In other business, board appoints Doug Gunderson to fill Gordon Mallon’s seat

By Lauren Brown
Burns Times-Herald

The Harney County School District No. 3 is already preparing for the H1N1 virus (swine flu) according to Superintendent Bob Sari.
At the Sept. 8 meeting, Sari explained to the school board that because those ages 6 months to 24 years are the most susceptible to the virus, the district needs to be prepared in the event there is a large outbreak here. Prevention is key, so he noted that cleaning procedures and simply keeping sick children home are a couple of key components. However, he said that as the flu season approaches, the district will be partnering with the Harney County Health Department to offer students vaccines.

“The burden falls on the community,” Sari said regarding how important it is for everyone to prevent the spread of the virus.


The Harney County District No. 3 School Board swore in a new member on Sept. 8 in Doug Gunderson.

Originally, there were two letters of interest for the seat vacated by Gordon Mallon. Gunderson and Tim Colahan both initially expressed interest in serving on the board, but Colahan pulled his name from consideration saying he thought he would be seen as a polarizing figure.

That left the board with Gunderson, who stated that as a parent and coach (wrestling) he felt ready to tackle some issues, though he said he had no hidden agenda.

In other business:

• Superintendent Sari stated that the first week of school went off without a hitch and that the teachers and staff at all the buildings worked hard to make sure that students have a warm, friendly and non-confrontational atmosphere in which to learn.He also noted that he felt the district population was holding steady with a total of 403 students at Slater Elementary School, 195 at Hines Middle School, 333 at Burns High School, 17 at Eastern Oregon Academy and 150 in the Silvies Web Academy, for a grand total of  1,098 students;

• Superintendent Sari said that he was contacted by the City of Burns regarding the park located behind the Lincoln building. The park needs some work, and  Sari said that they will be looking for some grants to help with the renovations. He said there are several ideas on what could be done with the area. Installing some sand volleyball courts or basketball courts were both mentioned;

• Business Manager Petrina White said that the former Monaco Coach Corp. donated a bunch of office supplies, desks and a welding table to the school district, and said the district was very appreciative of the donation.

White also noted that the district completed its transportation report and that the district transports 410 kids each school day and that the buses average 82,000 miles of travel. She said the the 410 number is high compared to other districts in the state;

• Bond Project Manager Bill Renwick stated that the Hines Middle School (HMS) gym is now finished, and the pellet bin at the high school is still under construction.

• HMS Principal Gail Buermann stated that she was pleased with the HMS open house held on Sept. 2. She estimated that 60 percent of HMS parents participated in the event.

She also stated that even after moving some number around, she doesn’t think HMS will pass the average yearly progress (AYP) state testing;

• Burns High School Associated Student Body Co-Presidents Natalie Wassom and Philip Kness told the board that they will be concentrating on getting the community involved in supporting the schools. They also talked about the BHS student store, which is a place for students to hang out and buy supplies. The store is run by students in leadership and FFA;

• at the end of the regular meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss negotiations.

The next Harney County District No. 3 School Board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Lincoln building.

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