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Orrick district cuts Cat Club school program

By Russ Green, Senior Writer

With one new face, the Orrick Board of Education met Monday night in the school library with several items on the agenda. With only two candidates filing for the two open positions on the board, no election was held. Paul Werle is the newest member of the board as he fills the spot vacated by longtime member Tim Tywman, who decided not to seek another term.
Both Werle and Art Endsley were sworn in for their terms and Endsley was re-elected board president. Mike Arnold was elected vice president. Karen McGlothlin was voted in as treasurer, Sandra McAfee, as secretary, along with Jenny Miller as MSPA delegate and Werle as the alternate.
Superintendent Aerin O’Dell discussed the continued reduced state funding for preschool by the state.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “State funding has decreased more and more the last few years and it is possible that by fiscal year 2016 there will be no funding at all. We will need to decide whether or not to use district funds to support preschool very soon.”
O’Dell suggested that a sliding scale re-imbursement tuition might be something the board could look into.
The board also voted, reluctantly, to discontinue the Cat Club before- and after-school child care program following this school year. The club has been in existence for approximately six to seven years, but has been losing money the past few years mostly due to the declining number of those attending.
Michelle Becker, the elementary school principal said that there are fewer then eight attending in the morning and anywhere between three to 10 during the afternoon session.
“We have lost a lot of kids in the district,” O’Dell explained. “Since 2008, we’ve lost around 83 kids. We might not have as much need for the program because we don’t have as many kids.”
The program will lose around $8,000 this year after losing approximately $4,500 the year before.
“It’s been a little up and down,” O’Dell said. “One year it was $2,000 lost, but about three years ago, it was around $250.”
Current enrollment costs for the program are $5 a day for the morning and $8 a day for the afternoon for part-time. Full-time costs are $18 per week in the morning and $23 a week in the afternoons, and $32 per week for both morning and afternoons.
Money to support the Cat Club comes from the District’s general fund, and board member Jason Lafferty asked if that money could be re-directed to help fund the preschool. Each board member related how sad they were to see the program discontinued, but all agreed that it was best to shut it down after this year.
• The board also voted on the new salary schedule for the 2013-14 school year. The board voted an increase of $500 to bring the base salary to $31,000. There will also be an increase in the district’s longevity schedule, which replaces the career ladder. Those in the district from 6 to 11 years will receive an extra $500; those in the district from 12 to 17 years receive an extra $1,000; those from 13 to 18 years receive an extra $1,200 and those from 24 to 29 years will receive and extra $1,500.
The board will also contribute $50 a month toward the HSA health care.
• The board accepted the resignations of Laura O’Dell and Lori Battagler. Pattie Smith resigned as full time, but was approved as part-time. Danielle Conklin was hired as a probationary teacher for 2013-14. The board also approved several extra duty assignments as well as hiring Summer School teachers for 2013.
• The next meeting of the Orrick Board of Education is May 20, at 7 p.m.

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