Siuslaw School Board holds first meeting of 2022-23 school year


Board discusses student representation; reelects Bob Sneddon as chair

August 23, 2022 — The Siuslaw School District Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting on Aug. 17, with the entire board present for the first meeting of the new school year.

As it was the first meeting of the new school year, some routine business was taken care of.

Every year at the first meeting after July 1, the board selects a new chair and vice-chair. Bob Sneddon was unanimously named board chair. This will be his third term in the role, and though Sneddon made it clear that he thinks it best the position rotates between board members regularly, he and the other directors agreed that based on the current make-up of the board he was the logical choice.

“I am of the belief that not rotating board leadership can lead to problems down the road for a bunch of different reasons,” said Sneddon. “But two members have been on less than a year. Two more have been on just a year. Diana [Pimlott] and I are in our fourth year and John Barnett is in his second term. Neither John nor Diana wants to take on the board chair role due to time constraints. None of the other four felt prepared. So, I accepted again.”

Director Frank Armendariz agreed that Sneddon was the obvious choice.

“I think there’s some real practical reasons why Bob should continue as board chair,” he said. “Four of us have less than a year tenure and I don’t think it’s really appropriate for someone with such little tenure to be challenging your position.”

Last year’s vice-chair Barnett nominated Director Maureen Miltenberger for. The board unanimously agreed she was the best choice, especially after Barnett explained why he thought Miltenberger would be more appropriate for the role.

“I think it would be good to bring on someone else who was a little greener in this position to be able to feel more comfortable in that future chair role,” Barnett said.

In addition, the directors discussed the potential of adding student representation to the board.

“To support and encourage student participation, the board may allow a student representative to serve as an advisory member of the board,” said Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak while introducing the discussion item.

According to the superintendent, student representatives will have the same privileges of discussion that apply to all board members, but may not cast votes on any motions. The student representative may not attend executive or emergency sessions. The board reserves the right to remove a student representative or end the program if issues transpire that lead members to determine it, or an individual, has become counter-productive to the guiding principles of the board.

The school board members were excited about the prospect and after discussion decided that two students on the board would be best.

Director Brian Lacouture asked if the goal was to add students to the board this year, to which Chair Sneddon and Grzeskowiak agreed that that would be the goal.

A vote to decide whether student representation would be appropriate will be held at the September meeting.

A series of presentations from different local organizations were also part of the August meeting.

Robbie Wright of Hyak, a local internet provider, talked about their success at providing high-speed internet access to the more remote areas around Florence and Mapleton. Thanks to a grant that was facilitated with the district’s assistance, Hyak has focused on areas that did not have previous high-speed coverage.

Jane Hanawalt, president of the Rotary Club of Florence, gave a presentation covering the many projects Rotary currently has going within the community.

Cindy Forsythe of Western Lane Community Foundation talked about their generous program that donates approximately $500,000 a year in scholarships to Florence and Mapleton youth.

Reed Lewis, District Maintenance Supervisor, gave a report on the work he and his staff have completed over the summer.

In other business, Grzeskowiak announced that on Thursday, Aug. 25, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. behind the southern end of the south Siuslaw Elementary School building on Oak Street, the district will host a Disposal Sale and give away old, obsolete and semi worn-out furniture and other items gathered from buildings all over the district.

Most of these items were previously put up for public auction and didn’t sell. Many of the items will be free with an option to donate to the district.

The next monthly meeting for the Siuslaw School District Board of Directors will be Sept. 14 at the district office, 2111 Oak St., at 6:30 p.m.

To watch the August meeting in full, go to youtu.be/shQGzCg_dHA.

For more information, visit siuslaw.k12.or.us.

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