> A shortage of bus drivers may cause the 509-J School District to have to contract out with a private bus company. At the Monday night board of directors meeting, Superintendent Guy Fisher said some bus drivers are doing double duty, and they are struggling to drive routes as well as drive buses for sports activities.
"We may have to contract with a private company for the team trips," he said.
Fisher also reported that the district could lose irrigation water rights on its 59-acre Loucks Road property if it doesn't use some water by Oct. 12. Water hasn't been used on the property for nearly five years. Fisher and the school attorney are working on meeting the requirements in time.
Student representative, senior Marco Perez was introduced and updated board members on high school activities. He is a member of the MHS leadership class.
Julie Lafayette, future principal of 509-J's proposed small high school, said names for the school were discussed at the last design team meeting.
A name the group favored was Willow Creek Community High School, but they would also like to get input from the public on a name for the school. People with ideas can contact Lafayette at 475-6192.
Overcrowding concerns in a Madras Elementary first grade classroom with 31 students has been solved by hiring an extra teacher, Jacqueline Minikis, and the class will be split into two classes.
"Thirty-one students in a first grade room was not acceptable," Fisher said.
As for the oversized kindergarten classrooms at Warm Springs Elementary (two rooms with 28 students and one with 27), Fisher said he and principal Dawn Smith had "walked every nook and cranny of the school, but there's no more room for another class."
To help, he said each room has received a teaching assistant, but next year a portable classroom may have to be brought in as the number of students continues to grow. Total district enrollment is now at 3,060 students.
Under personnel, new teacher hires included Ramona Kaloi as a sixth grade teacher at Jefferson County Middle School (was a temporary last year), and Jacqueline Minikis for Madras Elementary first grade.
Madras resident Dennis Young will be the new drama club advisor, replacing Dorian Haugen, who has taken an hourly job with the 509-J district which prevents her from accepting extra advising or coaching positions due to federal hour and wage laws.
Young, who owns Madras Bowl, has participated in speech and drama clubs, choir and vocal training, piano, dance and summer children's theater.