Oregon School District teacher earns statewide teaching award

Photo submitted. Oregon School District talented and gifted coordinator Amy Miller received her statewide award from the Wisconsin Association of Talented and Gifted.

Amy Miller wears a lot of hats at the Oregon School District. 

Listed as the OSD community education director, wellness co-chair and coordinator of advanced learning, Miller is best known for simply being one of Oregon’s finest and most-appreciated educators. 

Now, that reputation has been elevated to a statewide level after she was recently honored with the 2015 Coordinator of the Year Award from the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted (WATG). WATG board president Sue Lee called Miller an “amazing” educator who has been a leader in teaching advanced learning far beyond the borders of the Oregon School District.

“She’s gone above and beyond sharing her knowledge and expertise with others in the state,” Lee said. “She’s spoken at a national level – she just talked at the National Association for Talented and Gifted in Phoenix.”


Oregon budget boosts base pay

Hoping to remain more competitive with area school districts in attracting new teachers, the Oregon School Board increased new teachers’ base pay as part of the 2015-16 budget approved Monday. 

Board members voted 5-1 (with Charles Uphoff opposed) to spend around $250,000 to raise starting teacher salaries to $40,000. The proposal, recommended by district administrators, will be paid for by funds the district gained recently through higher-than-expected student enrollment and less-than-predicted transportation costs for this school year. 

The moves were the final piece in the puzzle of the new budget, approved unanimously (with Rae Vogeler absent), along with a 1.01 percent mill rate increase to $12.11 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For a $200,000 home, the increase would be around $24 from last year. 


District, OEA talk ‘Just Cause’

Before getting down to budget business Monday night, Oregon School Board members and district administrators sat down for about an hour with around two dozen members of the Oregon Education Association (OEA) to continue talks on discipline in the employee handbook. 

At the center of discussions at the cordial “meet and confer” session was the “Just Cause” portion of the handbook, which has been a subject of controversy for some time between district officials and the OEA. Though employee handbooks took the place of collective bargaining about three years ago, the two sides still have not come to an agreement on a procedure for employee discipline.

OEA policy management team spokesperson Nathan Johnson said the group’s largest concern was the ability of an employee to prepare a defense before a decision on discipline is made. 


State aid to OSD drops

The Oregon School District will receive around a half-million dollars less from the state than it did  last year. 

According to a press release last week from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), OSD will receive $18,789,116 from the state, a drop of $528,553 (2.7 percent) from last year. According to the press release, 186 public school districts in the state got more money from the state this year than last year, with 236 districts getting less. Statewide, the amount of general state aid available to districts was unchanged from last year, however. 

Overall, general state aid to public schools is $4.476 billion for the 2015-16 school year. 

The state will allocate additional categorical aid for various programs and per pupil.


OMS Leaf-raking fundraiser happening Wednesday

Oregon Middle School students will be raking leaves on Wednesday to help raise money for a field trip to Chicago. Last year, students raked 46 yards.

There is no charge for the service - students are gathering sponsorship from their family and friends for participation in our day of service. For information, contact OMS teacher Tim Paneitz at or call OMS at 835-4800. 


Teacher base pay a priority

Oregon School District administrators want to raise the base salary of starting teachers, and it looks like the school board will go along with the plan. 

Set to vote on the 2015-16 Oregon School District budget in less than two weeks, Oregon School Board members talked priorities Monday night, and teachers were at the top of the list. 

As a result of higher-than-projected student enrollment and lower-than-expected fuel costs, the district has around $200,000 available for the school year to “meet additional student needs,” wrote district superintendent Brian Busler in a memo to board members. Busler and the district’s administrative team wrote up a recommendation on how to spend those funds, starting with increasing starting teacher salaries to $40,000 “to remain competitive with area schools.”


Returning the hospitality: Russian teachers impressed with Oregon during visit

Photo by Scott De Laruelle. Russian teachers Olga Dorokhova and Elena Shipilova, far right, talk with students at Brooklyn Elementary School on Friday.

When globetrotting Oregon High School teacher Lou Kindschi visited and lived with a group of Russian educators during a trip there last winter, she had no idea she’d end up playing the host just a few months later. 

But when an educator exchange program run by First Friends of Russian Folklore and funded by the U.S. State Department had money left over for a return trip, that’s exactly what happened. Two of Kindschi’s comrades from the previous trip – Olga Dorokhova and Elena Shipilova – just wrapped up a memorable week in Oregon, learning about American culture and education systems during a trip they said they will fondly remember.


OHS grad earns three UW scholarships

Photo submitted. Pierce Peterson poses with his awards.

Pierce Peterson, a 2014 Oregon High School graduate, won three scholarships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison department of mechanical engineering’s 40th annual scholarship Awards on Sept. 23. 

Peterson received the Faustin Prinz Fund from the department of mechanical engineering and the Andrew B. Johnson Great People and Dallas Lamont scholarships from the College of Engineering. He was also named to the UW chapter of the esteemed Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society.


Annual meeting/budget hearing Sept. 28

The 2015-16 Oregon School District tax levy will be adopted and school board salaries set, among other items, at the district’s annual meeting/budget hearing on Monday night.

The first part of the meeting is the public hearing on the budget, including a financial report on the district given by business manager Andy Weiland. A preliminary budget approved by the board last week included a levy raise of 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For a $200,000 home, the increase would be around $24 from last year. 

Following the public hearing is the annual meeting, in which the tax levy and board members’ salaries will be approved. 


District optimistic in preliminary budget talk

With enrollment numbers on the rise, Oregon School District officials are cautiously optimistic that this year’s budget will give both the district and taxpayers some breathing room. 

School board members unanimously approved a preliminary 2015-16 budget Monday night that would raise the levy rate around 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. For a $200,000 home, the increase would be around $24 from last year. 

And all of this with no increase in the state’s per-student aid, said district business manager Andy Weiland, and with rising costs of health insurance and other ‘cost of living’ expenses. 

“What we were able to do this year is truly remarkable,” he said. “For the first time in five or six years, I feel like there’s some opportunity for choices for the school board to make that haven’t existed in the past.


Comment Here