October 1, 2011 in Washington Voices

WV teacher Teegarden weighs in on budget cuts

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Carla Teegarden, president of the West Valley Education Association and sixth-grade teacher at Centennial Middle School, took the West Valley School Board to task during its meeting Wednesday night after more than 100 teachers showed up at the last meeting to air their concerns about recent program cuts.

After thanking board members for listening, she voiced her frustration about not knowing what the board plans to do about cuts to library services and music in the elementary schools.

She told the board that she had explained to union members to ask for consideration and to advocate for students and families before the Sept. 14 meeting. But she felt the district still needs to have some tough conversations in the coming weeks.

“I do need to talk about money,” she said.

She cited information the public has received about administration pay, the cuts to services and the upcoming levy. She said union members fear the district isn’t moving fast enough to launch a campaign for the February election.

“When are we going to start working on it?” Teegarden asked. “Please give us some direction. People are scared.”

Most school district levies fund, by state law, as much as 28 percent of the year’s budget. The local funds are used to cover programs not covered by basic education by the state.

Along with West Valley, East Valley and Central Valley school districts are expected to place a levy on the ballot in February. Levies need a simple majority of 50 percent to pass.

Superintendent Polly Crowley said the board has not yet approved a resolution to put the levy on the ballot, but it will discuss the matter soon.

“We’re doing a lot of planning for the levy,” she said. The board is expected to discuss the levy during its retreat, which is taking place today in the Outdoor Learning Center, 8706 E. Upriver Drive, at 8:30 a.m.

Central Valley School Board

The Central Valley School Board and the Central Valley Education Association, the teachers union, signed a new contract at the board’s meeting Monday.

The contract includes a salary reduction of 1.9 percent for all teachers. The state recently cut the amount of money it will send teachers by 1.9 percent. The teachers took the cut not only from that state allocation, but from their salary schedule as well.

“I have the utmost respect for this,” said board member Debra Long.

The contract was approved unanimously by the board.

Central Valley kudos

• The Central Valley High School debate team has earned membership in the National Forensic League’s 100 Club for the third year in a row – ranking the team in the top 10 percent in the country.

The NFL started its 100 Club three years ago to honor teams with a high number of active members and earned tournament points.

Coach Roberta Rice said she appreciates the “fantastic middle school debate program that each year sends its graduating eighth-graders to take the place of our graduating seniors.”

There are about 60 students on the team each year.

Amberlynn Weber and Austin Pruitt, both seniors at Central Valley High School, have been included in the 2011 Track & Field High School All-American team of athletes by the U.S. Paralympics.

Both have been competing internationally.

Weber will compete for Team USA at the Parapan American Games taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico, in November.

Pruitt, ranked third in the world in the 200 meters and fourth in the world in the 100 meters, has been named Boys Field Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.

East Valley kudos

Three students at East Valley High School, Kelly Fay, Timothy Gales and Michael Traner, have been named Commended Students in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship Program.

There are about 34,000 commended students nationwide each year, recognized for their academic promise. They placed among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who competed by taking the Preliminary SAT or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Each of the students has been presented with Letters of Commendation.


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