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Sweet Home, Oregon
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May 23, 2012     The New Era Paper
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tt ,. ra- May 23, 2012 COMMUNITY OPINION / NLWS Page 5 SHFAD budget boosted 1%, by PERS, other expenses By Scott Swanson Of The New Era Sweet Home Fire and Ambu- lance District Budget Committee members unanimously approved a $2,290,945 budget for 2012-13 at their annual meeting Tuesday, May 15. Fire Chief Mike Beaver said the budget reflects an increase of 1 percent, $23,312, over the current year. He said that was due to sev- eral factors: Public Employee Re- tirement Systems employer contri- butions that are due to increase by 33 percent next year; a 12 percent hike in health insurance premiums; a 5 percent rise in dispatch costs starting July 1; and a 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase for the de- partment's six union-represented paramedic/fire fighters that will kick in July 1. The major changes in the over- all budget are in the Personal Ser- vices funds, which, due to the pay raises and benefits costs, are in- creasing by $20,806, to $1,308,215. Other funds in the overall budget are not changing substantially, Beaver said. He said low revenue growth and the poor economy "are major Challenges for the district, as they are for most public agencies," but noted that is not new. "District personnel have grown accustomed to functioning through adversity; we do it every day as firefighters and EMT's," he said. But, he added, new government mandates, retirement and health care costs are three of the biggest hurdles the department faces. "As in past years, it continues to be the goal of the Board of Di- rectors and staff of the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District to be proactive and to try and recognize and address the needs of our ever- changing community." Beaver said calls are up slight- ly thus far this year, while funding from Medicare and other insur- ance companies has decreased. He said the increased call volume, if it holds, may equate into more ambu- lance revenue. Other goals for the district this year are to complete a switch-over to FCC-mandated narrow-band radio equipment, replace an am- bulance and perform some "much- needed" building maintenance. "Our newest ambulance, a 2008 Braun, has over 100,000 miles on it," Beaver said. "Our oldest medic unit, a 2002 model, has 113,000. While our fleet of ambulances still look and operate to today's standards, purchasing a new one or remounting needs to be a priority for this budget year." A grant request to the Firefight- ers Assistance Grant Program for funds to remount two ambulances was turned down earlier this year, he said. Remounting involves put- ting an existing ambulance module onto a new chassis, which can save tens of thousands of dollars over buying a brand new ambulance. He said that the distrim may have to lease-purchase a new am- bulance. Otherwise, Beaver said, the district is better-equipped now than it has ever been. "The district's fire equipment and training improvements, along with the city's upgrades to the mu- nicipal water system, have helped the district maintain our current ISO rating of 4/8b. This equates into lower insurance rates for the community as a whole." Budget Committee members present on Tuesday were Dawn Mitchell, Tim Geil, Elmer Riemer, Roy Gaskey and Larry'Johnson, all SHFAD directors, along with com- munity members Charlene Adams, Noreen Nelson, Kevin Strong and Doug Emmert. Committee mem- ber Rob Younger was absent. i SHHS From page 1 "One of the highlights was get- ting this school rebuilt. That was a lot of fun." Stineff has been concerned about who would take her place when she retired, she said, and she's happy it will be Winslow, who will "do a great job. I was very much in favor of having him take my place. I care about this school, and I want it to do well. "I know he'll do a good job, and I'm not worried about it any- more." Winslow said he's "excited" by the opportunity. "I'm looking forward to it," he said. "We have a really good staff. We're in the process of continu- ing what we started with our PLCs (Professional Learning Communi- ties)." The high school is starting a Positive Behavior Instruction Sys- tem, which is already in place in other district schools, he said. The" school has a lot of positive things going on. "We have a group of the kids starting some leadership activities in the school," Winslow said. Some 52 freshmen, sophomores and ju- niors are preparing to take leader- ship roles in a number of areas, ad- dressing everything from bullying and trash to the dress code. It's all student-driven, and they're com- mitted. He also is excited about the ACT program and the GEAR-UP program, which provide opportuni- ties for students to access college, especially those who couldn't af- ford it before. "I just wrote a letter to the staff the other day," Winslow said. The school has had some tough things this year, but "we,re going to move forward." He reminded staff members that they're giving students memo- ties theN'P, cherish the rest of the'r lives, and most of the time, 95 per- cent of the time, everything goes smoothly. Most of the students are respectful and responsible. And that's what the school needs to fo- cus on. "We have a great staff and a great student body that wants to continue to see some positive ch.ange," Winslow said. He noted that student referrals are way down, and students are re- porting how relaxed everything is in the hallways. Winslow came to Sweet Home in 1981 to take a teaching post at 'Oak Heights Elementary School. He taught fourth through sixth grades for 18 years and then went to Crawfordsville for two years, serving half-time as a teacher and half-time as principal. He moved back to Oak Heights and served as principal for eight years be- fore spending the last three years as assistant principal at the high school. He taught for awhile in South America prior to coming to Sweet Home, he said. He decided to move to Sweet Home while visiting his brother here and learning that the district had an opening. He applied and was hired immediately. "(StinefO is a great mentor to me even though rve been a princi- pal to(o," Winslow said. "It's differ- ent at the high school. We get along very well, and we think a lot alike. I'm excited because she's going to be here next year. I'm grateful she's going to be here," and he plans to pick her brain while she's here. "We've had three kids go through high school here,'! he said. "it's been the greatest experience for all three of them. The staff has done very well. I'm convinced that this school system we have here in Sweet home - the kids are fortunate to be here." i Pool From page I 14 to fund the pool, which belongs to the Sweet Home School District but was defunded by the School Board last summer in a cost-cut- ting move. The school district an- nounced it would cut most of its swimming lool operations in an effort keep the facility open in the face of reductions in state funding, but the Sweet Home City Council kicked in $10,000 last July to help :keep the pool operating. The ballot measure was filed with the clerk on Feb. 23 after the School Board voted in November to pursue that option. The measure passed with Davis said that voters may have been confused over whether the measure would impact funding for police. The levy will not. "I was hearing people saying, 'why are we voting for something that's going to take away from law enforcement?'" He said he also realized, dur- ing the campaign, that a surprising number of people were not even aware the pool was facing closure. "When we handed out flyers, even after the ballots had come out, it was amazing how many people hadn't heard," Davis said. As far as what happens next goes, he said that will be up to the school district, which still owns and operates the pool. "That question needs to go to the Schoo 1 Board," he said. "That's with interest in the pool to estab- lish how it will function. "We are going to meet with the pool director and sit down and put together an action plan, see what the program's going to look like,, Schrader said. The district also will look at Fridays, when there will not be school next year, for open swims, lessons and activities for students, he said. tistLtnn Roofing, In e, Winslow said he may be biased, but he believes this community is a great place to raise children. Other administrators in the dis- trict will shuffle positions as well. The district will not fill the second assistant principal posi- tion at the high school. Tim Porter had served as half-time assistant principal and half-time curriculum director. A teacher handled the po- sition's traditional athletic director duties. Next year, Porter will serve as a single assistant principal full time and will also handle curricu- lum director duties, said Supt. Don Schrader. A teacher on special as- signment (TOSA) will work full time handling athletic director and student behavior duties. The TOSA will not ecaluate employees and will not be an administrator. A TOSA will also assist at the junior high while Junior High As- sistant Principal Dave Goetz takes over as supervisor for maintenance and transportation, also serving as the district's director of human re- sources. Maintenance Supervisor Ron Andrews retired earlier this year and Transportation Supervisor L.D. Ellison plans to call it quits at the end of the school year. Goetz is going to be every- where, Schrader said, '.'We're going to need help with athletics and the position at the high school." That's all part of being in hu- man'resources, Schrader said. Foster principal Glenna De- Souza will pick up .2 full-time equivalent as Title I director from Connie May, who will work .2 FI:E next year. May is working .4 FTE this year. Winslow also will serve as the district's English language learning director next year. Ryan Beck resigned from Hawthorne, and Derek Barnhurst resigned from Oak Heights. The district has not yet hired anyone to replace them. Elena Barton will continue to split her time between principal at Holley and student services direc- tor. Marv Strahm Marv Strahm, 70, of Sweet Home volunteers with Meals on Wheels. He volunteers be- cause he "wants to pay back the community," he said. He is married to Donna, They have two grown children. Strahm has lived in Sweet Home for five years. The best thing about it is that it is a "small town, not busy -- good living." 1,249 votes for and 1,185 against, 46.87 percent to 44.47 percent. "I was hoping it would pass by a little more than that, but I'll take it, that's for sure," said Bruce Da- vis, president of the Sweet Home Swim Club, which spearheaded most of the campaign in favor of the measure. "It was close but I'm happy." the thing I keep telling people. 'Yeah, we pushed to keep the p0ol open but we don't have any control over the pool right now. "People are asking when lap swimming is coming back. I don't know. I don't have the answers." Schools Supt. Don Schrader said a meeting will be arrangedto bring together the various parties lOve" 30 years experience [ E Free estimates I ,(j Locally owned i Hand nailed, architect & 3-tab shingles i INTERNATIONAL Snap-lock, Hi-rib metal & flat roofs I ,All wor kma nsh;g;r:5oteed