By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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A group of 16 speakers asked the board at a meeting last week to reconsider canceling the district’s contract with The Hair School to provide beautician training to students of the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center.
The center provides funding for students in Clallam and Jefferson counties to earn professional certificates.
The speakers argued that the board’s August decision to end a contract with The Hair School to train future beauticians and barbers was made with incorrect and incomplete information provided by a dissatisfied parent.
“We have documentation to refute every single claim,” said Richelle Wilhelm, manager of the school at 2941 Highway 101 in Port Angeles.
After listening to the speakers, the School Board agreed to reconsider the contract cancellation at the Oct. 24 board meeting.
The board voted Aug. 22 to end the district’s contract with The Hair School to teach vocational cosmetology courses effective Jan. 24 — the end of the current semester — after a parent testified about difficulties her child had with the school.
Kim Baublits, the parent, testified to issues regarding the accountability of The Hair School, according to minutes from the Aug. 22 School Board meeting.
Baublits told the board that her student’s contract with The Hair School was not being met, and had a problem with having two separate contracts, through both the school and the skills center.
She also said no parent or student that signed the agreement were provided a list of fees, and she was unable to get a copy of compliance for background checks of employees in contact with the students and not provided a copy of the signed agreement.
Baublits said her daughter was sent to collections for $11,722.28 after she did not complete the course of study.
The board motion to approve The Hair School contract failed. Patti Happe, Sarah Methner voted to approve the motion; Steve Baxter, Lonnie Linn voted against it; and Cindy Kelly abstained from the vote.
The board unanimously approved a single-semester contract with The Hair School from Sept. 1 through Jan. 24 with the intent of transitioning students to other schools for the spring 2014 semester.
The board also unanimously approved one-year contracts with Belle Academy of Cosmetology and Barbery in Port Angeles and the Pacific Northwest Hair Academy in Port Hadlock, and discussed the possibility of installing hair training at the skills center building at 905 W. Ninth St., in Port Angeles.
Students, parents and instructors at The Hair School were not immediately made aware of the vote to end the contract, Wilhelm said.
Once they knew about the decision, supporters of the school began gathering evidence to oppose Baublits’ testimony.
The Hair School is not the proper authority to provide much of the compliance paperwork requested, which is held by the state or the skills center, Wilhelm said.
All of the information Baublits sought was available readily through those sources, she said.
Instructors’ licenses were posted clearly on the window glass at the front of the school, she added.
The Hair School’s student contract, which includes a scholarship to cover the cost of courses and hours not paid for by the skills center — if the student completes and graduates from the program — has been checked by the school district’s attorney and found to be acceptable.
Students who do not finish the program must repay the cost of those additional hours, according to the contract.
Taylor Richard, an 18-year-old skills center student, told the School Board that she wants to finish the program at The Hair School, and not switch schools in the middle of her training.
“It [The Hair School] has brought me up in this world,” Richard said.
Richard and about six other students asked that the board to reconsider their vote, and to at least consider allowing students already enrolled at The Hair School to complete their certificate at that school.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.