Wallowa school superintendent John Nesemann informed the school board Monday night, Feb. 9, that it may be time to require that all high school students take at least one algebra class. He said that math test scores are not what he would like and that it may be time "to raise the bar. Looking at our test results I don't think there is any way around it," he said.
Nesemann said that he was addressing the school board on the matter, then would feel out math teachers. At present the high school requires two years of math to graduate, and could increase the requirement to three years. Students who do not wish to take algebra can now take pre-algebra and consumer math.
He said that two math teachers retired last year and were replaced, because of budget constraints, by one. "At present we have five math classes taught by teachers who are not certified in math," he said.
The board agreed with the superintendent that it would not be a good use of time to address budgetary cutbacks prompted by the defeat of Measure 30 until legislative revenue projections are made available in late February or early March. The matter will be on the agenda at the March 8 board meeting. Nesemann was instructed to find amenable meeting dates within the two weeks following March 8 for staff and community meetings concerning what cuts need to be made.
Superintendent Nesemann again addressed the school board on the issue of ceiling leaks in the library building. He also spoke about a former classroom directly below the library that requires attention. Some board members will take a tour of the roof problems before the issue again comes on the agenda in March.
The board voted to retain Air Life insurance family coverage for full time district employees covered by school insurance. The coverage was granted two years ago and would lapse March 7. "It is a good faith gesture and it really does not cost very much," said board member Keith Bird. Nesemann estimated the cost to the district at between $2,200 to $2,400.
High school seniors Lynique Oveson and Drew Mahon addressed the board about their proposed senior sneak beginning in late May. Oveson outlined a trip to the Six Flags theme park at Tacoma, Wash., and Mahon a trip to Silverwood at Coeur D'Alene, Idaho.
The board approved either trip the senior class selected as long as a minimum of four chaperones accompanied the 25 or 26 class members expected to make the trip.
The first shipment of 13 Dell computers ordered as part of a bulk order through the education service district is at the school and will be installed within the next week. Nesemann said that they would be placed in the vocational lab, yearbook class and physics lab and cost $1,200 apiece, a savings, he said, of $200 to $300 for each computer. Ten more Macintosh computers will be ordered at a later date.
Nesemann informed the board of a long range study being made through Wallowa Resources to possibly heat the school with wood chips. Such a use of forest products is currently being done in Darby, Mont. "If we could cut our heating costs and use wood for air conditioning it could be a savings," said Nesemann.