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Two resign from school board

Teachers hired at HMS and BHS

Two members of the Harney County School District No. 3 board of directors have announced they will be resigning from the board, and the district is accepting letters from residents interested in filling the vacancies.

Julie Burri and Ralph Dickinson have both announced their resignations, effective June 30.

The board has already received two letters of interest, and will invite those people to the next meeting to visit with the board at that time.

At its meeting on Tuesday, April 12, the board also acknowledged the resignation of Roger Martin from his position as Hines Middle School teacher, as he is moving out of the area. The board also acknowledged the resignations of Kevin Feist as Burns High School (BHS) head baseball coach, and Todd Hueckman as assistant baseball coach at BHS.

The board approved the hiring of Sarah Huckins as special education teacher at Hines Middle School (HMS) and Natalie Wassom-Paul as social studies teacher at BHS.


Jimmy Zamora, agricultural education teacher at BHS, was in attendance to talk to the board about putting in a welding shop for students at the school, and the Career Technical Education (CTE) grant through the Oregon department of Education (ODE) to help with the project.

Zamora said he met with the advisory board in February, and it was realized that it would be a lot of work to redo the current shop. It would include bringing the building up to code, as well as dealing with fire issues, so the best route to revitalize the program would be to build an entirely new shop.

Zamora stated that the new shop could be built behind the high school, where the former bus barn and maintenance shop are located.

“This could be a game-changer for our kids,” Zamora said. “A modern facility for them to manufacture and weld and learn the skills.”

Zamora said the new building would be a metal building, similar to the Memorial Building at the fairgrounds. He added that the current shop is 70’ x 50’, and the new building would measure 120’ x 60’.

Zamora and the board then discussed the cost of a new building, which would be about $160,000, and the process of getting electricity to the site. Zamora said he wasn’t provided with any estimates on what it would cost for the electricity.

The board members said they are behind the project, but they need “solid numbers” on the total cost before they can make a decision, as it would take district dollars to complete.

“Is there a way to make the current shop work?” asked Board Chair Lori Cheek. “We need a lot of things in this district.”

It was pointed out that the ODE grant needs to be spent by June 2017 or there is a risk of losing it.

Zamora said he would contact ODE to see if the district can get more time for the grant, and if not, they may have to go back to the original plan.

Zamora said he will continue to work on the plan and report back to the board.


BHS Principal Brandon Yant reported that the security system at BHS was installed, and they are now preparing the software for card printing. Yant said the entire security project consists of 11 phases, with a total cost of $53,000, and the three largest phases of the project have been completed at a cost of $36,000. The remaining phases can be completed at a later time if needed or wanted by the district.

Yant added that the PA system has been ordered and should be installed soon.

He also reviewed the second trimester grades for BHS students, and reported a slight improvement from last year on the number of Fs, dropping from 5.1 percent to 3.6 percent.

BHS hosted a spring technology conference for the district with presenters from Oregon and Idaho, and a keynote speaker from North Carolina.


HMS Principal Jerry Mayes reported that they had 98.2 percent attendance by parents for parent-teacher conferences, which was just a little below their goal of 100 percent.

Mayes said he was impressed with the interaction between parents, students, and teachers as the students explained why they received the grade they did in the classes.

State testing began April 11 at HMS.


Ron Wassom reported Smarter Balanced testing has started at Monroe School, and the students are doing well compared to students at other Youth Corrections Education Program facilities.

Wassom also thanked Doug Smith and Eastern Oregon Youth Correctional Facility for their purchase of CPR/AED training mannequins for Monroe School.


Chandra Ferguson said the staff at the Structured Learning Center is in the beginning stages of Smarter Balanced testing. Ferguson noted that one student is painting a mural in the hall by the classroom entrance, and encouraged the board members to take a look at the work.

Ferguson also reviewed the District Special Education Report Card received from ODE. The district slightly exceeded the state target in students with individualized education programs graduating with regular four-year cohort diplomas at 72.7 percent. The district also has 73.3 percent of students included in regular classes 80 percent of the day, which is ahead of the state target of 72 percent.


Nancy Moon, principal at Slater Elementary School, reported that they had a 93 percent turnout for parent-teacher conferences.

In March, Slater hosted a Family Night that included a talent show, science fair, book fair, and spaghetti feed. There was also a baked goods auction to raise money for new playground equipment.

Staff from Slater met with staff members from the Early Childhood Center to set up visitation days for incoming kindergarten students.


The board acknowledged donations made to the district, and Superintendent Dr. Marilyn McBride reported enrollment in the district is up by 15 students.

With graduation coming up, Cheek said the district needs to look at the kids who don’t plan to go to college. She encouraged the board to look at creating an intern program in the community, and said some facilities, including Harney District Hospital, have already shown interest.

Board member Ralph Dickenson asked if a date had been set for an assembly for the naming of the Slater gymnasium in honor of physical education teacher Alice Herauf.

Moon said they are still working on scheduling the date.

The next board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10.

Randy Parks

Randy was born in Iowa, and spent most of his life growing up in the Hawkeye State. After a few years in college, he settled in Idaho for a decade, skiing, golfing, and working at Sun Valley Resort. He married in 1985, completed broadcast school, and moved to Harney County in 1989 to work for KZZR. After 16 years of on-air work, he left the radio station and went to work for the Burns Times-Herald.

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