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School Board Bursts Into Calendar Year

The 2019 calendar year is off to a promising start for the Oakdale Joint Unified School District. The monthly meeting hosted Monday, Jan. 14 proved to be a positive start as a substantial donation was received from Soroptimist International of Oakdale, as well as ratification of tentative agreements for both Oakdale Teachers Association and California School Employees’ Association Chapter #830.

As is customary the 6:30 p.m. meeting hosted at the OJUSD Tech Center opened with Public Comment. Oakdale Joint Unified School bus driver Katherine Songer returned to the podium to address the board.

Songer first came before the board at the December meeting, speaking on behalf of Oakdale school bus drivers, noting some concerns with promotions and administration favoritism and/or lack of following board policy.

“We were asked to meet with Mr. Kline to hear the District’s response to the Driver Trainer situation,” Songer reported to the board and audience. “Mr. Kline continued to read from a list of statements that the District prepared for him.”

Notably dissatisfied with the treatment and a felt lack of seriousness to their concerns by the district, Songer once again requested the board to partner with the drivers for resolution. Additionally, Songer shared the group had sought help from an outside agency, due to a lack of district cooperation.

“At this time, we’re just reaching out for your help … again,” she said. “I hope we can reach a resolution.”

Members of Soroptimist International of Oakdale were seated throughout the audience in support of President Christine Serpa-Neugebauer, who presented a check totaling $52,000. The donation was presented to Oakdale High School Agriculture teacher Grace Tobias and several FFA students for construction of a new on campus greenhouse.

“We feel that this project of building the greenhouse aligns with our mission of improving the lives of women and girls,” Serpa-Newgebauer told the board. “By giving these young women the opportunity to learn life skills and prepare for their future.”

Tobias expressed heartfelt gratitude for the generous donation. The Ag teacher noted the greenhouse was originally slated for the 2020-2021 year. The donation has now afforded the OHS Ag Department the ability to move that up significantly.

“These types of gifts are game changers for students,” Superintendent Marc Malone stated to the SIO members and meeting attendees. “Please know that we appreciate your gift and please know that this is impactful to our students. This creates more opportunities for hands on learning, more opportunities for college and career readiness which we continually strive to reach for our students. Just know from the bottom of our hearts we thank you, because this is a game changer and a difference maker.”

Ratification of Tentative Agreements for both OTA and CSEA was also reviewed and approved by the board. A 4.17 percent increase for both groups was presented to the board by Assistant Superintendent Dave Kline.

Pledge of Allegiance was led by Sierra View students Royce Musick, Cash Haglund, Isabella Anderson and Claire Riva. The next meeting will be hosted Monday, Feb. 4 at the OJUSD Tech Center, 331 Hinkley Ave., Oakdale. The public portion of the meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.