The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current, September 15, 2005, Page Page 19, Image 19

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    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
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
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
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-
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
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
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
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-
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
• Approved hiring Lindsey
Dunkel as fifth grade teacher,
head softball coach and high
school assistant volleyball
• Approved Justin Ward as
middle school assistant volley-
ball coach.
• Approved Kara Bjorklund
and Lorrie Webb to share the
position of high school activities