We imagined it would take three years to complete a healthy transition from a K-8 back to K-5 when our enrollment took its deep plunge in the 2014-15 school year. We will complete the second year of our come back on June 30. Here are some signs of progress.
- Budget Discipline
The board and administration–with counsel from the budget committee and input from community members– persisted in maintaining a workable and affordable ratio of staff to students. We saved money by several means: reduction of staff; holding off on capital improvements and deferring some maintenance that did not affect safety; staff voluntary salary reductions; enormous fund raising volunteer efforts by the Pinehurst School Foundation and prudent financial management based on good research and taking advantage of the services of the ESD, state and federal grants.
- Full Board
It has been a long time since we had three appointed board members take the next step and stand for election. Heidi Gehman, Dianna Crary and Ben Schumacher all appeared on the May Special Election ballot and were elected to full terms. They join board chair Alison Kling, who is in midterm of her election. An open seat was on the ballot and that position will be filled by Sam Alvord who received the majority of write in votes. This group will steer the district in the foreseeable future.
- Rising Enrollment?
Our numbers bottomed out at nine for a few weeks this winter and then we gained three new students. Two kindergarten students attended our Kinder Round Up on May 31 and both will enroll in September. We have a good chance of gaining three or four students moving into the district this summer, as well. We project up to sixteen students when the bell rings on September fifth. We learned long ago not to take any such predictions to the bank. We have no control over who moves in or out of our district and almost always we experience August surprises in either direction. So it is best to always remain tentative on numbers until the smiles and lunch boxes walk in the front door.
- Oregon Extension Rejuvenation
When the geese start squawking on the Lincoln Mill Pond, we know spring has arrived. Traditionally, when faculty families and college students move into the housing at the College next door, Pinehurst enrollment and growth is usually not far behind. Word is that a healthy complement of students will arrive in late August and two permanent and one temporary family will occupy the homes on the highway where once lived the Alvords, Lintons and Skillens. Welcome to the Greensprings new Lincolnites!
- Experienced Leadership
Pat and Sam Alvord will retire from their current part-time positions as paid employees and make room for the next generation of teaching and administrative staff to carry on the work of our school district. After ten years of learning every aspect of leading a small, rural, public school district, Holly Amann will assume the leadership of the Administrative Team which will consist of business service provider, Tracy Gault, and Head Teacher, Kerry Fuller. They bring a combined 22 years of service to Pinehurst School. Ann Oliva will enter her second year handling the teaching duties with Kerry. Amy Schumacher will add the essential Educational Assistant support, and one other part time EA may be hired to help fill in the gaps with Pat’s departure. Glen Mits will continue his steady custodial duties. The board has offered a special services contract for Sam Alvord to continue to maintain the grounds and to take charge of capital project and deferred maintenance fund raising, contracting and supervision of funded projects.
- Proud Tradition
Pinehurst School District 94 is the only district in Jackson County never consolidated. Our Greensprings predecessors since 1908 have fought to make sure our community has not only a public school but one that provides a sound, relevant education. The state legislature has been very generous to insure that funding will be available for local districts which maintain excellence. It does not matter how many students attend or how the enrollment might ebb and flow over the years. What maintains the life of the district is the will to do the best job of education at this location. As long as the citizens of the district support the mission of the school district, the Pinehurst School should prevail.
So, we are well underway toward a new growth spurt. This coming year, like every year, offers the possibility of maintaining a unique gem of a public school in the mountains near our homes. Let gratitude be our attitude as we all put our heads and hands to the task of keeping the heart of the community strong.