Newspaper Archive of
Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
September 24, 2009     Cheney Free Press
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September 24, 2009

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Thursday, September 24, 2009 Free Press Page 3 Photo by John McCallum Passing through tradition In a ceremony begun in 1915, new students at Eastern Washington University "pass through the pillars" at Fifth Street and march up the sidewalk to Showalter Hall on Monday. Thanks to a large number of returning sludents, transfers, and a sizeable freshmen class, the university may be looking at its highest enrollment count ever this fall. / / oOki. rd g Beating tough budgets and l ng rowth Keller sad he wants to con- tinue to build relationships with staff and students in Cheney. He listed goals lor the 2009-10 school year, induding a more detailed as- Cheney School District Superintendent Larry Keller takes a look back at his first year By BECKY THOMAS s00ffRep000er It wasn't the smoothest of years for the Cheney School District, but Superintendent Larry Keller is proud of his first year in command. He's glad that the district was able to balance their tightened budget without cutting staff or programs. "I'm really proud of how we worked through that as a team," he a funding gap of more than $2 mil- lion, but they were able to balance the budget with the help of a March levy increase, federal stimulus doUars and the closure of Reid Elementary, which saved $400,000 in costs. The district was also able to purchase the new math .curriculum for more than $800,000. Keller said the district was able to "protect the programs and protect said. "I'm proud of what we've ac- the staff" this school year, but he ,]iseryofthe. conceded morebudgetcuts;. 7Inri ud of thequality of what we be in the cards. do academically for our kids and I'm proud of the fact that the community has supported the district." He said the district was solid when he took the job last summer: "The wheels were already on the wagon." There was no reason to replace perfectly good wheels, the retired Air Force officer said, so he en- tered the role of superintendent last July with an open mind. "My initial focus in year one was building relationships with the communities we serve, listening a lot, getting out and about;" he said. "So I would say my highest priority was visibility, being visible in the communities we serve." He worked with staffin the early months of the 2008-09 school year to develop a new math curriculum. Then the economy took a dive, and budget cuts were imminent. Keller said he tried to focus on the positives through last fall's budget crisis. "We knew we didn't want to cut staff,, he said. "We talked about what we as a district value and what's important for our kids." The Cheney School District faced "There's no Reid to close this year," he said. "So we're going to have to find a way to make the savings." sessment of ! continuing athletics thr( level, condu the entire di he youngest students, he no-cut policies in ugh the middle school :Ling an evaluation of strict's language arts "I talked about our values, and that the kids matter most," he said. "When times get tough, like they are right now, and there's no increases in wages and things are tightening up a little bit, you've just got to know. Why do we do this job? We do it for those little guys and gals, or the bigger ones. We have to focus on that. That has to sustain us. It has to program an. project, laur fund and bl school build Looking I perhaps the biggest keep us positive in what we do." ching a campaign to Becky Thomas can be reached at Lild two new middle be Lugs.. back on his first year as Superinte adent, Keller said his biggest challmge was keeping s'; focused on what's imp0i4ant/ ''';''i! At a meeting of staff before the " start of schgol, he said he asked teachers to consider their goals as educators. i r Serda01N Wesl Rains Locally owned & operated Tank pumping & maintenance Baffle inspection System inspection for home sale License #602872994 Photo by Becky Thomas A budget shortfall and the closure of Reid Elementary School were two bf the challenges school district Superintendent Larry Keller faced last year. ..... ................ . :,. :t2009EastMissionAvenuel , ' Spokane Valley, WA99206 509-924-4388 Fax 509-926-4028 pineridge-adm@jeaseniorliving, net CALL FOR A TOUR TODAY! 24 Hour Licensed Nursing Supervision Personalized Assistance Respite & Day Care Available Family Education & Support Social/Recreation Activities