School board finalizes budget

The Hood River County School District Board of Directors unanimously approved the 2002-03 budget Wednesday. The adoption of the school district budget makes official several personnel cuts and other spending reductions district-wide for the upcoming school year.

“We passed the budget based on the Legislature coming up with the money to fund it,” Superintendent Jerry Sessions said. “We were hoping they’d be done with that by now, but they’re still working on it.” State lawmakers in Salem are mired in their third special session of the year trying to resolve an $860 million budget shortfall.

Despite protests from teachers, administrators and students at the last budget committee meeting in April over the pending cuts, no one came to comment at Wednesday’s meeting — though passing the budget this week was basically a formality.

The district personnel cuts are:

* One full-time 5th grade teacher at Parkdale Elementary School eliminated;

* One full-time 4th grade teacher at Mid Valley Elementary School eliminated;

* One full-time kindergarten teacher at Cascade Locks School reduced to half-time;

* One full-time child development specialist at the elementary level eliminated (the district is in the process of writing a grant for the position in hopes of restoring it);

* One half-time music position at Hood River Middle School eliminated;

* One half-time media specialist position at Wy’east Middle School eliminated;

* One full-time social studies teacher, one half-time media position, one half-time shop position and a one-third time math position at Hood River Valley High School eliminated.

Some of the reductions have come through normal attrition, with staff members retiring or resigning voluntarily, while others have been eliminated due to funding reductions.

Further reductions to the approved budget were made by tightening spending allocations district-wide on instructional supplies, textbooks, equipment and staff development.

In addition, 8½ coaching positions have been eliminated at the high school level, all of them assistant coaching posts. These cuts will keep the district from having to eliminate any programs.

Sessions said the board anticipates increased expenses in the athletic budget when HRVHS sports teams begin traveling to schools in the Intermountain Conference this fall. He said funds had earlier been included in the transportation budget for the possibility of the conference change and the financial effects it will likely have.

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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 to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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