Cuts for district schools
Some cuts to school programs in the Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified School District will be made for the 2013-2014 school year.
Superintendent Stan Hardeman said in an interview this week that some time for the district’s business manager will be cut, but that those cut duties will be covered in additional hours for another employee.
Cuts will be made in K-6 also. Janitorial will be cut – one full-time position and 68 percent of another position. Hardeman said that other jobs will be opened up for current employees when those positions are cut. Additionally, a current Loyalton Elementary teaching position will be cut.
AVID will also be cut, Hardeman said, contrary to an earlier decision reporter in The Roar to keep AVID. Governor Jerry Brown cut funds supporting AVID program statewide for the next fiscal year. Hardeman said that the district will budget money to do programs similar to those in AVID. For example, he said that a class called “College Prep” could be offered.
Hardeman said no other programs will be cut that should affect Loyalton High students. He noted that the number of students at LHS is 20 to 30 per grade. Hardeman said that there may be other changes down the road but not right now, noting that all schools in California are making changes including colleges, but change will probably occur slowly over a seven-year period.
Hardeman said there would be no cuts to bus transportation. While contracts with both bus companies will expire at the end of this school year and while new agreements have not been discussed, business manager Rose Asquith said that the district intends to “provide the same level of service in fiscal year 2013-2014.”
The state doesn’t give the district enough money to cover its bussing costs. The state gives the school district annually $475,865 for bussing, said Asquith in an email message this week. The typical deficit for transportation for the district is $140,678. The contract with White’s Transportation for Loyalton school routes is $454,800, with $164,843 for Sierra Transportation for Downieville School students.
Additionally, the district collects $126 from each single-student family for round-trip bussing, $230 for families with two students and $250 for families with three students. The district collected $5,934 from families for the current school year.
In a recent Roar survey 13 percent of 92 freshmen, sophomores and juniors said that they would have to attend another school if bus transportation were, in fact, cut. Eight percent said that their family would have to move.
Nine seniors achieve FFA State Degree
Nine LHS students will graduate with an FFA State Degree this year – one of the largest number of State Degree recipients for LHS. Those students are this year’s recipients, Devon Graham, Austin DeBerg, Sheldon DeBerg, Robin Griffin, Sierra Little, Sara Frazier and Jose “Pepe” Vasquez, and those who got their degree last year — Lacey Humbert and Colby Russell.
The State Degree is just one award given for members of Future Farmers of America, or FFA. There are several different degrees of success in the FFA award program (from the top down): the national or American Degree (pursued by college students); State Degree; the school’s Chapter Degree and Greenhand Degree (for first-year members); and lastly, the Discovery Degree for middle school students.
To receive the State Degree, FFA members must: 1.) Have received their Chapter Degree and Greenhand Degree; 2.) Have been an active member for 24 months, or two years; 3.) Have completed at least two years, or 360 hours, of agricultural school instruction above the ninth grade level; 4.) Have invested at least $1,000 into the supervised agricultural experience (SAE) and worked at least 500 hours into the project; 5.) Have demonstrated leadership abilities of performing 10 parliamentary law actions, giving a six-minute speech on an FFA topic, and serving as an officer, chairperson, or a chairperson in their chapter; 6.) Have a satisfactory school record approved by an ag instructor, principal, or superintendent; 7.) Have participated in at least five above-chapter activities; 8.) Have participated in 25 hours of community service, with at least two different activities. However, the community service hours cannot be duplicated for SAE and vice-versa.
Almost one-third of the graduating class of 2013 has been active in FFA, with several interested in going into agriculture as a career choice. Advisor Cali Griffin said, “This is one of my highest accomplishments — seeing these seniors attain the highest award in FFA that they can during high school.”