An Oregon High School math teacher accused in April of accosting a student has resigned.
The teacher, who is not being named by the Observer because he has not been charged with a crime, was on paid leave since mid-April until he submitted a letter of resignation last week, said superintendent Brian Busler.
Busler, citing employee confidentiality, declined to name the employee or say whether the accusation played a role in his resignation.
An April 10 entry in the Oregon Police Department log book said a 16-year-old student accused the teacher of grabbing him by the arm and pulling his fingers back to take a ball, then twisting his arm in a way that caused him to fall.
Police Lt. Karey Clark denied a request from the Observer to see the full police report because the Dane County District’s Attorney’s office has not yet decided whether to press charges.
Faced with an $850,000 spike in health insurance costs next school year, Oregon School District officials recently proposed hiking how much employees pay for health care.
But after a tense, nearly two-hour discussion, that change was postponed Monday by the Oregon School Board on a split, 4-3 vote that exposed fissures in a group that recently added two new members.
Most district staff currently pay a 10 percent share of health insurance premiums and no deductibles beyond that. The new proposal would hike deductibles to $500 annually for individuals and $1,000 for families and impose higher co-pays on prescription drugs, emergency room visits and CT or MRI scans.
The changes would nearly wipe out the $850,000 increase, officials said, and would help the board offer salary increases while avoiding layoffs, higher class sizes or program cuts.
Fewer than half of Oregon students tested proficient or better in reading under the state’s standardized exam last fall, while 63 percent reached that mark in mathematics, according to results recently released by the state.
School officials across Wisconsin had warned that student scores for this school year’s Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination, the state’s longtime standardized test, would fall compared to past years because the state is now applying a more rigorous method of determining student proficiency on the exam. That higher standard is meant to prepare school districts for a new, computer adaptive standardized test that all students will begin taking within two years.
A total of 47.8 percent of the Oregon students who took the WKCE exam in November 2012 were either proficient or advanced in reading, compared to the 63 percent in math, according to results released in late April by the state Department of Public Instruction.
Oregon High School seniors with the top 10 grade-point averages in their class attended the annual Badger Conference Top 10 Scholar Banquet last Sunday in Wisconsin Dells.
Students from all 14 conference schools attended. Representing OHS were (from left) principal Kelly Meyers, Alexis Boumstein, Ryan McGuine, Maranda Ricker, Scott Odorico, Danielle Rockwell, Jeffrey Jaeggli, Courtney Brien, Anna Wangen and superintendent Brian Busler. Not pictured are students David Hallinan and Simon Maurice.
Local teachers still don’t have a salary increase for the 2012-13 school year after a mediation session between the teachers’ union and Oregon School District officials failed to bring a resolution last Thursday.
Members of the Oregon Education Association’s bargaining team met “four or five hours” last Thursday evening with a mediator from the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, members of the Oregon School Board’s Human Assets Committee and three school district administrators, said HAC committee chair Steve Zach.
“There was no resolution,” Zach said. “We would still like to get it done as soon as possible.”
Last October, teachers were offered a 2.8 percent pay hike and an extra $4,000 salary bump for employees who attain a master’s degree this year. The district also offered to increase starting pay for teachers from $33,700 to $36,000. The previous contract expired July 1.
A stalemate between the local teachers’ union and district officials is heading to mediation this week, with both sides hoping to reach a voluntary settlement.
Oregon School District teachers were offered a salary increase last October for the 2012-13 school year but balked at a proposal to scrap their traditional salary schedule, which provides automatic raises for years of experience and educational credits.
Union leaders have also criticized the district for not negotiating issues other than wages. The state’s controversial Act 10 legislation in 2011 forbid that, but a court ruling last fall called into question what, exactly, unions and districts could negotiate.
With negotiations at a standstill and the school year mostly complete, union leaders and members of the district’s human assets committee were slated to meet Thursday afternoon with William Houlihan, an attorney with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.
With classrooms relying more on wireless Internet service, the Oregon School District is poised to pay up to $600,000 to upgrade its system in time for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
OSD first installed wireless about five years ago, and more than two years ago it added dozens of access points so just about every room in every school could get online.
But the number of students and staff accessing the district’s wireless system is growing exponentially. Last April, about 400 mobile devices – such as smart phones, tablets or laptops – used the system daily. By January, that number had more than tripled, district technology director Jon Tanner told the Oregon School Board Monday.
With that in mind, the board unanimously approved a plan to beef up the district’s networking infrastructure and add more access points to ensure Internet speeds don’t bog down when lots of people in one classroom go online.
Graduation rates at Oregon High School inched up last year.
Of 304 seniors in 2010-11, 93.3 percent graduated using the “four-year rate,” or the percentage of students who obtained their degree within four years, according to data released last week by the state Department of Public Instruction. That compares with 93 percent last year and 89.1 percent in 2009-10.
Last year’s graduation rate reached 95.5 percent when using “the legacy rate,” which factors in students who obtain their degrees later, either because they are special-education students or because they finished their work after their senior year ended. That’s up from one-tenth of a percent from the previous year and up from 91.5 percent for 2009-2010.
District leaders have made graduation rates a priority after the legacy rate dipped to an all-time low of just under 90 percent in 2007-08.
Oregon High School will stop naming a valedictorian and salutatorian in the 2014-2015 school year and move instead to a “cum laude” system of honoring top graduates.
The change has been in the works for a couple of years but was approved on a 6-0 vote last Monday by the Oregon School Board.
The board also approved a new policy spelling out how high school musicals or plays will be chosen.
And to keep up with the times, the board approved changes to an old policy to allow students to bring personal computing devices – such as tablets, laptops or smart phones – to school for specified classes or projects.
The musicals policy stems from a 2009 controversy, in which the OHS production of the musical “Chicago” was briefly canceled by district officials over concerns that the story line centered too much on adultery and murder.