Citizen suggests naming remodeled school for Martha MurfinILWACO - "Change" was the key word Monday night as the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors heard plans for changes to high school senior projects, a change in status on the school construction project, as well as a change in the school board meetings themselves.

In what may prove to be a highly popular suggestion, a former school librarian proposed a change in name for the new middle school, once it is complete: Martha Murfin Middle School, to honor a woman widely revered for her decades of volunteer service.

From the community relations committee came probably the biggest news of the night. Pending a vote on the item at the Feb. 9 school board meeting in Ilwaco, the first board meeting of each month will be held on the north end of the Peninsula.

After some brief discussion as to the policy in place for changing the site, it was decided the meeting can be anywhere within the district, so long as the community is made aware of it at least 24 hours in advance. It was thought the Pacific County Fire District No. 1 station in Ocean Park or even the historic Oysterville schoolhouse would be options until Ocean Park School is completed.

If it is voted in, the first meeting on the north end would be the March 8 meeting. The meeting schedule may be amended yet again if it is decided, once construction on the Ocean Park site begins, that it is no longer necessary to hold two board meetings a month.

Senior projects to start junior year?

Ilwaco High School Principal Lisa Nelson gave a presentation to the board on a new idea dealing with senior projects.

A culminating senior project is a requirement for graduation in the state of Washington, complete with a portfolio featuring such items as a term research paper. The students also have to make a verbal presentation of their work as well. Nelson suggested students begin projects in their junior year as a way to give the them more time to do the best they can. She noted many larger schools around the state are already doing this.

Nelson mentioned that as part of the curriculum already in place at the school, students in their junior year have to do a term paper as an English requirement. Making a transition to having that paper be part of their senior project would be somewhat easy.

"I think it helps the kids," she said. "I think sometimes we run into a little senior meltdown."

She offered it as a way to give the students more time, a safety net, in case the project becomes a little overwhelming to try and finish in just one year.

She also told of how the portfolio is made of some new items as well, including four "reflective" essays regarding that student as a learner, planner, citizen and employee.

The plan would be to begin a transition with next year's sophomores, to prepare them for the beginning of the project their junior year. This and next year's seniors would still be required to do the project their senior year.

Members of the board like the idea and chairman Guelfi gave Nelson the OK to begin planning the transition and report back to them.

"I would like to put a plan in place," he said, "to be ready, so those juniors can write a top-notch paper."

OBSD Superintendent Tom Lockyer gave a short update on the school construction project, saying they have received permission to enter the "D7 stage." "We're pretty much on track in the design documents stage." Once those design documents are done and approved by the necessary agencies, the district will go to stage D8, in which they can then go out to bid for the project.

Lockyer then said, " The only other thing I have isn't bond related, but it is board-related." He handed out certificates of appreciation to the board members, as it is school board appreciation month.

"Your work and effort for the kids ... and the community is greatly appreciated," he said.

Guelfi made mention of the fact the district had consulted with a construction company as to the expected use of Sheldon Park in Ocean Park, owned by the district and located across pacific highway from Ocean Park School, as a staging site for the school construction. The company said that they did not see a need to use the park, that there was enough room on the school site to store necessary supplies and equipment - so long as there is enough parking for up to 25 vehicles.

This will permit Ocean Park's summer festivals to proceed as originally planned.

When the meeting was opened to comments or presentations from the audience, former IHS librarian Larry Parsons aksed the board to consider dedicating a plaque to two woman who, when they died, left a large sum of money to school libraries.

"I'd like to see a plaque honoring those people with an explanation of what they did," said Parsons of the two women, who never had children of their own and moved to the Peninsula late in life.

Secondly, Parsons asked that the board consider renaming the new middle school, when its remodel is completed, after long-time area volunteer Martha Murfin. Chairman Guelfi thanked Parsons and said the board will consider these requests.

On the consent agenda, the board approved the hiring of Heidi Johnson as an early childhood special education instructor as well as Priscilla Moore as a library assistant at Hilltop School. The board also approved the retirement of Guerin Earhart, Ilwaco Junior/Senior High School educator, effective in June; Michael Mancini, IHS Special Programs assistant, effective Feb. 29; and Jerry Steed, Ocean Beach Primary custodian, effective May 6.

District Business Manager Linda Thompson gave her monthly report on district enrollment and budget status. Thompson reported enrollment for the district is down a few students from last month, but overall they have about 18 more than originally budgeted. She said that if this continues, they will have some extra state funds coming at the end of the year. She also told of how she has already estimated an enrollment of 1,060 students next year, as per current trends, 20 fewer then budgeted for this year. She said this would result in some cuts, but none to staff.

And as for the budget status, Thompson reported that there is currently $719,866 in the general fund, $22,797,105 in the capitol projects fund, $233,455 in the debt services fund, $143,231 in the ASB fund and $83,906 in the transpiration/vehicle fund.

The board approved the authorization of general funds accounts payable for the month of January at $235,134, the ASB fund accounts payable at $45,072 and the capitol projects funs at $59,249.

Among the committees that met, Guelfi reported that the facilities committee talked about a number if items, with the top priority being a new PA system for the high school. They are also still looking at the facility use policy, perhaps raising the cost for community use in order to differ the cost of clean up afterwards. He also mentioned how there is a plan to fill the hole in the parking lot of Ocean Beach Primary School with gravel, rather then blacktop, due to the fact that the parking lot will be torn up during construction to the site next year.

Board member Cheri Jones reported from the community relations committee that they have put together a "speaker's bureau" to talk to civic groups in the community about district-related things like the school construction, WASL tests and the like. She said they will be sending out letters saying that this service will now be available.

"It's to keep us in the community," she said, "not just when we need something."

The board approved the awarding of bids for four surplus items. Purchasing the "little white house" on the south end of Ocean Park School is Mike Ducham for the price of $500. Purchasing a 1978 Chevy Citation and 1991 Chevy Caprice, respectively $200 and $625, was Mark Stramberg. And purchasing the 1989 Plymouth Reliant for $526 was Rodney van Son. These, as well as other surplus items, were put up for silent bid, with highest bidder winning. The other items not purchased, including the so-called "tons" of plastic bowling pins, will be available during the district garage sale on this Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., at the district bus barn.

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