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The board has been busy of late and things will only get more busy as issues arise

With a number of key items on the agenda, the Feb. 25 school board meeting is a pivotal one for the Newberg School District. Among the points of discussion will be a proposed school bond, an environmental education plan and more.

Board members have been monitoring the meetings of a bond steering committee, which has meticulously hashed out over the past several months a plan for the bond. This construction bond is expected to be on the ballot in May and feature major changes throughout the district.

"The entire board will be hearing the proposal at the Feb. 25 board meeting," board chairwoman Brandy Penner said. "That's when we will vote to accept it or not and when we accept it that's when the real work starts. We will be in a position of needing to advocate for it, so we will be part of the effort to reach out to stakeholders, get the word out and answer any questions people might have."

It's not just a school bond that these board members have to worry about – although that is taking up a big chunk of their time these days. Penner said they are undergoing an extensive review of board policies and updating them accordingly. This is all being done with the help of the Oregon School Boards Association.

"We just want to make sure all of our policies are not only up to state law, but also our current practices," Penner said. "Some policies haven't been updated in over a decade and updating them is a massive undertaking that will take about a year and a half."

The budget for 2020-2021 is already being hashed out, too, and Penner said the board and district officials are bracing for the possibility of school bond money flowing in as well as a boon from the Student Success Act. This will mean decisions on how to use that money and how it might improve the local school system.

New board members Dave Brown and Brian Shannon are steadily adjusting to their roles, Penner said, and they've already had a lot on their plate so far.

"It is a steep learning curve," she said. "You not only have to learn about the operations at the district and the schooling system in general, but there's a lot else to learn. Our two newest board members have jumped right in and it's been good to see the commitment they've shown."

Additional items the board has been working on include an annual evaluation of superintendent Joe Morelock and studying of an Environmental Education Continuum crafted by local students and adults. The EEC plan – crafted in large part by NHS graduate Quentin Comus and NHS teacher Pete Siderius – will be presented in full to the board at its Feb. 25 meeting, at which point the board can decide whether to endorse it or review it further.

Also on the agenda for the board meeting: A monthly financial report, technology report and the official vote on whether to move forward with the school bond as currently proposed.

School briefs

PNMC offers scholarships

Providence Newberg Medical Center will award six $1,500 scholarships to area high school students this spring and those students are being invited to apply. Seniors who plan on continuing their education to pursue careers in the healthcare industry can apply by visiting www.providence.org/newberg and filling out an application, with the deadline for mailing it to PNMC set for March 22. Students who live throughout Yamhill and Washington counties are welcome to apply for the scholarships, which have been distributed since 2003.

Creative writing contest open to students

The Arts Alliance of Yamhill County and the Chehalem Cultural Center invite local writers of all ages to submit to their annual creative writing contest. Fiction and nonfiction prose is accepted, 1000 words maximum, as well as traditional, free-verse, Haiku or Place poetry. Some who submit to the contest will make it into the annual Paper Gardens book of prose. Entry is free for children and $10 per entry for adults, and the deadline is Feb. 28. For more information or to get entry forms, visit www.ArtsAllianceYamhillCo.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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