Originally published in The Nugget News, October 11, 2016
by: Steve Kadel
Six local residents have been named to Sisters School District’s Bond Facilities Oversight Committee. They were announced during the Wednesday, September 5, school board meeting.
Members of the panel are Mike Bush, Bill Duerden, Dave Moyer, Regan Roberts, Angela Sitz and Jay Wilkins.
“They will help improve the quality of decisions we make to make sure we spend this money wisely, and ensure good two-way communication,” said school board chairman Jeff Smith.
Originally, the district planned to choose five citizens for the committee. However, Smith said the board received six outstanding applications and decided to make room for an additional committee member.
“We opted to include all six people in our process,” he said.
Bush has lived in Sisters since 2008, and has adult children who graduated from other school districts. He’s retired, but worked eight years as a teacher in coastal Oregon districts, and spent four years at Stayton School District in charge of maintenance and custodial operations, where he also served as liaison between the school district, contractors and architect for projects authorized by a bond measure. Bush spent two years as the superintendent of building maintenance at Willamette University.
“I love to work with contractors,” Bush said.
Duerden has lived in the Sisters area since 2009. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2011 and began working for the City of Redmond a year later. His daughter is a sophomore at Sisters High School, and Duerden has done parent volunteer work in the school district as well as contributing community service through his job.
“I feel serving as a member of the Bond Oversight Committee is a good fit with my background, a way to get involved with the community I live in and a way to contribute toward the success of the Sisters School District,” Duerden said.
Wilkins is a five-year Sisters resident, and has daughters in seventh and eighth grades at Sisters Middle School. He’s a former Nike employee who now works as an independent footwear consultant. Wilkins has helped with local option funding efforts for the school district, and was a member of the political action committee supporting the bond measure.
“I feel I’ve learned a lot about the school funding process and what goes into it,” Wilkins said. “That’s why I wanted to be on the committee. This is an investment, and we want to make sure there’s a good return.”
Moyer has lived in Sisters since 1971 and is a former mayor of the town. He’s a retired U.S. Forest Service supervisor whose four children went through the Sisters school system. Moyer helped design the current Sisters Middle School, and lists handicap accessibility and security as his main concerns for the district’s facilities. Among his community and school contributions, Moyer has volunteered at school district athletic events.
Sitz, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been a Sisters resident since 2003, when she and her husband relocated for his job with Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction. They have daughters in eighth grade and 10th grade in the Sisters School District, both of whom have attended the district’s schools since kindergarten.
“I have participated in outreach efforts on multiple local option campaigns and participated in multiple aspects of the 2016 bond campaign, with my primary responsibility being organization and distribution of all the voter lists,” Sitz said. “I have presented environmental education lessons in the elementary and high schools as well as hands-on environmental education through Wolftree for Sisters Middle School students.”
The Nugget was unable to contact Roberts for comment.
To be eligible for appointment the candidates needed to live within the school district boundaries, not be an officer or employee of the district, and must be a registered voter within the district.
In other business at last week’s meeting, the school board voted unanimously to approve a new three-year contract for the district’s classified employees. The contract, ratified earlier by union members, calls for 1.5 percent salary increases in the first two years.
Superintendent Curt Scholl said negotiations will be reconvened in the future to determine the amount of raise, if any, during the third year. No other contract aspects will be negotiated at that time.
Scholl also announced that the district’s enrollment continues to fall below projections for the current school year. The latest numbers show enrollment is 43 students below what was anticipated. That could cost the district $7,000 per student in lost state funding, although a final enrollment count will be made in May 2017 and any financial hit would take place the following school year.
The biggest enrollment drop is at the elementary school, Scholl said.