Budget stall delays start for schools

Board considers change in schedule Wednesday

The unprecedented looks imminent.

Schools are likely to start a week late for 2002-03. Weather, labor strikes or a broken boiler are not to blame.

It’s because of the budget.

With about $400,000 less income for September than budgeted, the Hood River County School District School Board will meet Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. at the district office, to decide if school will be postponed until Sept. 9 in order to cut costs.

Superintendent Jerry Sessions sent a letter Aug. 19 informing parents that he will recommend delaying the school year if the State Legislature did not override both of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s budget vetoes. The school payment bill was the only veto the Legislature overrode.

The district will lose $380,000 following the failure to override the veto of HB 4056, the cigarette bonding bill.

The result is a reduced August state school payment for August, the money the schools use to start the year, and the need for adjustments in September.

Meanwhile, the state is forecasting another $100-300 million revenue shortfall in September, and the Legislature is facing a fifth Special Session to deal with the protracted budget impasse.

“It’s frustrating,” Sessions said. “We’re in these positions (in education) because we feel we can make a difference and then here you are hanging in limbo all the time.”

“The hardest part of it is not knowing what will happen,” said Terri Vann, Westside Elementary principal, whose staff has been telling parents that the delay is likely.

“It still depends on the board delaying it, but until it’s official, we have to say to parents, ‘keep an eye on the paper, and listen to the radio,’” Vann said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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