The Brookings school board this week named Bruce Raleigh as its newest member to fill the vacancy left Bob Horel.
The school board also announced at its regular meeting Wednesday that the district was dropping an investigation being made into Brookings-Harbor High School coach after complaints had been voiced by parents and students during the June school board meeting.
New board member
Raleigh will fill the seat for the remainder of Horel’s term, which ends June 30, 2015. The board also voted to keep Jamie Ryan as the board’s chairwoman and Katherine Johnson as vice chairwoman.
Raleigh ran for a school board position in May, but lost the race to Johnson. He has served as part of the school district’s budget committee, is a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America, and works as a computer consultant.
“It’s overwhelming. For many years I have been involved with the school board and I have tried to attend meetings,” Raleigh said. “I am definitely interested in education system and how it will benefit students.”
Investigation no longer being pursued
Superintendent Brian Hodge said that an investigation against the basketball coach was on hold for the time being.
During the June school board meeting, several students and parents voiced complaints about the girl’s basketball coaches. The school district later informed them to submit a formal written complaint.
Two written complaints were submitted to the school district and were turned over to an investigator with the district’s insurance company, PACE.
“The complaints were against both (the head and assistant girl’s basketball coach), but specifically against the assistant coach,” Ryan said in a phone interview. “It is not being pursued any further at this point. The investigator pursued all the evidence they received. As of now, the district will not be taking any action.”
The assistant coach decided not to continue as coach this year.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Debbie McDonald said the students who had complained about the coaches had been told they would be allowed to voice their complaints at an executive session of the school board, but the meeting had been canceled.
Ryan said there would not be an executive session, because of the investigation into the coaches had been pursued and there was nothing more to do.
New activities policy requested
Several parents requested the district create a new policy that would allow students to have excused absences for early morning classes the day following a school sponsored activity that goes past midnight.
The parents said that many times buses arrive past midnight, especially when games are in far off locations — such as Florence or Sutherlin. If those games occur on a weeknight, most likely the students will not receive a full night’s rest, especially those who live upriver who need to be up by 6:30 to make their bus.
The parents said the students should be allowed to have at least six hours of sleep and that, in the past, the school allowed students who arrived late from activities to be excused from early morning classes in order to catch up on sleep.
This informal practice, however, was not a written policy and students have been told their absences would not be excused this year.
The board directed Hodge to look into the options and legality of making such a policy. Ryan said the board would like to talk about it at the next meeting.
In other business
•The board discussed its goals during a work session. It looks to improve the district’s graduation rate and test scores. It also discussed limiting public comment to three minutes per person, instead of the usual five, if more than seven individuals want to speak.
•The board heard from Gordon Clay who spoke about bullying’s effect on student health and performance. He encouraged principals to sign an anti-bullying pledge and to implement a new system where students could anonymously report bullying.
•The board approved a request for the seventh-grade trip to San Francisco in February, 2014.
•The board accepted the resignations of Dianne Kinney, former math teacher and dean of students, and Emmett McCutchenne, music teacher, who formerly worked at Azalea Middle School.
•It approved special duty contracts for three assistant coaches. The two high school assistant coaches will be paid $3,429 for the fall season, and the assistant coach at Azalea will be paid $2,058.
•Hodge said the district’s data committee would meet to review new data from test scores and graduation rates.