School Board adopts 05-06 budget, with $1 levy rate

June 25, 2005

School Board members looked at options within the Local Option Wednesday before deciding on levying $1 per assessed valuation to help restore programs in the 2005-06 Hood River County School District budget.

Board member Mike Oates cast the sole dissenting vote against Board Resolution 04-05/24, to adopt the $47.9 million budget and make appropriations and impose taxes.

The board chose to levy $1 out of a possible $1.50 per thousand, under the Local Option passed by voters in November 2001. Oates had lobbied for a levy of 50 cents per thousand, which he called a “compromise” amount.

“I can’t personally support doing the opposite of what we said we would do,” Oates said, referring to district pledge not to use Local Option money for facilities or land purchases.

Hood River resident Dave Dockham, the only person to comment on the budget, told the board that levying $1 per thousand would go against the spirit of what the district told the community in requesting the Local Option.

“You said you would not use the Local Option for buildings,” Dockham said.

Board member Jan Veldhuisen Virk replied, “We said we’d restore the cuts. We did restore the cuts. Before that we had totally eliminated that (land acquisition) fund.”

Technically, the Local Option revenue, projected at $800,000, will be used for staffing and instructional programs, including adding back teaching and classified positions cut from the district budget a year ago.

However, the district recently came into State School Funding money totalling about $1.1 million, which the state allotted the district based on the 2003-04 school year. At its June 8 meeting, the school board decided to allot $1 million of that belated money to the district land acquisition fund, which had stood at $500,000 until two years ago when it was tapped out in order to sustain programs.

Including the state money in the 2005-06 budget enables the district to restore the land acquisition fund, and to make the payment of $400,000 for four portables, which the board approved in May.

But Oates argued that the district could cut the Local Option to 50 cents and afford the portables, revive the land acquisition fund, and restore jobs. One way to do that would be to pay for the portables out of the 2001 bond construction funds, which was the district’s initial plan before the infusion of the 2003-04 funds.

Board member Ramona Ropek stated that the budget as adopted “is an opportunity to invest for the students. People who live in the area want a quality school district.”

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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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