NASELLE — The Naselle-Grays River Valley School District Board of Directors held its monthly meeting on Nov. 20 at the middle school, with budgetary concerns consuming a significant portion of the meeting.
Based on communications from the state Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, the budget established for Naselle Youth Camp School was based on the attendance of 82 students, who are counted in the school district’s student census. Due to changing JRA policies, the number of actual students has declined to 62 with a possibility it may drop to 52. Going from 82 to 62 students represents a loss of $260,000 to the district. With this in mind, the board approved a reduction in force for classified staff.
At the same time, overall assessed valuations in both Pacific and Wahkiakum counties are now projected not to meet expected totals on which the current $450,000 levy amount was based. As a result, the board approved a resolution authorizing the two counties to roll back the district’s collection to the Legislature’s adopted cap of a $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This could result in a lower level of revenue on the order of $380,000.
On the expense side, there are higher salaries for classified and certified employees, the looming potential for failure of the school’s aging septic system, and the need to address upgrading of the vocational/music building that was completed in 1958, with few if any upgrades since then. District Superintendent Lisa Nelson reported the best guess, at this point, without having developed an architectural plan and going out for bids, to upgrade the building is in the neighborhood of $3 million. Nelson is pursuing a grant from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for part or all of the funding needed. State Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, met recently with Nelson and expressed interest in pursuing the necessary funding in the Legislature. If those two avenues do not succeed, a bond request may come before the voters in 2020 or 2021.
In personnel matters, the board approved: a partial leave of absence for Greg Nelson as the assistant girls’ basketball coach; a job-share hire of Kathryn Green as the assistant girls’ basketball coach; the hire of Angela Metcalf as an assistant cook; and hiring April Zimmerman as a para-educator. The board also acknowledged the resignation of Heather Varila as an assistant cook and Nicole Burkhalter as the middle school volleyball coach.
In other business, the board approved the 5-year Facilities Master Plan developed by the district’s facilities committee, which, among other things, calls for the upgrading of the vocational/music wing.
Nelson reported volleyball players Taylor Gudmundsen, Holly Disch, Sophie Scrabeck, Kenzie Glenn and Jackie Steenerson were awarded Columbia Valley All-League honors. In addition, Gudmundsen was named as Co-Most Valuable Player and was a recent Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association Player of the Week. Lily Harman received Honorable Mention honors.
Nelson also reported the Comet football team won the recent 1B state quarterfinal. See page A12 for details.
— Report by school board member Nick Nikkila