School board meeting, Dec. 2.
What happened: In a 7-2 vote, the board reelected Nikki Rivera as president during its annual reorganization meeting. She edged out Steve Grosh, who was also nominated to the board’s top leadership post. The board voted 6-3 to name Joyce Stephens vice president over Grosh, who had served the past year as vice president.
Other board members: Following a general election that left just two Republicans on the nine-member board, Democrat Sara Grosh and Republican April Weaver were sworn in as new board members during the reorganization meeting, along with incumbent Democrats Janet Carroll and JoAnn Hentz and incumbent Republican Steve Grosh, who were reelected on Nov. 5. They will all serve four-year terms.
Tax talk: Donna Robbins, the district’s chief operating officer, recommended the board file for an Act I index exception in 2020-21, allowing the district to increase its real estate tax above the state cap.
Quotable: “Filing for this exception does not require the board to raise taxes,” Robbins said. “It’s the most fiscally responsible option due to the uncertainty of next year’s budget at this time.” The board will vote on the exception at its Jan. 16 meeting.
School calendar: Karen Nell, director of secondary curriculum and instruction, recommended the first day of school be on Aug. 25, 2020, with graduation June 3, 2021; and the last day of school on June 4. She described the calendar as “something new, outside of the box,” because school would begin on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. The board will vote on the proposed calendar when it meets next on Dec. 12.
Public comment: In response to the district’s prediction of enrollment increases due to new housing developments such as Oregon Village, district resident and former teacher Virginia Young suggested the Hurst brothers, owners of Oregon Dairy and developers of Oregon Village, donate land for a new school. Young also said she hoped kindergarten students would not have to ride buses to school.
Community conversations: Board members Curtis Holgate and JoAnn Hentz will meet with residents in the district office, 450A Candlewyck Road, from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Dec. 7.