CHEWELAH SCHOOL BOARD: Staff supporters pack meeting in support amid contract negotiations, Ashley Grubb named new school board member
(COLIN HAFFNER/Chewelah Independent)
School board also approves purchase of new school bus…
The Chewelah School Board held its regularly monthly meeting Wednesday in front of another packed room, there to show support amidst contract discussions.
Wednesday’s meeting started with interviews of two candidates for the open school board position two vacated earlier this year. The two candidates spoke to their background, interest in the position, and then answered questions before the current members of the school board went into an executive session to confer.
Following the short executive session, the board passed a motion to select Ashley Grubb to fill the vacant position. Grubb then took the Oath of Office and joined the school board for the remainder of the meeting.
The meeting then opened to comments. Two members of the audience signed up to speak, both on behalf of the teachers, citing a need to maintain quality educators for numerous reasons.
The first commentor noted that compensating educators and retaining quality teachers was important as they worked in real estate, and on of the first questions they are commonly asked is about the education system in Chewelah. Commentor number two spoke to the need to keep great teachers because it helps to offer higher level classes and programs at the schools/Chairperson Deanna Norvell then allowed for comments from the floor, and two more people opted to speak, one asking about the information communicated from the administration in regard to the contract negotiations, and a second once again in support of ensuring the district retain top notch teachers.
It was noted by Norvell that the contract negotiations brought about by The McCleary Decision were not on the agenda and there would not be any discussion on the topic during the meeting other than both sides were entering into mediation that would begin on Friday.
Business then carried on as normal, with the passing of the consent calendar and director reports.
Most members abstained from reports. Student ASB Director Lily Kirry spoke about events and programs happening at JJSHS, including the PRIDE program, Homecoming, casting for the production of Cinderella at the school, and leadership initiatives.
Superintendent Rich McFarland reminded the board that the Washington State Schoolboard Directors Association (WSSDA) regional meeting was October 10 and the WSSDA Annual Conference in Spokane would be November 14 to 17. Board members were invited to attend the annual conference. Mcfarland then noted an assessment had been done on the district’s property line behind the bus garage. The property was placed on the agenda for October.
The board then discussed old and new business. Of note is that a vote to increase salaries for district employees not represented by the teaching union was tabled pending further information.
A motion to purchase a new school bus at a cost of $120,000 passed. This purchase is in line with the standard rotation of equipment. The alternative program staff to student maximum ratio was lowered to 1:45 from its previous 1:60 max ration.
The meeting adjourned about 7:45 P.M.