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District plans STEAM injection


Hillsboro School Board members want to go full STEAM ahead on funding science, technology, engineering, arts and math education.

Board members Tuesday got a first glimpse of a 2014-15 budget that for the first time in seven years will add money back to programs.

District officials expect approximately $6 million more next school year, including more funds from the Oregon Legislature and local property taxes.

A first proposal included $63,000 for STEAM stipends to set up after-school programs. Board member Monte Akers proposed instead using $250,000 to fund the setup for STEAM programs for all schools.

“In this community especially, this needs to be done,” Akers said. “There are people in the schools waiting and ready to do this.”

The budget proposal also called for reducing class sizes by one across the district to 29:1, at a cost of $1.6 million; reducing kindergarten class size to 26:1 ($195,000); reducing first- and second-grade classes to 28:1 ($260,000) and adding back one day to the school year ($465,000).

When asked if class sizes are guaranteed to get smaller, Superintendent Mike Scott said there is no guarantee.

“There will be some averaging,” he said. “It’s not a hard number. It’s our desire to get there at each of those grades.”

The district’s budget committee will hear a complete budget presentation May 8.

Board members unanimously approved the replacement of the grandstand bleachers at Hare Field with new aluminum bleachers, at a total cost of $438,000. TS Gray Construction of Lake Oswego will do the project.

At Glencoe High, school district staff will retrofit the bleachers with wooden bleacher seats and footboards at a cost of $79,000.

Adam Stewart, the district’s chief financial officer, said demolition at Hare Field will begin soon, with the goal of having the construction completed by the time high school football begins in the fall.

Glencoe and Hillsboro high schools use the stadium as home fields.

Stewart said the district will have a contingency plan in place if construction of the grandstands is not completed in time for football season.

The total cost of both grandstand replacement projects is $518,000, well below the original estimate of $800,000, Stewart said.