Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, February 01, 2017, Page 16A, Image 16

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    Polk County Education
16A Polk County Itemizer-Observer • February 1, 2017
FCSD’s Thompson
resigns post
Prepping food
Volunteers help prepare
meals during the Polk
Community Connect on
Jan. 25.
The event provided assis-
tance to residents who are
homeless or at risk of
By Jolene Guzman
The Itemizer-Observer
Lukas EggEn/Itemizer-Observer
Falls City plans gym without bond support
By Jolene Guzman
The Itemizer-Observer
FALLS CITY — The Falls
City School Board decided
to stop asking district voters
to pass a bond to build a
gym at Falls City Elementary
Instead, it’s asking for do-
nations and volunteer sup-
port to build a scaled-back
version, providing space for
required physical education
class time and an additional
practice gym for sports.
Board member Bob Young
proposed a barebones build-
ing with heat, a concrete
base floor with a gym floor
placed on top, and two bas-
ketball hoops, and capability
to set up a volleyball net.
The building would be
placed in the field across the
street from the elementary
school instead of the lot next
to the school, which will cut
down on the excavation
needed to construct the
gym, Young said.
He said with more PE
minutes required next year
and more classroom space
needed, the building is a
Currently, elementary stu-
dents take a bus down to the
high school gym for PE
“I don’t think I would be
talking this way if we were
just talking about sports.
The PE issue brings the
whole thing together as a
crisis,” Young said. “Some-
thing needs to be done.”
Young believes, if planned
correctly, the building would
cost less than $500,000. He
said the district would have
seek a loan, grant funding,
and donations from busi-
nesses and individuals to get
it done.
“It’s going to be a big proj-
ect, but I know we can do it
because I know that I can
get enough people to help
do it,” he said. “It comes
down to the board having
faith that we can do some-
thing like this and pull it off.”
Board member Kristy
Major asked if the plan
meant that the district
would no longer seek a
voter-approved bond to
build the gym. Voters have
rejected that proposal twice
by slim margins.
Board Chairwoman Jami
Kidd said she didn’t believe a
third time would bring a dif-
ferent result.
“I think we’ve done it
twice in a row. I think that
people are a little con-
cerned, not knowing what
their health care costs are
going to be, what life is
going to hold. They don’t
want increased taxes,” she
Elementary Principal Art
Houghtaling said the pro-
posal worried him because if
the budget is tight, the cost
would mean cutting staff.
Board member Larry Sick-
les estimated if the district
had to borrow the full cost of
the building, it would cost
about $25,000 per year to
pay for it.
He said that’s a figure he’s
comfortable with. He point-
ed to the latest financial re-
port that the district — with
all its regular bills covered,
including payroll, insurance
costs and utilities — would
have more than $350,000 left
at the end of the year.
That didn’t include unex-
pected repair costs, teaching
supplies not requested yet,
and FACES expenses. Sickles
estimated that still left the
district with $200,000 or
more in the bank at the end
of the year.
A new gym isn’t the only
improvement the district’s
looking at completing with
an out-of-the-box plan.
The original, bond-fund-
ed gym project would have
included a new kitchen and
Now that is no longer in
the plan, but John Gilbert,
the district’s facilities man-
ager, has an idea to address
the issue.
It would begin this sum-
mer with demolishing the
stage in the elementary
school cafeteria, creating
more room for tables and for
the kitchen.
The additional room
would provide enough space
to add coolers, prep tables
and a long-awaited dish-
He said the remodel
would be expensive, but
could be completed and
saved for in stages. Amy
Houghtaling, FACES coordi-
nator, said grants are avail-
able for school kitchen ex-
pansions, too.
“We would almost double
our kitchen,” Gilbert said.
“We have a kitchen that you
actually cook in.”
Thompson, the superinten-
dent of Falls City schools,
has resigned effective at the
end of June.
Thompson submitted his
resignation during the Jan.
24 Falls City School Board
meeting as part of his su-
perintendent’s report.
“Lastly on my report, I
handed to all of you folks
my resignation as of June
30 of this year,” he said.
The board accepted his
resignation later in the
meeting and scheduled an
executive session to discuss
the position moving for-
ward. Another executive
session is slated for Feb. 21
before the board’s regular
Thompson said he
turned in his resignation
months before his depar-
ture because he wanted to
give the board plenty of
time to plan its next steps
before the next school
“Hiring a superintendent
is much different than a
teacher,” he said.
Thompson declined to
elaborate on whether he’s
leaving for another position.
He said he gave credit to
the board’s leadership since
he took the position at the
beginning of the 2013-14
school year.
“I appreciate the staff
and students in our
schools,” Thompson said.
“I’ve appreciated that the
board has been working re-
ally hard to make the dis-
trict better.”
In other business, the
• Approved make-up
days for the days the dis-
trict had to cancel school
because of snow and ice.
“After we got all done
with our snow days, at this
moment, we have five days
that we need to make up
for lost days to maintain
our hours,” Thompson
Two days will be confer-
ence days — those are con-
sidered “student contact
days” by the state — on Jan.
27 and Feb. 3.
Added school days are
March 3, April 7 and April 21.
“Those are all Fridays, so
we are not extending our
school year at all and we
aren’t taking any holidays,”
Thompson said.
Elementary Principal
Art Houghtaling said dis-
trict staff kept after-school
program FACES Friday
field trips in mind when
suggesting days, and the
district has more day
available for make-ups if
“We have some more Fri-
days,” Houghtaling said.
Chemeketa offers learning in Mexico
Itemizer-Observer staff report
saLEM — Chemeketa Community College will sponsor a trip
to Oaxaca, Mexico, in June. Participants will attend six classes
during spring term to study and prepare for the trip. The class
sessions give an overview of international development work
practices. The program includes four college credits in humani-
Participates will engage in meaningful community service
with the community residing in Oaxaca’s garbage dump. There
will also be four levels of spanish classes available, from begin-
ner to advanced.
The trip is affiliated with the local agency Friends of Pimpollo
and is open to the community as well as students. Cost of the
trip is $2,000 all inclusive (tuition, air, lodging, activities).
a free information session will be held on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. at
Chemeketa salem Building 9, Room 104.