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Ramona School Board Elects New Officers

Dan Lopez takes over helm of RUSD governing board. “Ramona Reads” program receives a coveted honor, while Olive Peirce Middle School was named one the state’s four “Schools to Watch.” And the state budget cuts mean more reductions for the local district.

Ramona School Board Elects New Officers Ramona School Board Elects New Officers

Dan Lopez has been unanimously elected president of the Ramona Unified School District board for the coming year. Bob Stoody will be vice president.

The annual organizational meeting of the board was on Dec. 15.

Stoody also will serve as clerk of the board. Lopez and Stoody will begin their terms of office at the January board meeting. Rodger Dohm steps down after serving three years as board president.

Trustee Kim Lasley will represent RUSD in April at the annual meeting of the California State School Board Association.

In setting the dates for the monthly board meetings, trustees veered from the usual third Thursday of each month, in order to accommodate holidays and specific requests from board members. Only five of the 12 meetings in 2012 will be held on the third Thursday.

Assistant Superintendent David Ostermann gave board members a report on the district’s proposed budget reductions. The reductions were included in the first interim report presented to the board at the Dec. 15 meeting. The savings over three years total $l.75 million, with an annual savings of $583,000.

The reductions include not filling positions vacated by retiring employees,
streamlining transportation costs and a decrease in costs for substitute
teachers, among others.

Ostermann also reported on the governor’s action on Dec. 13 to cut half of the funding for student transportation costs. Average daily attendance allotment also was cut by $13 per student. The two cuts will mean an additional budget reduction of $389,000.

In other business, Superintendent Robert Graeff presented a plaque to Olive Peirce Middle School principal Linda Solis and librarian Melissa Cobian for OPMS being named one of four middle schools in the state that are “Schools to Watch” in 2012.

Graeff said the award represents the school meeting the criteria for academic excellence, developmental responsiveness and social equity.

“We are very honored (the district has) supported our efforts all these years,” Solis said. “It’s a team effort and a whole lot of fun doing this for kids in Ramona.”

The “Ramona Reads” program, spearheaded by teacher-on-assignment Linda Ball, was honored by the state with the Golden Bell Award. Assistant Superintendent Cathy Pierce described the program as a partnership between students in kindergarten through 12th grades with the public library and the OASIS tutors.

Barnett Elementary School principal Kim Reed and teacher Randy Schimpf provided iPads for the trustees to follow along with a power-point presentation on the school’s use of 21st century technology with students in fourth grade.

The superintendent and trustees discussed the advantages and disadvantages of changing grade levels at the middle school. Graeff stressed that there are no plans at present for any changes to add sixth grade to the seventh- and eighth-grade school. If it should be decided by the board at a future meeting, Graeff said it could not occur before the 2013-2014 school year.

The board also approved revisions to several board policies. The next meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Wilson Administration Center, 720 Ninth St.

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