District hopes for higher enrollmentILWACO - The approval of the budget for next school year and the hiring of two key administrative positions and four new teachers topped the bill at the monthly meeting of the Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors Monday night.

The OBSD board approved the budget for the 2003-04 school year at $9,543,756, an amount $500,000 less than last year. The district has projected a drop in student enrollment from 1,142 last year to 1,080 this year - fewer students mean less state funding.

OBSD Superintendent Tom Lockyer, who was charged with the task of trimming the staffing in the district to fit the new lower budget, said though it was hard getting down to that number, they'll work with what they have.

"We feel that we're within the realm that we need to be in," he said. "And hopefully we get more students and that gets us more dollars."

Allan Fleck was hired on as the new director of special services at the district, replacing the superintendent's wife, Cathy Lockyer, who held the position on a temporary basis last year, but left the district to pursue other interests.

Fleck has worked most recently with the district as the school psychologist. He also has a lot of experience working in special education, knowledge that will be helpful in his new position. The director of special services is responsible for governing all programs that receive federal funding, including special education and Title 1.

In order to hire a new athletic director at IHS, to replace Gary Flood who recently took over as principal at Hilltop School for the retiring Tom Ackerlund, the board had to approve a change to the interscholastic activities policy.

Policy 2151 stated that a coach of an athletic team could not also be the athletic director. This stemmed from a situation that happened some years ago when the AD was a coach and his team received preferential treatment over others. With that policy in place, they couldn't hire Matt Blair, boys basketball head coach, as the new AD.

After some discussion, the board decided to be more "open-minded" in these tight budgetary times and changed the policy so that Blair could be hired on. IHS Principal Lisa Nelson and vice-principal Todd Carper will be responsible for seeing that mistakes of the past do not repeat themselves.

"I think the board feels comfortable in their discussions to see that it can and will work," said Lockyer.

This is the first time Blair has held this kind of position, having taught physical education at the high school for the last three years. Lockyer said Blair is working to get his administrative certification right now, though it is not mandatory for the position. Also, Blair will not be paid as a district administrator since he is also teaching six hours a day. Rather, he will be paid a $10,000 stipend on top of his teaching salary for the AD duties.

To fill the openings left by retirements and the like at Ilwaco Jr/Sr High School, the board approved the hiring of four new teachers Monday. Strange as it may sound, two of them are brothers, though the district didn't know it when they were being interviewed. Roger Padgett, high school math, and his brother Glenn, middle school math, were also hired on as head and assistant coaches, respectively, for the high school girls basketball team.

Guerin Earhart was hired on as the new middle school science teacher and Terry Arnell will be taking over for a retiring Diana Hill in the middle school special education department.

Also in special education, Charlotte Kelly, who received a Reduction In Force letter at the end of the school year, was hired back to her old position at the high school by way of a temporary waiver. The waiver, issued by the district, allows her to continue teaching while she works to get her new teaching certification over the next few months.

The board approved the hiring of several coaches, including Ned Bittner as the new head football coach at IHS, Lonee Fitzer as JV volleyball coach, James Maggs as eighth-grade volleyball coach and Patrick Schenk Jr. as seventh-grade volleyball coach.

The board also approved the retirement of Tom Akerlund as principal at Hilltop School and long-time classified assistant at Long Beach Elementary, Norma Daniel.

Facilities update

Board member Jim Sayce reported from the facilities committee that the ventilation project at Hilltop School was finally complete.

They are now working to find a new site for the Tlohon-nipts Alternative School to meet, with their current building being used by the consolidated Ocean Beach Elementary School the next two years. They are currently looking at existing district facilities and the possibility of renting a space - the former office of Strand Insurance is one option. Another option may be Sea Resources Watershed Learning Center in Chinook, where the school often works on joint projects with the hatchery. Any decision is waiting to be decided until Tlohon-nipts Principal Fred Dust returns from vacation.

In new business, the board approved the school calendar for the impending school year and the purchase and installation of a four-post bus lift. The calendar practically mirrors that of last year, save for the addition of waiver days the three days before schools starts for all district teachers. Last year, only the teachers at the high school were given the waiver days, but with its success, it has been expanded to all schools.

"This will be a real good opportunity to get everyone on the same page," said Lockyer.

The bus lift will be used to repair school district buses and will be located at the bus barn.

The general fund accounts payable for July was approved at $277,845.02, as was the July capitol projects fund at $43,502.24. The board also approved the July ASB fund at $3,906.53 and the July payroll at $604,016.64.

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