Despite the fanfare and hoopla surrounding a new contract between the Brookings-Harbor School District and its teachers, the final agreement was quietly approved by the school board Monday before a nearly empty room.
Board members Jeanne Sever and Brian Larsson, who served as the negotiating team for the district, said they reached an agreement with the teachers union, Brookings-Harbor Education Association, on compensation and insurance packages.
I was very pleased at how the talks went, said Sever. Ive been on negotiating teams before and things can get nasty sometimes. But this was a pleasure. There were no arguments and everyone was extremely professional and cordial.
Larry Anderson, the board member who seemed to be the most wary of expenditures on almost every issue, said, Im glad there was a settlement and I hope the morale will be reflected in the teachers.
He added, But its a double-edged sword. Of course, employees are always looking for ways to improve their lives, but there is a cost, and I hope this becomes a well talked-about subject for some time.
The revenue stream is flat, but the overhead is increasing. Down the road, the piper will have to be paid. Eighty percent of the cost of running this district is personnel. Weve had to make (budget) cuts, and in the future these cuts are going to have to be more and more frequent.
Board member Bill Ferry said, I was a doubting Thomas (that an agreement would be reached). I want to commend Brian and Jeanne for doing a wonderful job. After talking to the OSBA, I feel that this contract is not out of line, but rather conservative compared to most districts.
In other business, the board considered renewing the contract agreement with the city for School Resource Officer, Curt Fox.
Anderson expressed concern about Foxs $37,000 price tag.
Brookings-Harbor High School Principal Floyd Strandberg and Azalea Principal Mike Dillenburg both agreed that the presence of a uniformed officer helped minimize unfavorable incidents at the schools.
It also represented the policeman as a friendly, accessible figure to students, Strandberg said.
Dillenburg also pointed out that the SRO officer had a drug-sniffing dog that could be utilized on a regular basis or immediately following a tip-off.
In other business, the board decided to begin working to update the Oregon School Board Association policy manual to bring it up-to-date and address legal concerns. The manual has not been updated since 1988.
Although the manual was not on the agenda, the motion was made following community member Pat OHaras request that the board clarify its policy and procedure for placing items on its meeting agenda.
Larsson responded that although the board encouraged public input, not all requests could be honored, and only about 5 percent of requests get put on the agenda.
The board members then discussed updating the manual to identify controversial issues and eliminate any gray areas in policy language.