KWSO News for Thu., Aug. 25, 2022

With a new school year approaching, some Oregon districts are struggling to recruit and retain staff. As a result, they’re turning to federal and state funding sources to attract potential teachers. Phoenix-Talent School District 4 used federal money from a COVID school emergency relief fund to offer a $1,000 spring bonus to all 315 of its staff members. It will do that again in October. Brent Berry, the superintendent of Phoenix-Talent, says the district is pretty well staffed. But one factor may be that enrollment is down by at least 350 students. “It may be that we can hold off on hiring some of these positions, just because the numbers in our district are down a little bit.” Enrollment in Grants Pass School District 7 is also down by about 500 students. But even with lower enrollment, some districts are still struggling to support the students they do have. In the Local 509J school district there are plenty of opportunities to join the 509J staff. Opportunities range from educational assistant to cooks helpers, school counselor to assistant coaches as well as teachers. You can check their opportunities at

Members of the Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) and the Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals (OFNHP) at St. Charles Health system facilities in Central Oregon have launched a petition drive indicating they “No longer have confidence in their employer’s accounting and payroll practices.” As reported in a news release from the Oregon Nurses Association, the petition is in response to an ongoing cascade of errors and failures on the part of St. Charles that has resulted in more than $2 Million in alleged overpayments, alleged underpayments and ongoing demands for reimbursement. The union members are calling for an independent third-party audit be conducted providing specific details on when or if overpayments occurred. An email to ONA labor staff, Director of Human Resources Hillary Forrest said “We (St. Charles) have taken steps to ensure that each caregiver has the tools needed to verify our calculations of amounts due…Once the caregiver has confirmed the accuracy of the overpayments, they need to provide us with a written commitment telling us their preference for repayment on or before August 29, 2022.” One ONA nurse said that it’s basically like her giving St. Charles a post-it note listing all of her missed lunches and rest breaks, stating they wouldn’t take her word for it, they would ask for documentation and evidence. Both unions are calling upon St. Charles management to immediately engage the services of an outside, independent auditing firm to address this issue and provide clarity and detail for health care workers.

The Klamath Irrigation District in southern Oregon has reversed course and saying it is now complying with a U.S. government order to stop delivering water to farmers in the drought-stricken area. The Capital Press reports the district closed a canal after officials threatened to withhold millions in drought assistance. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation manages the Klamath Project that includes Klamath Irrigation District and serves thousands of acres of farmland at the Oregon-California border. A limited allocation of water was allowed for irrigators from Upper Klamath Lake because of extreme drought. The bureau ordered the water shutdown last week but the irrigation district’s directors initially defied the order.

In Local Sports: The Madras High School Buff Boys Football teams will be in Redmond today for a Jamboree. Both Varsity and JV will go up against Caldera at 6:45pm and then take on Redmond High School at 7:30pm. Each team will get 15 offensive plays and 15 defensive plays. MHS Head Coach Judd Stutzman says he is looking forward to getting some game action, but is also hoping things go as smooth as possible as he only has one quarterback currently on his Varsity roster. Good Luck to the Buff Boys, we look forward to a Great Season. In Warm Springs, the K-8 Eagles football team continues their conditioning with Coach III prior to school starting and they are hoping to get more student/athletes to come participate so that they can be better prepared for the upcoming fall sports season. The team meets at the WS K-8 football field Monday through Friday at 4:30pm and conditioning usually lasts about an hour.

KWSO Weather for Central Oregon:

  • Sunny and Hot today with a high near 98 degrees
  • Tonight, Mostly Clear with a low around 62
  • Sunny tomorrow with a high of 94 degrees

For those who prefer to listen to KWSO News, Press Play below: