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Culver School District facing budget cuts next year

By Debbie Lyons
   Culver correspondent
   Recent proposed budget cuts for the next year, drew an audience of people to air concerns at the April 8, Culver school board meeting.
   Several parents, community members and students shared their thoughts on one proposal to make music only a half-time position.
   Steve Gibson said he was concerned with both the decision to propose to cut music, and to cut dollars out of the sports program.
   He shared information from various reports on how music helps students attain better grades in school. "According to the College Board, students involved with music score an average of 100 points higher on SAT test than students who do not (College Board Survey of Sat Test Takers, 2000)," Gibson said.
   He also emphasized that students who are involved in activities like band have lower use of all abusive substances in their lifetimes (1999 Texas Commission on Drug and alcohol Abuse).
   C.J. Piland, a CHS senior, and several other Culver students independently went to the public to obtain 200 signatures from members of the Culver community who do not want the music program cut.
   Piland presented the board with the signatures they collected and expressed how important this program was to him and other students.
   Greg Chapman, music director, came to the board, not as a teacher but as a concerned parent and expressed how music is an "essential component" in students' education. He also shared the fact that three Culver graduates are now pursuing majors in music in higher level education.
   Improvement plans
   Alice Smith presented the Culver School Board with an school improvement update for Culver Middle School. Smith shared the goals for spring of 2008 is for 67 percent of Culver Middle School eighth grade students to meet or exceed the OSAT Language Arts benchmarks and 71 percent of CMS eighth grade students to meet or exceed the OSAT mathematics benchmark.
   She also said that starting in the fall of 2008, the middle school will return to 60 minutes of DI reading and 30 minutes of comprehension. She commented the OSA comprehension scores had dropped since not doing the comprehension this past year.
   Tom Kirk, middle school math teacher, reported 20 eighth grade students took Integrated One Math this year. He said this will enable them to take calculus by their senior year in high school.
   His math students also participated in the World Math Day event online. Students competed with other students worldwide. "They didn't want to leave," he remarked, noting the students enjoyed this competition.
   Middle school will also pilot a new attendance procedures/program in May of this year and the attendance committee will make recommendations for long-term implementation.
   Roy Rogers from Pauly, Rogers and Co. presented the 2006-2007 yearly financial audit via telephone conference call. The auditors found no disagreements with management, no difficulties in performing the audit, no significant audit adjustments and no disagreements about accounting policies or accounting estimates.
   The summary also stated the district's financial records/procedures have been maintained in a professional manner.
   Linda Florence reported on the dropout report from Oregon Department of Education. Oregon's dropout rate for 2006-2007 was 4.4 percent. She said Culver's was 1.85, which is a reduction from the previous year's 2.6 percent rate.