Westwood school board bids farewell to Bob Hill
Hill’s term ended this year and rather than run again he opted to seek a seat on the Board of Trustees for Lassen Community College.
During a short farewell address, he said Westwood works as a team and he had never served with finer board members or staff. He also complimented his replacement Dawn Lee, who will be seated in December, stating the community would not find anyone more dedicated.
During the meeting, Westwood School District Superintendent Henry Bietz brought the board up-to-date on several issues.
Following a count of students, which was taken the first Wednesday in October and assessed by the California Basic Education Data System, enrollment was down 51 students from the previous year. As it now stands enrollment at Fletcher Walker Elementary in 2007/08 will be under 200 students even with the eighth-grade on that campus.
Bietz said the drop in enrollment would result in a tremendous loss of state revenue for the district because each student generated about $7,000.
Although Bietz said he would not offer a theory as to why enrollment was declining, Hill said one reason could be the alternative choices in education families now have. Public schools have more competition, said Hill.
Other issues covered included school readiness to take care of snow removal during winter storms. The first snowfall in November provided insight into a few problems that needed to be addressed, stated Bietz.
Lou Istrice, principal of Fletcher Walker Elementary, told the board the district would conduct staff training as soon as the Comprehensive School Safety Plan was approved. Following the training the elementary school would conduct intruder alert drills similar to the fire and earthquake drills students and teachers go through.
He also showed board members a new evaluation sheet that teachers were using to show parents the areas of study in which their children excelled and also areas in which the students needed to work.
Istrice said Western Nevada Supply was sending 20 children who attended Fletcher Walker on a shopping spree to Wal-Mart Dec. 2. Students, who were selected by staff members, will be given $100 to spend on themselves as an early Christmas present. School staff as well as staff from Wal-Mart will be on hand to help the students make their selections, said Istrice.
Representatives from various school-based organizations also reported to the board. Gail Brown, president of PTSA, said membership continued to climb with the current count at 60.
Tesa Sumarowski reported for the Westwood High Associated Student Body. She said the ASB was trying to come up with unconventional ways to support the Character Counts program that was implemented within the school district. For example, they had considered giving students who could recite the six pillars of character a candy bar.
The school board tabled a vote on whether to withdraw from membership in the Schools Excess Liability Fund in order to enroll in another joint powers authority recommended by its insurance carrier. Hill said it was foolish to leave the one and join a new JPA until the advantages were clear.
The board voted to approve a labor relations contract with the law firm of DeGoede, Dunne and Martin but decided to look elsewhere for general legal counsel.
The December meeting of the Westwood School Board is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 in the library at Fletcher Walker Elementary.
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