Board votes to add grades to Baker magnet school

The Baker School Board has approved adding sixth, seventh and eighth grades to Park Ridge Academic Magnet, making it a K-8 school.

The board approved the measure in a 3-2 vote Tuesday, with members Dana Carpenter, Elaine Davis and Shona Boxie in favor and Doris Alexander and Troy Watson opposed.

School administrators said adding three grades to Park Ridge will cost the district $433,000.

The proposal calls for hiring five new teachers, a guidance counselor, assistant principal, band teacher, two paraprofessionals and clerk at a cost of $350,000.

Educational and other supplies would cost $28,000, library materials would be $9,000 and furniture would cost $3,500.

Food service and restroom facilities also will require $42,000 in upgrades, according to the proposal.

The new classes would be held in existing classrooms at Park Ridge.

Watson asked where the money would come from.

“The state will provide the money,” Superintendent Ulysses Joseph said. “We just have to have the numbers, the enrollment.”

Park Ridge has 168 students enrolled. Ninety students will be added to the school, 30 in each new grade.

Students will be required to have a C or better in English, mathematics, science and social studies, have an overall GPA of 2.5, pass an entrance exam and have an “excellent” discipline record as well as teacher recommendation and parental consent.

The proposal also contained a survey of 271 parents of students in Park Ridge and other Baker schools. Eighty percent supported expanding Park Ridge.

In other matters, Joseph told the board that the district should be able to purchase part of the old Graves Chevrolet property at Plank Road and Pettit Road by the end of the month for $1.1 million.

The School Board authorized the purchase of the property in January for use as school board offices. Before the sale can be finalized, the Baker City Council must approve the subdivision of the land at its Feb. 25 meeting.

The lease on the School Board’s offices behind Whitney Bank on Ray Weiland Drive expires March 31.