SPS SENIORS EARN $4+ MILLION IN SCHOLARSHIPS

For the 2019-2020 school year, Springfield Public Schools graduating seniors were awarded a total of $4,105,617 in scholarships. 

Springfield High School had 273 graduates, with 32 students awarded $2,230,282 from 46 scholarships. Thurston High School had 252 graduates, with 28 students awarded $300,950 from 58 scholarships. Academy of Arts and Academics (A3) had 44 graduates with 11 students awarded $1,571,885 from 43 scholarships. Gateways High School had 14 graduates with no scholarships. WLA-HS had 13 graduates. SPS OnLine had 12 graduates. Alternative Education had three graduates. 

Gateways High also had four students receive their GED, Alternative Education had one student receive their GED, Springfield High School had six students receive their GED, and Thurston High School had nine students receive their GED. 

Springfield High School had one student that received the Bi-Literacy Seal. 

CRESWELL ADOPTS $26.5 MILLION BUDGET

The Creswell School Board met for a special meeting on June 17 to adopt the budget for fiscal year 2020-21, which included the seismic grant award for Creslane. 

The district has appointed $16,746,614 into the general fund, which includes instruction, support services, interfund transfers and contingency. In debt service funds, $1,886,400 has been appointed for service and contingency. For special revenue funds: grants has been appointed $2,626,500; facilities has $2.530,644; nutrition services has $583,350; vehicle replacement has $274,948; student activity has $329,839; student body has $393,100; and scholarship has $46,750. 

The total appropriations for all funds was added to $152,119 reserved for future expenditure brining it to the $26,515,264 total.

The Board also imposted a tax at the rate of $4.6226 per $1,000 of assessed value for operations and $1,516,000 for bonds. 

CRESWELL BOARD DISCUSSING SUPERINTENDENT’S CONTRACT

With Superintendent Mike Johnson finishing his first year at Creswell School District, the board reviewed his three-year rolling contract to discuss contract changes to fit his performance. 

The changes would include a two-step increase at 5% in addition to the 1.5% cost of living adjustment all employees will get, two year severance with “no cause” termination, an increase in vacation days from 15 to 25 and additional $100 a month for travel and an added $500 in reimbursements for club and training dues. 

Creswell’s contracting is near the bottom of the market at $130,000 — only $2,000 from the lowest salary. Board Director Lacey Risdal said last year they felt it was fair because Johnson hadn’t had superintendent experience before but “given his performance and amount of effort into our strategic plan and reaching out to minority groups in the district, that was above and beyond.”

Normally, a staff person will have a 2.5% increase yearly as they “move through the experience ladder,” but with Johnson’s performance, especially given the pandemic, Risdal proposed a 5% increase above base pay.

“We’re still below average but it doesn’t put as the bottom,” she said. “We want to keep Mike and he’s put a lot into our district.” 

Due to the unpredictability of the future, for the board to continue with their “no cause” termination clause, they added another year of severance bringing it to two years. The 10 additional vacation days were an added incentive because Johnson took no vacation days this year, and board members said they were concerned about burnout.  

The board also increased its reimbursement of membership dues from $500 to $1,000 because it “wants that to be available to him” since he has already joined organizations and attended trainings. He also received a travel allowance increase. 

Johnson is the board’s only employee, and it will be voting on the contract change in August. 

“I appreciate the considerations,” Johnson said. “My commitment is the same regardless, but I feel appreciated and want you to know that.”

SPS BOARD BACKS HAMILTON STATEMENT

During the end of the June 22 school board meeting, Board Chair Zachary Bessett read a statement saying that he stands with Todd Hamilton’s message regarding “the students, staff, family and community members of color.” 

“I know you all agree with that,” he said. “It’s not nearly good enough for us to feel welcoming in schools and the community.”

He added that he is challenging the Board this summer to dig deep and to come back in the fall and have the difficult conversations that address hate and racism in the community. 

Board Director Emilio Hernandez added that it’s “hard to be a person of color in our town” and he wants to include and support all the children in the community who speak multiple languages. “These are our babies,” he said.