The INDEPENDENT, September 15, 2005 Page 19 Funderburg stops reading of OSSOM letter from Alaska senator From page 5 ceived prior to a hearing, where all sides of a dispute are pre- sented, could be perceived as prejudicing board members. The board has established rules that “…the intent of the district [is] to solve problems and address complaints as close as possible to their origi- nation.” This would require em- ployee concerns to first be ad- dressed by the employee’s su- pervisor (ie., teacher/principal). If the issue is not resolved at this level, it moves up the line of authority through a four-step process of investigation and appeal. Staff members have formal grievance procedures specified by contract. Funder- burg emphasized that nothing in any policy is intended to cir- cumvent any contractual agree- ment, and that the procedure outlined in both the certified and classified contracts should be utilized. There is a similar four-step process for the public. Follow- ing an initial complaint, the building principal or supervisor will make an investigation. An appeal of the principal’s deci- sion could be made to the su- perintendent. The board is pro- hibited from hearing charges against an employee in open session. Quoting from the poli- cy, “To do so could expose the Board to a charge of being par- ty to slander and would preju- dice any necessity to act as the final review …” The only exceptions to the four-step resolution process River City Speedway Results From page 18 Liner. “I’ve had to work hard all year while competing with tough drivers like Fordyce, Smith and Kari Puncochar. I couldn’t ask for a better race car and crew that Marty has provided me with and I wouldn't even be able to compete with- out all their help.” The sportsman division had identical top-two finishes both days as Randy Allen of Sandy, took the checkered flag in the A mains with his John’s Frame Shop/American Tire Monte Carlo. Rainier’s Corey Cook was runnerup twice in his Chevy Lumina, but he contin- ues to lead the series stand- ings, followed by Allen. Tricia “Great” Brittain of St. Helens and Longview’s Jacob Brooks & “Dunn” captured sportsman B main wins. Scappoose driv- ers Kirk Brissett and Tim Williams posted top-five A main finishes Saturday and Tommy Elstoen of St. Helens, had a ca- reer best fourth place A main finish Sunday. Defending street stock champion Scott Puncochar of Hillsboro, who is seeking a third consecutive title, won Sat- urday’s A main and “The En- forcer” Terry Moss of St. He- lens was a close runnerup as his Chevy Malibu was bumper- to-bumper with Puncochar’s Camaro. In Sunday’s street stock events, Portland’s Chris Hall- berg had a spectacular effort as he won the B main in his Marty’s Transmission Pontiac Firebird. The top-two finishers from this event qualify for a spot in the A main at the rear of the 16-car lineup, with Hallberg and Kelso’s Dennis Munger in the last row positions. Hallberg expertly manuevered past his rivals and was side-by-side with frontrunner Jon “Razor” Gillett of Rainier, by the 27th lap on the quarter-mile clay oval track. After three laps of exciting door-to-door racing, Hallberg edged ahead on lap 30 and remained there the last 10 circuits to get the incredible last-to-first, come-from-behind victory. Vernonia’s “Hollywood” Gary Meyer and Warrenton’s Mark Guindon captured the mini stock A mains. Mike Harrison of St. Helens, recorded a season best third place finish in Satur- day’s mini stock main with his Pastime Tavern/Hudson Portable Toilets sponsored Dat- sun. Harrison followed with a sixth place effort Sunday. Scott McMullen of Deer Island, recorded two top-five A main finishes, as he was fourth Sat- urday and fifth on Sunday. are complaints about the su- perintendent. Funderburg re- viewed portions of his contract with the board defining the rela- tionship between the board and the superintendent. The super- intendent has the primary re- sponsibility for execution of Board policy and management of the district (including all per- sonnel matters). The board’s responsibilities are to formulate and adopt policy, establish goals, and the hiring, evaluat- ing and dismissing of the su- perintendent. Funderburg told the board that while certified and classi- fied personnel have contracts with a formal grievance proce- dure, supervisory and confiden- tial employees have a memo- randum of understanding (MOU) that offers less protec- tion. Hansen said that hiring a superintendent was the most difficult task he has ever been asked to accomplish as a board member. To address concerns she has heard from staff members about being fired for making complaints, Wallace asked about a policy approved in 1997 that says staff members “shall refrain from critical or negative comments or discus- sion of each other in the pres- ence of administrators, teach- ers, classified staff, students, parents, board members or other community members”. Funderburg responded that while an employee can be fired “on the spot” for violating policy, this is not how the district oper- ates. He indicated that the dis- trict uses the complaint proce- dures described in its policies and contracts. However, since most disputes are resolved at the building level, appeals to the superintendent or the board are rare. Hansen said that the board is the final decision mak- ing body and reminded the au- dience that personnel and pro- gram comments should be di- rected to the lowest level first. Mike James Horseshoeing 503-755-0305 20 years experience references available Sally Harrison, a longtime Vernonia resident and currently mayor, hesitated to read a letter from her son, a Vernonia High School graduate who is cur- rently serving as a senator in Alaska, concerning funds for the high school OSSOM group. Hansen asked her to begin the letter but, when she read an ac- cusation that Funderburg had made a decision to hold OS- SOM responsible for funds, Funderburg stopped the read- ing, though not before Harrison read a few additional words about Funderburg and the dis- trict not supporting the OSSOM program. Funderburg said that this was a perfect example for ap- plying the policy that the board had just finished discussing be- cause, he explained, he had no knowledge of OSSOM funding and had certainly not made any decision regarding their funds. VHS Principal Curt Scholl was also surprised by the accusa- tion. He told the board that the OSSOM group had ended the year in a deficit because they had not received some expect- ed funds. He said that the group has strong support from students and staff. Harrison presented a check to the high school for the disputed amount. Employee comments Two school employees, Dana Hyde and Gretchen Lin- dauer, spoke to the board. Lin- dauer, who is Food Service Su- pervisor for the district, was re- ferred to the grievance proce- dure for resolution of problems she cannot resolve with her su- pervisor. Hyde, an instructional assis- tant who was moved from the high school to the grade school, told the board that “your facial expressions are seen by everybody,” referring to appar- ently negative reactions of some board members to an ap- peal by students (at the August meeting) to leave Hyde in her position at the high school. Instructional Time Parent Amy Ceiloha told the board that extending the kindergarten hours was “really, really good” and that students would receive twice the educa- tion offered last year. She was, however, concerned about the shortened day at the grade school. Combining a fifteen minute later start and earlier re- lease than last year, with an earlier release time on Friday, she said, instructional hours were reduced by two and a half hours at the grade school. Say- ing she understands the at- tempt to stagger bus loading and unloading, Cieloha said this was too much change. Funderburg presented infor- mation to the board comparing the number of minutes of in- structional time for kindergarten to fifth grade students through- out the county. Clatskanie is the only district in the county that continues to offer half-day kindergarten and has the short- est school day through grade six. As presented, Vernonia had the longest school day in the county, but the figures given did not include early release Fri- days. Wallace and Levenseller agreed to work with Principal Aaron Miller to investigate po- tential changes in the grade school schedule that would facil- itate the arrival and departure of students. They will report their findings at the next meeting. In other business the board: • Accepted the resignation of fifth grade teacher Rachael Camp. • Approved hiring Lindsey Dunkel as fifth grade teacher, head softball coach and high school assistant volleyball coach. • Approved Justin Ward as middle school assistant volley- ball coach. • Approved Kara Bjorklund and Lorrie Webb to share the position of high school activities director.