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School district adjusts boundaries

Metolius enrollment will be up by 56

   A boundary change was approved which will increase Metolius Elementary's enrollment by 56 students, raising it from 218 to 274 students.
   Superintendent Kay Baker said boundary "Option 2," which 509-J board members approved Monday night, added students to the Metolius school in order to balance class sizes, eliminate the need for a blended third/fourth grade classroom, and balance the socioeconomic student mix. It also did not require additional bus routes.
   The change will give Metolius Elementary an average of 24 students per classroom.
   "Option 2 made the most sense for transportation, and also ranked highest among elementary school principals, because it didn't divide existing neighborhoods," Baker said, referring to three options presented to the public.
   The new Metolius boundary begins in the south along U.S. Highway 97 at Dover Lane, goes east on Dover to South Adams Drive, then north on Adams to J Street, and west on J Street to Highway 361. It then travels north on Highway 361 to G Street, then in a straight line west to the railroad tracks. It continues north along the tracks to Willow Creek, then west along the creek to the Deschutes River at Pelton Dam.
   "We will send letters to the affected families, so they will know where their students are assigned for next year," Baker said.
   Westside Elementary's playground will live on after the school closes. 509-J is now in discussions with the city of Madras over the city taking over the playground area as a city park.
   "The Westside playground is really the play area for the west side of town. The play equipment is concreted-in and not really movable. It's never the same if you dig it up," Baker said.
   She said the city seemed interested and excited about the idea.
   Under personnel, resignations were accepted from P.E. teacher Collin Brooks; seventh grade science teacher Jennifer Brooks, JCMS and MHS music teacher Jacqueline Fortier; and Madras Elementary kindergarten teacher Amy Love.
   A presentation was made by the MHS Equestrian Team to have its members be able to letter in sports. Team leaders learned at the board meeting that a memorandum of understanding had been drawn up with the previous team leaders, and in order to change anything, a revision of the memorandum would need to be negotiated. This will be discussed at a future board meeting.
   Kent Wright made a presentation on the urgent need for repairs to the MHS tennis courts. He said the Madras Tennis Association intends to conduct a fundraising drive to raise $75,000 to resurface the courts.
   "There has been a dramatic increase in deterioration in the courts. There are cracks as wide as a tennis ball," Wright said.
   When the community originally funded the then state-or-the-art tennis courts, there was a verbal agreement for the school district to maintain the courts by doing crack repair. But over the years, this wasn't done consistently, Wright said.
   "Our request is for 509-J to honor the agreement to maintain the courts by putting not less than $1,000 per year in a fund for maintenance," he said.
   "What used to be a showcase has gotten to the point that it's embarrassing and a safety concern," Wright said.
   Board member Brad Holliday made a motion for the tennis association to draw up a memorandum of understanding for a maintenance fund for consideration at a future board meeting. The motion passed.
   A new 2008-09 calendar was approved, which has three instead of just two parent conference days, and adds a half-day for teachers to do report card grading and do preparation work for the next trimester's classes.