CANYON CITY - Student-athletes in Grant School District No. 3 will find a fresh stable of coaches awaiting them next school year.
Four months ago, the school board accepted the resignation of head basketball coach Mike Workman.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 11, the school board will meet and review a consent agenda which includes the hiring of Brad Smith to replace Workman. Head girls' basketball and volleyball coach Adam Barrett also is on the agenda. He has decided to work as a head coach and physical education teacher at a larger high school in the Seattle area.
In March, the board accepted the resignation of cheerleading adviser Cindy Lemcke. According to officials at Grant Union High School, Marissa Allen, manager of Figaro's Pizza in John Day, is the top candidate to replace Lemcke.
At Wednesday's meeting, the school board also will vote on the resignations of Doug Sharp from the position of assistant girls' basketball and assistant baseball coach; and of Randy Hennen as assistant wrestling coach.
A new coaching staff has been assembled piecemeal in recent months. In March, the school board hired Sam Cronin and Brian Delaney as assistant high school baseball coaches in a job-share position. The board also hired Jake Bacon as Mt. Vernon Middle School track coach. When the board voted unanimously to accept the non-renewal of Barrett as a probationary Spanish teacher for 2003-2004, however, two key coaching positions - for girls' basketball and volleyball - were poised to come open.
Nobody has been identified as a replacement for Barrett, according to high school officials. Prior to Barrett, Matt Thatcher coached girls' basketball through the 2000-2001 year and served as counselor an additional year before he moved to Turner; and a string of coaches headed the volleyball program, including Patti Retherford, before her move to coach at Madras, and Denise Lovell, who followed her in 2001-2002.
In a non-sports related item at this week's meeting, the consent agenda includes a letter of intent to retire by economics and U.S. history teacher Chris Labhart.
In a separate part of the June 11 agenda, the school board is scheduled to approve fall and winter coaching recommendations for 2003-2004.
Also under unfinished business is a skate board park proposal.
Jessie Lewis, advocate for Friends of Skateboarders, has approached the school board for an endorsement of a skateboard park in Grant County. The request has been taken under consideration by both the school board and the John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation District board. The school board had declined to approve the Blue Mountain Junior High School campus as a site for a potential skate park, but the group has suggested the Seventh Street Complex as a likely venue.
In other business:
The school board is weighing a proposed increase of $4,700 to $5,300 for next year's interdistrict tuition agreement. This agreement between school districts reimburses District No. 3 for the cost of educating students from neighboring communities. However, county and state funding continues to flow to the resident districts - resident district officials still voice concerns that they cannot afford a hike in the per-student rate given tight budget times.
Fees continue to rise as the school district faces tight budgets. Already, the school board has approved fee increases for meals. On May 14, the board raised the price of breakfast from $1 to $1.25; lunch from $1.75 to $2 at the high school; lunch at Mt. Vernon Middle School from $1.50 to $1.75; and adult salads from $1.75 to $2 and adult meals from $2.50 to $2.75. The increased fees are expected to raise an additional $5,457 next year.
The school board may increase pay-to-play athletic program fees at the high school. Principal Mark Witty recommended an increase of $35 to $50 with a family cap of $200. The proposal also includes admission charges to freshman and junior varsity events and the Spring Break Baseball Tournament. The revenue would help offset the cost for officials.
A budget hearing will precede the regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. Personnel spending may be brought before the trustees. At the May 14 board meeting, Chris McKinley, representing the classified employees union, warned the board that health insurance costs have become a burden to classified employees. McKinley reported that the average annual pay for a classified, non-certified employee is just over $15,000 a year, but each eligible employee pays an average of nearly 12 percent of their annual income toward health insurance. Some members pay has much as 40 percent of their income on health insurance, McKinley warned, while she said administrators and teachers pay only about .5-.65 percent of wages for health insurance.
After the meeting, Superintendent Newell Cleaver acknowledged that health insurance costs have pounded the district's bottom line.
"It's a very legitimate concern that they have. This school district is trying to deal with it with the funds available," he said. "Insurance has shot up drastically in the last three or four years."