Lost 124 students last year

Options for student transfers were reviewed at the July 28 meeting of the 509-J Board of Directors.

Superintendent Rick Molitor told board members they had three options: they could close interdistrict transfers, set a limit on the number transfers, or open interdistrict transfers to all students (which is what 509-J has been doing).

Molitor said the district had received 30 new student requests for interdistrict transfers for the coming year.

Once a year by state rules, parents can move their child to another school district during a set time period. Forms must be filled out and submitted by April 1. The 509-J district has no control over open enrollment requests to transfer out.

Last year during open enrollment, 509-J had 33 students leave, and accepted 13 students from other districts.

The 509-J District does have control of interdistrict transfers, which are student exchange agreements set by each school district. Last year, 509-J had a total of 109 students transfer out, and received five from other districts, for a net loss of 104 students. Combining interdistrict transfers with open enrollment students, 509-J lost 124 students last year.

Any policy change will not affect students who have already transferred. “Any student on a current transfer cannot be denied their transfer, according to new state legislation,” Molitor said.

“Since open enrollment is available, I think we should take that route and not do interdistrict transfers,” said board member Lyle Rehwinkel.

Board member Brad Holliday agreed, saying, “Open enrollment is a very viable option for them.”

Around 19 Simnasho area students were granted transfers to attend South Wasco County schools in Maupin to spare them hours of bus riding time. They will still be able to attend in Maupin, but the board had questions about their younger siblings, and where they would attend.

Board Chairman Stan Sullivan suggested they close interdistrict transfers, and noted there was a clause for hardship cases to be brought before the board.

Holiday moved the board direct Molitor to adopt the first option, to close interdistrict transfers, which was unanimously approved.

Since this was only the first reading of the proposed policy change, the public still has time for input before a new policy is adopted.

Molitor noted, “We will send a letter to parents to show the direction we’re heading.”

Ribbon cuttings

For Warm Springs K-8 Academy, a formal ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Aug. 27, at the school site. A less formal celebration geared more for kids, will be held from 2-4 p.m., Sept. 4, during the Warm Springs back-to-school barbecue.

Buff Booster Club members Laura Rehwinkel and J.R. Brooks spoke to the board about ideas for the opening of the new Madras High School football stadium and athletic facility.

Laura Rehwinkel requested a committee be set up to do the planning, noting, “We want it done right and done big.”

She said Boosters were leaning toward holding a football scrimmage with a barbecue and ribbon-cutting two weeks before the first football game.

J.R. Brooks said the opening game should be all about the kids and football, and the pomp and circumstance of a ribbon-cutting before the game would take away from that.

The Boosters brought up the possibility of selling season tickets for the special seats in the middle of the stadium, which have backs and arm rests, as a fundraiser.

“Should we offer free gate admission for the first game, as a thank you to our community?” Molitor asked, noting it was possible since it was a nonleague game.

It was decided a Booster Club committee would be formed and come back to the board with recommendations.

In other business:

. Under personnel, Brent Walsh was hired as an assistant principal at Jefferson County Middle School, and Tayt Tolman was hired to teach special education at JCMS. The resignation of JCMS language teacher Erin Holman was accepted.

. An agreement with the city of Madras to provide a school resource officer was approved at a cost of $68,600. The base salary was increased, but the overall cost decreased because the district will not have to pay overtime.

. An agreement for Red Cross, and Forest Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs fire crews to use MHS and JCMS facilities was approved. Red Cross would use them as shelter sites for evacuated people, while fire crews could camp on the school grounds.

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