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509-J OKs agreement for second high school

Madras Elementary will partner with BestCare for student counseling

   Details of the "New Start School" agreement, which would establish a second small high school within the 509-J School District, were presented Monday night by Julie Lafayette, who has been appointed as the program director.
   At the school board meeting, Lafayette said the school would open for the 2007-08 year, would start with 60 students and build up to an enrollment of 350, and would have a ratio of 15 students per teacher.
   The new high school will target students who have not been successful in a traditional school setting, and will offer them something different -- lots of teacher contact, individualized learning plans, internships at local businesses, and community service opportunities.
   The school will be open to all 509-J students by application, and is not just for struggling students. "This is an optional program," Supt. Guy Fisher said, adding, "Often (the phrase) `alternative school' has a negative connotation."
   In other business, Steve Earnest was elected as this year's new board chairman and Julie Quaid as the new vice chair.
   Due to a split vote among the four board members present, on the amount of salary increase to offer supervisory and confidential employees, the matter was tabled until the next meeting so Earnest could cast the deciding vote. (He was absent on Monday night).
   Madras Elementary has received a $10,000 state grant to form a partnership with BestCare Treatment Services to provide counseling services to students. The funds come from a "Healthy Kids Learn Better" grant.
   In other business:
   . In a three to one vote, the land exchange with the city of Madras was approved, trading six acres by Westside Elementary for 20 acres in the Madras Land Development subdivision east of town.
   . The high school's transition program for special education students ages 18 to 21 will be moving to the former COCC building in the Third Street complex. A two-year lease was approved.
   . The donation from Central Oregon Seeds Inc. of a "Catch and Shoot" machine valued at $5,100 for the MHS basketball program was approved.
   . Under personnel: Resignations were accepted from Susan Turrell (from health teacher job, but will accept reassignment as ESL teacher), Sheri Irion, Dawn Miller, Earl Simmons, and Roy Gould (as tennis coach).
   New hires included Trenton Kropf was hired as an assistant football coach at MHS; JCMS teachers: Jennifer Hoch, Jack Goodman, Marilyn Bird (counselor), Stephen Dippel, Margaret Schindler and Melissa Culbertson. Madras Elementary teachers Shelley Johnson and Thomas Wheeler and Big Muddy Elementary teacher Dena Palmaymesa.
   New administrators hired included: David Davis, assistant principal for JCMS, and Sarah Braman-Smith, assistant principal for MHS.