School District will receive a $2.1 million bump

Hood River County School District received a well-timed windfall on Monday.

The district learned over the weekend that it will receive an additional, and unexpected, $2.1 million in state school support funding over the next two school years.

Finance director Nick Hogan presented the budget news to the committee, saying that the surprise, one-time-only infusion of funds for the next biennium came as a result of the way the state Department of Education now calculates each district’s share of state school funding based on numbers of charter school students.

It stems from House Bill 3417, enacted in January 2011. HRCSD currently has no charter students, but it did in 2011-12, with the former Dos Mundos program. Under HB 3417 the school support distribution is based on the fact that the district had 259 charter students at that time. The district’s one-time share works out to about $8,000 per charter student, the state average.

The news meant Monday’s first meeting of the district budget committee was much shorter than scheduled, as the district’s administrative cabinet will meet and take another look at the 2013-14 budget in light of the additional funds.

A new budget committee meeting was added, May 20 at 6:30 p.m. at HRVHS library, at which time the committee will get its first look at the retooled budget, according to board chair Jan Veldhuisen Virk.

Superintendent Charlie Beck said the effect on the proposed budget will cut, in about half, the estimated $1.4 million in reductions announced two weeks ago.

“We want to make it sustainable over two years; if we use one-time only dollars to balance a budget, the next year you don’t have those dollars but you still have those elevated costs,” Beck said. “So what you try to do is anticipate what it would take over two years, so we know about what we will get next year, and we want to make sure this will help us cover two years.”

Virk said, “Our goal is still to remain sustainable, and we’re going to have to be really careful and remember that this is one-time money, as wonderful as it is, and it is wonderful.

“It’s great news but its going to be really important as a district that we’re going to have to figure out how to be sustainable and not see this as another year’s ‘okay, we get to keep going.’ So we need to be cautious with this money,” Virk said.

Board member Liz Whitmore was elected budget committee chair and community member Chip Dickenson was named vice chair. HB 3417 is now taking effect based on the time lag involved in writing and putting into place the specific procedures for enacting the law, according to school board member Mark Johnson, who is also a state legislator.

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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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