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March 6, 2001

In a move characterized as a difficult, tough decision, Hamilton School Board members voted to eliminate the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) coordinator position. Deborah Briggs was the only board member voting against the position elimination.

The position reduction was spurred by dwindling AODA state and federal grants. From 1993 to 2000, the district received between $68,219 and $79,763 in AODA grants. The district saw only $16,555 in the 2000-2001 school year.

Additionally, parents have come before the School Board advocating for lower class sizes, more instrumental music programs, high school honors courses and gifted and talented services. Accomplishing these initiatives under state revenue caps requires position restructuring.

Services will be reallocated in 2001-2002 including contracting with individuals or hospitals and assigning other staff members AODA related functions. Some functions of the AODA position will not be maintained.

Briggs said while she understood that other people would handle some of the duties, “there would be no one person to tie it all together.

“I am afraid it’s (AODA services) just going to fly out the window,” Briggs said. “I am torn and struggle with this decision because I want lower class sizes, instrumental music and the other things, but I know it’s very costly to get (AODA) services on the outside.”

Acknowledging the difficult choice, board member Jennifer Rude Klett said schools must get back to their main responsibility of academics. She said many parents have asked for a band instructor and want more emphasis on academics.

Hamilton High School teachers Ken Krause and Debra Figueroa spoke prior to the vote and urged the School Board to retain the position for the sake of students who need the AODA services provided by the position.

Three principals presented their schools’ site plans.

Marcy’s plan, as presented by Donald Behrens, Ph.D., includes three tactics involving:

  • integration of the newly aligned curriculum to ensure maximum achievement;
  • developing critical, flexible, strategic, discriminating and enthusiastic readers; and
  • fostering an attitude of responsibility and belonging among students, staff, parents and community.

Hamilton Principal Dave Furrer and teacher Debra Figueroa described Hamilton’s plan that was narrowed to include one tactic that states, “Students will increase their understanding and application of key concepts across the curriculum.”

Presenting her first site plan update to the School Board, Principal Linda Jorgensen outlined Woodside’s plan. The tactics include:

  • prioritizing curricular needs to focus direction and enhance instructional practices;
  • fostering responsible and respectful student behavior; and
  • developing a staff communication process to increase participation in decision-making.

Instructional Services Supervisor Dee Bauman, Ph.D., described how the district strives to implement curriculum uniformly throughout the district.

In personnel business, the School Board:

  • appointed Deborah Thonnes as a Woodside second grade replacement teacher; and
  • approved the retirement requests of Paul Jushka, Dennis Kapets, Carolyn Manthey, Jon Rinka, Sharon Sohner, Joanne Tula, Joan Vehlow and Mary Wilkening.