Working toward education agreement

The Education Committee, Tribal Council and the school district continue working toward a new long-term education agreement.

The current agreement expired this summer, but will be the controlling document until the sides reach a new agreement.
There are currently three versions of the tribal-509-J education agreement: one by the Education Committee and Tribal Council, one by the school board, and the current expired agreement.

The challenge will be to come to a mutual agreement, as the tribes’ and school district’s versions are very different.
The tribal version includes specific goals and proposed accomplishments, whereas the school district version is not specific.

There are some good aspects of the tribal version that could be implemented, said school board member Laurie Danzuka. Some aspects, though, would need to be reviewed by the district legal counsel, as the district is held to standards regarding, for instance, the use of class time.

The Education Committee and Tribal Council have placed an emphasis on language and culture as part of the school experience for Native students.

At the school district board meeting this week, the board appointed Laurie Danzuka and Tom Norton to the team that will work toward a new agreement.

The tribal parties are the Education Committee—Jaylyn Suppah, Pah-Tu Pitt, Deanie Smith and alternate Ervanna Little Eagle—and Tribal Councilwomen Carina Miller and Val Switzler.

The BIA is also a part of the education agreement process. The Warm Springs Agency has an acting superintendent, Body Shaw, BIA deputy regional director. A permanent superintendent is expected to be on board in August.

Tribal Council and the Education Committee met last week with school district superintendent Rick Molitor. All parties to the conversation agree that some change is needed to improve the graduation rate among tribal.

Finding agreement on how best to achieve that goal will be a focus of the talks toward a new multi-year agreement.