alex Love, OHS SPED/ELA teacher
  • Elizabeth Dunphy, SPED remote case manager, OMS
  • Charlene Byrd, SPED remote case manager, OHS
  • Jacob Gates, PTA, North
  • Marissa Haigh, PTA, District
  • Lindsey Borge, paraeducator, North
  • Ana Huizar, Title I/SPED paraeducator, East
  • Toni Wilson, Title I/SPED paraeducator, East
  • Sheila Harrison, SPED paraeducator, East
  • Diana Yeckel, transportation secretary