NORTH BEND — Seven months into his time as superintendent at the North Bend School District, Kevin Bogatin says the district is "on the cusp” of new projects.
“It’s gone well,” he said of his first few months on the job. “It’s been a quick transition with four brand new school board members, getting them acclimated to their roles as well as myself.”
The district also has a new special education director.
“There is a newness that has created some challenges and it’s great to look at things with fresh eyes,” Bogatin said of the new district leadership. “But I’m fortunate to have some veteran administrators in the school who know how things work so I don’t have to worry on a day-to-day basis about their ability to manage.”
When Bogatin was first hired by the school board over the summer, he told The World that he wanted to spend the first few months seeing how things were run before he made any changes or additions. Now he says he is still in that process, but sees pieces of the district that might need upgrades.
“What stands out to me is the need for alternative educational upgrades,” Bogatin said, pointing specifically to North Bend High School where data, parents and students have told him the current programs don’t work for everyone. “I feel like that’s a need we have to shore up.”
Bogatin plans on working with administrators with the district to provide a more “robust offering,” perhaps even something along the lines of Coquille School District’s alternative Winter Lakes School. Though Bogatin added he doesn’t plan on duplicating what the county already has, he hopes to find something not yet offered and to fill that role with an expanded PEAK program, North Bend School’s alternative platform that already exists.
“I think there is just more we can do to retain those students,” he said. “I would say 50 to 100 students might benefit from expanding PEAK at the high school.”
In the meantime, he has called for an alternative education steering committee to meet once a week to tackle these issues. The committee is also visiting alternative programs across the state and into Washington to see what has been successful.
Potential facilities bond
When Bogatin was hired, he stepped into two big projects the district was already working on. The first was preparing for the Student Success Act and creating a plan on how to spend the money.
“I want to make sure we do well with the resources we’re given and so I feel a little under the gun to make sure we gather good, quality information,” Bogatin said.
The second project Bogatin found himself a part of is a potential facility bond the district is pulling together.
“We are in the process of figuring out what we want by early February,” he said. “Then we can make a decision to prompt a committee so we can campaign in the fall.”
Though the facilities bond is still being developed, Bogatin explained that the biggest need so far is overcrowding at the both of the district’s elementary schools.
“They are both at 104 percent capacity,” he said. “When you look at expanding pre-kindergarten options, I don’t have room for that.”
Other upgrades that might be included in a bond measure are upgraded security on all of the buildings.
“The last bond the district went for was to build the Tech Center 20 years ago,” Bogatin said. “In 20 years, the idea of a tech center is what is inside every classroom now. The idea that technology would be centralized like that is no longer needed, so we’re looking at re-purposing that building.”
How that building will be re-purposed is still unknown, but could possibly provide room for the special education expansion or to help alleviate overcapacity in the elementary schools. Of course, all topics are still in discussion.
“We are on the cusp of a lot of different things,” he said.