The Black Oak Mine Unified School District Board of Trustees honored its schools’ selections for students of the year and teacher retirees at a meeting recently. This year’s honorees for student of the year included valedictorian MaryAnn Haynie of Golden Sierra High; Sara Iversen of Independent Study; Tyler Hudson of Divide High; Erin Belloumini of American River Charter School; Allan Nicholson of Northside; Nicholas White of Georgetown; and Jessiah Smallwood of Otter Creek.
Retirees honored at the meeting included Millard Duchon, Patricia Graybill, Dick Hockenson, Kathy Leaird and Mike Sander, with a total of 141 years of teaching behind them collectively. Only Hockenson and Graybill were at the meeting.
During the “public hearing” portion of the meeting, students, parents and staff spoke to the board of rescinding Scott Guilliland’s pink slip as a physical education instructor at the high school. He is one of 14 teachers who still do not know if they will have a job in this district next school year, but his strengths as a teacher and a person were highlighted and impressed upon the board as reasons to retain him. It was also noted that with the middle school changes (a new junior high at the lower high school campus), another male physical education teacher would be necessary, and Guilliland has all the qualities and experience needed to fill the position.
No decision on any teacher topic was made, except a decline to hire another music teacher for the district. This decision came following a statement made by the Black Oak Mine Teachers Association that it was unconscionable for the district to consider hiring a “new” teacher when 14 of the district’s former credentialed staff were still in limbo for their own jobs.
During the public hearing, others spoke on the need for libraries and librarians, and the need for an additional music teacher for the entire district. One new music teacher will be hired to fill the space left by Steve Sherohman, who came to the district last fall but has handed in his resignation.
In his report Superintendent Rob Williams said the district had received 45 applications for the open music teacher position, and that there were plans to rehire a .6- and .4-hour teacher(s) at the high school, but no further details were discussed.
“We are drastically making cuts,” he said. “We have a budget shortfall and a declining enrollment problem, and we’ve been spending our reserves. Bascially, the state is stealing $2 million a year from this district, and we’re working to try to get ourselves out of the ‘qualified’ position. If the tax initiative does not pass, there will be mid-year cuts; if it passes, it stabilizes our funds for now.”
Williams reiterated that if the district falls into a “negative” economic position, the state could “take over” the district. “The board would be seated, but they would make no decisions; and I’ll be gone,” he said.
Chief Fiscal Officer Peter Rosenberry provided the board with the district’s third interim budget report, which had few changes from the last budget study session report, but did add in funds from Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revised state budget. His report included no cuts to transportation funds, at this time, but also added that mid-year cuts to ADA would be forthcoming in the event the tax initiative failed.
Rosenberry read a list of potential revenue generating ideas that came from the budget committee and included, but was not limited to, renting classroom space, renting buses to rafting companies in the summer, having a weekly flea market, creating a low ropes course on the lower campus of GSHS, and seeking a $25 parcel tax on Divide properties.
The board plans a goal-setting special meeting on June 13, and the next regular meeting of the board is June 14 at 7 p.m. in the district office.