After 23 years of service, Zone 3 representative's last meeting will be on June 25

The 2017-2018 school year certainly has been a tumultuous one for the Newberg School District, including numerous changes in personnel at various levels of the organization. Van Bossuyt

School board member Melinda Van Bossuyt managed to squeeze in one more change, though, as she announced at last week's board meeting that she will step down at the end of the month.

Van Bossuyt and her husband are set to relocate to California so that she can continue to help care for her mother, who lives near Fresno. Van Bossuyt had already been spending a lot of time caring for her mother in the past few years, but decided to make a permanent move after her son relocated to Monterey. She and her husband are planning to build a new home that will accomodate Van Bossuyt's mother as well.

"I have other family down here, so we said we liked being down here anyway, so we might as well be here," Van Bossuyt said from California last week.

Van Bossuyt sent a letter to the board to inform them of her decision and also read it aloud at the June 12 meeting.

"I have endeavored to serve the patrons of the school district and, especially, the children attending our schools to the best of my ability," Van Bossuyt said at the meeting. "I have served nearly 23 years on the school board. In that time, I learned so much. And just when I thought I had seen it all, something new would come along and I got to learn more. I am grateful for the experience."

Van Bossuyt was first appointed to represent Zone 3 in 1995 before being elected in 1997. She has been the longest-serving member of the board for some time now and her experience has been an asset when new members have joined it. She also shared something that she has used to guide her work on the board.

"A child is only a fourth grader once," Van Bossuyt read from her letter. "That simple statement says it all. It is up to us adults to provide what is needed to educate every student. We must get it right for every single kid, in every grade level, each and every year. Thank you for the privilege of serving the patrons and students of Newberg School District."

Van Bossuyt's term, along with that of recently retired board colleague Debbie Hawblitzel, will expire at the end of June 2019. The board will work to appoint a replacement to serve the rest of the term, but the seat will be open for the next election in May.

Those interested in applying to replace Van Bossuyt as the representative from Zone 3 should contact board secretary Gregg Koskela by calling 503-554-4041 or emailing him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Budget approved

The board also held the final budget hearing of the year June 12 and officially approved the financial plan for the 2018-2019 school year without much further discussion. No community members requested to comment during the last opportunity to do so.

"It certainly wasn't a budget where anybody walked away from it feeling like they're glad we did that, that it was great," board chairman Bob Woodruff said. "But it was what needed to happen and now that it's been resolved, we can focus and move forward."

Calendar changes approved

The board also approved changes to the 2018-2019 school calendar after district staff worked with the teachers union to identify where to cut four days from the coming school year, a decision that came about through the budget process.

The first two days will be taken the week of Thanksgiving, meaning the district will be closed that entire week, Nov. 19-23. The original calendar had called for school to be out three days, Nov. 21-23.

"Thanksgiving week has always been a controversial week," Thomas said. "We've gone three days that week, we've gone two days that week, we've gone no days that week just in the 10 years that I've been doing this. I think that taking those days that week makes as much sense as anything."

The other two days, April 26 and May 24, are both Fridays, with the second preceding Memorial Day weekend.

"The staff took a good, logical approach to it," Thomas said. "There's that hope that if things become a bit more optimistic financially that with those later days that we can get one or both of those back."

Board meetings moving to Monday nights

At the request of director Mindy Allison, the board also discussed the possibility of moving its own meetings away from Tuesday nights.

Allison's son is set to be a senior on the basketball team, which plays games on Tuesdays and Fridays, so she wanted to see if the board was open to moving its meetings for the 2018-2019 school year.

The options were eventually identified to be Mondays or Thursdays and the board inquired with incoming interim superintendent Joe Morelock as to which would be better for district office staff, ultimately opting for Mondays.

Thomas noted that the board had previously moved from Mondays to Tuesdays to better accommodate district staff, for whom Mondays had become extra busy and long, but could not recall when that decision was made.

"Joe was there and we looked to him to get confirmation that another night would be okay and he really preferred Monday over Thursday," Thomas said. "Wednesday is still traditionally a church activity night, so it was a pretty simple solution and decision."

There will be some exceptions to meeting on Mondays, including the first meeting of the new school year, which will be held July 13, a Wednesday, and the meeting the week of Memorial Day will be held on a Tuesday night.

The board will not vote on the changes until the June 26 meeting. Also on the agenda for that meeting are a report on the annual climate and culture survey, an update on the long range facilities planning process and possibly a discussion about upgrades to the HVAC system at Newberg High School.

School briefs

Vance earns degree from Gonzaga University

SPOKANE, Wash. – Newberg student Sarah Vance graduated magna cum laude from Gonzaga University as part of commencement ceremonies held May 13 at Veterans' Memorial Arena. Vance was also named to the president's list for the spring semester 2018 for posting a grade-point average of 3.85 or higher.

Safety Town seeking youth volunteers

The Chehalem Park and Recreation District is seeking middle school students to volunteer as counselors at its annual Safety Town camp from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 6-10. Applications are available online at or at the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center and due by Friday.

Newberg High reunion set

Newberg High School alumni that have been graduated for 50 years or more are meeting from 1 to 4 p.m. Aug. 12 at the A-dec Inc. cafeteria, 2601 Crestview Drive.

Reunion chairman Ken Carsley (Class of 1961) said the reunion will be a great time to share memories and experiences with friends and classmates.

There will be tables available to display personal memorabilia as well.

Attendance is free and open to all graduates from 1968 and older. Last year's event saw graduates from the class of 1940 to 1967.

For more information, call Carsley at 503-538-5849.

Sydney Brentano earns scholarship to OSU

Northwest Farm Credit Services has awarded 84 students from its five-state territory each $2,000 toward college tuition. Among the 22 awards distributed to students in Oregon, one is St. Paul High School graduate Sydney Brentano. In the fall, Brentano plans to attend Oregon State University.

Summer meals program under way

The Newberg School District's summer meal program began this week and will run Monday through Friday until Aug. 24.

The program will operate at five different sites around town, including for both breakfast and lunch at Edwards Elementary School. Breakfast will run from 8 to 8:30 a.m., with lunch to follow from 11 a.m. to noon. Four other sites around town are hosting lunch Monday through Friday, including Pool Park and Deskins Commons from 11 a.m. to 11:30. The Newberg Public Library will serve lunch from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., with a final session running from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. near the skateboard and bmx tracks at the Ewing Young Park. There is no charge for any children ages 1 to 18 and no application to fill out. Meals will not be served on July 4.

For more information, call Nutrition Services at 503-554-5016.

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