Cheney Free Press -

School board approves new music curriculum, says goodbye to Keller


July 5, 2012


Staff Reporter

District music teachers looked ahead to a new curriculum and equipment and the Cheney School Board looked back at Larry Keller's term as superintendent at Keller's last board meeting before retirement June 27. The meeting also included approval of the 2012-13 budget.

The board approved a new music curriculum, the first in 17 years. High school choir teacher Harlan Henderson, who led the curriculum adoption effort over the past year, said the new curriculum and new equipment were sorely needed.

“Things are getting old and worn out,” he said.

While the new two-year curriculum adoption will supply new instruments and classroom materials, the biggest change is the addition of a strings program. Henderson said strings would be taught next spring as a pilot program for fifth-grade students, with secondary education to follow.

Over the next two years, Henderson said music teachers would be finalizing schedules and implementing common assessments.

The board thanked the teachers in attendance for their work on the new adoption, then turned to the 2012-13 budget. The $40.8 million budget was approved unanimously, and board members thanked finance director Brian Aiken for his work and for explaining the budget to the board at a recent work session.

The board also approved an amended policy for hiring retired school employees as well as voting to continue with the same company for student medical coverage.

To end the meeting, board members spoke to retiring Superintendent Larry Keller. Keller came to the Cheney School District in 2008, and board members thanked him for his leadership in passing the largest capital bond in district history, securing $79 million to build three new schools in the district.

“We did everything we asked you to do and then some,” board member Larry Haskell said.

Board member Marcie Estrellado said she appreciated Keller's involvement in the community and visibility at school events.

“You were everywhere I went and I know you were everywhere else I didn't go,” she said.

Keller said he felt proud of the new schools that began construction during his tenure and thanked the board for its leadership. Ultimately, he said, he was happy to make a positive impact on the children in the district.

“My passion is about those kids,” he said.

The next regular meeting of the Cheney School Board is July 18 at 6 p.m. in the Fisher Administration Building.

Becky Thomas can be reached at

Board to hold work session on new elementary school name

The Cheney school board will conduct a work session July 12 to discuss the naming of the new elementary school being built at Hallett and Holly roads. The board will vote on a name at its July 18 meeting The work session, 5:30 p.m. July 12 at the Fisher Administration Building, is open to the public but no public testimony will be taken.

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