The Hermiston School Board hit the ground running Monday evening in commemorating 10 educators of the year, announcing a budget committee vacancy and taking a closer look at a December’s drop in enrollment this month.

The board recognized 10 educators of the 2019-2020 school year, one from each school at the board meeting. The educators will be recognized— and one will be awarded Educator of the Year— during the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizens Banquet in February.

Technology manager Jeff Kelso and athletic director Larry Usher caught superintendent Tricia Mooney by surprise when they announced her as Administrator of the Year for the district.

Kelso said Mooney was a “dynamic visionary”. The pair applauded her for her recent accomplishments, including the successful completion of her PhD and her “nearly superhuman work ethic.”

“I’m usually not at a loss for words,” Mooney said. “This isn’t what I thought the outcome would be. I’m fortunate to have an amazing team, I’m humbled and honored.”

Mooney turned the attention back to the meeting, and issued a proclamation declaring January to be School Board Appreciation Month.

“We’re fortunate in our district to have seven board members who are involved in our community,” Mooney said. “I can’t say that enough, especially this year.”

School board members appointed former school board member David Smith to the Hermiston School District Community Budget Committee, which two members recently resigned from.

“His experience on the board will be useful to us on the budget committee,” Mooney said.

Smith resigned from the school board in August, and at the time told the Hermiston Herald that the expansion of his business, O So Kleen, left him with little time to serve on the board.

Smith will now serve on the budget committee through June 2022. A single vacancy on the citizen committee remains to be filled. The term for the position runs through June 2020.

According to an enrollment report presented at Monday’s board meeting, district-wide enrollment dropped 90 students from November to December, leaving enrollment at 70 students fewer than December of last year.

Mooney said that 58 of those 90 students’ families informed the district prior to winter break that they’d be on extended vacations.

Oregon’s 10-day rule requires schools to withdraw students who are gone for more than 10 consecutive days.

Mooney said that 38 of those students are back, and that the remainder of the withdrawn students included in and out-of-state moves, as well as one student enrolled in online classes.

Mooney also presented the board with a compliance report, which showed Hermiston School District to be in total compliance with Oregon standards for primary and secondary public schools.

The District 22 Standards encompass everything from how sexuality is taught in schools to how the district reports P.E data.

“It’s been pretty quiet,” said Board Chairwoman Karen Sherman on Monday night. “But now we’re up and running.”

The district ended the meeting with an executive session to discuss property transactions.

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