Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in regular session October 10, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers. Present were:
Heidi Parker ) Chair
Ruth Alexander )
Amy Amrhein ) Board Members
Mat Marr )
Amy Patton )
Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent
Pamela Lucas, Business Manager
Diane DeMerritt, Certified Representative
Amy Korth, Classified Representative
Anna Cochran, Student Representative
Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Chair Parker.
II. Pledge of Allegiance
III. Roll Check
A roll of the board was taken and all members were present.
IV. Welcome Visitors
Chair Parker welcomed Amy Korth as the new Classified Representative.
Chair Parker welcomed visitors.
V. Consent Agenda
1. Approve minutes of Executive Session of September 9, Regular Session of September 12, Executive and Special Sessions of September 16, Special Session of September 21, Special Session of September 26, and work session of October 4, 2005.
Director Alexander moved that the Board approve the consent agenda as presented. Director Patton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
VI. Hear Public Requests not a part of the agenda
Phil Selby asked the Board to consider selling at least the Lincoln School Building property. Students of today are being shortchanged if Lincoln School is kept open rather than using funds from a sale to benefit the students.
1. Blue Ribbon School District.
Juli Di Chiro reported that the district received an award from Expansion Management magazine for how well the district prepares it students for the work force after graduation.
2. Student and Staff Representative Reports
Anna Cochran, student representative, reported on Spirit Week, athletic events, and the high school play, “Ah, Wilderness.”
Diane DeMerritt, certified representative, reported on the Willow Wind 1st Grade Class, AMS Outdoor Education Program, Morgan Cottle’s Classroom at Crater Lake, and parent conferences.
Amy Korth, Classified Representative, reported on the first Labor Management Meeting of October 13.
3. Bond Committee Update
Director Patton reported that the Bond Committee conducted two school tours, went to Parent Teacher Organization meetings at the elementary schools informing the community of the bond process that has begun. Newsletter articles are being planned for all of the schools. A Steering Committee and a Communication Committee have been established. Public forums will be held in January. The district website hosts a Bond and Facilities page.
The Board gave special recognition to the Maintenance staff for the excellent maintenance of the district buildings.
4. K-8 Proposal
Debbie Pew gave an overview of the work of the K-8 Committee which has been working for a year. Pauline Black and Greg Able reported on the research that was conducted, the site visits that were completed, and gave their perspectives of K-8 programs. She reviewed the recommendations of the committee: a K-8 program be developed that is academically challenging with a focus on art and science; the program serve a maximum of 100 students for the 2006-07 year; Ashland School Staff be notified of this opportunity and a meeting of interested staff be set within 30 days of the this board meeting; the District continue to explore options to provide an academically challenging program in a traditional setting with self-contained classes through the 8th grade at an existing site.
Juli Di Chiro concurred that the next step is to talk to staff to see who might be interested in participating in the program, and then to meet with parents to see would want their children in the program.
The Board directed the staff to investigate the K-8 model, provide a cost analysis of the model, and determine how many families the model would draw from outside the district to make it revenue neutral. Juli Di Chiro will give an update at the next regular meeting on the progress of this task and a potential timeline for reporting to the Board.
5. Update on Kindergarten Committee
Director Alexander reported on the Board Work Session which was held to discuss the kindergarten program, explaining that a committee will be formed to develop ideas for a revamped kindergarten program.
Juli Di Chiro recommended that the committee be a district-run committee that includes elementary principals, kindergarten teacher representatives from each elementary school, a site council representative from each elementary school, and parents that volunteered during the kindergarten work session to serve on the committee. All kindergarten teachers will meet on this issue prior to the first committee meeting.
Public input was received as follows. Derek DuVivier asked the Board not to focus on the reasons not to do a full day or opine on the obstacles because that will hurt the children. Paul Copeland asked the Board to consider a mixed model that would allow kindergarten classes at each of the schools but also allow some at other locations to draw students. Julie Gower suggested that this is an opportunity to outreach to parents that are not in the district. Announce the meetings on the website and advertise them.
Juli Di Chiro said the committee will discuss how to communicate the meetings.
6. Update on Site Committees’ Review of Food Service Program
Juli Di Chiro reported that she consulted with all of the schools. The elementary and middle schools will use their sites councils to hold monthly discussions on how the food program is going. Parents will be informed of the meetings so they can provide feedback on the program. The high school student leadership class will provide feedback on the program. Lydia Tolley, Food Service Program Director, will attend the site council meetings as needed.
7. Class Size and Enrollment Report and Information About Entering and Exiting Students Throughout the District
Juli Di Chiro reviewed the enrollment report which indicates 100 students less than last year. She further reviewed class sizes at all of the schools, students exiting and entering the district, and the interdistrict transfers.
Sue Graham asked when the offer from the DeHarts would be placed on a board agenda. Juli Di Chiro explained that it will be considered with all of the alternative program options and referred her to Board Policy IGBH.
8. Board Reports
Chair Parker reported on the no-drive day and the high school debate practice. Director Amrhein gave a report on the Ashland Schools Foundation and the Certified Contract Maintenance Committee. Director Alexander reported on the activities of the Save our Schools and Playgrounds Committee.
9. Superintendent Report
Juli Di Chiro reported on the hurricane efforts our schools have been involved in, a Town Hall Meeting to be held October 12 at 7:00 p.m., the Oregon School Activities Association reclassification process, and a Marimba Club concert to be held on November 8 in the AMS Commons at 7:00 p.m.
VIII. Unfinished Business
1. Lincoln School Lease Proposal
Chair Parker gave an overview of the Siskiyou School Lease Proposal as well as the Lithia Springs School Lease Proposal.
Comments of the Board included: administration needs to know specifically the length of lease the Board would accept; no leeway for Siskiyou School as a private school – keep the cap, no more than two years in length; Board wants to maintain the continuous permit; keep elementary kids at Lincoln site, it is difficult to consider Lithia Springs School for 10 years when the district does not yet know what to do with Lincoln; a K-8 program is a viable option.
Public Input was received as follows. Helga Motley felt that Lincoln School is not set up well enough to handle Lithia Springs School. Paul Copeland felt the Board should have a plan on the entire building before proceeding with any one lease. Do not penalize Siskiyou School by charging more than the artists pay to lease Briscoe; the community does not want to see Lincoln School empty all summer. Sue Graham felt Siskiyou School is not competing with the Ashland School District – it is parent choice.
Director Amrhein moved that the Board extend the meeting for 30 minutes. Director Patton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Following further discussion, Director Alexander moved to direct staff to continue negotiations with Siskiyou School for a partial lease of Lincoln. Negotiations should indicate that the district would honor a two-year lease, discuss an enrollment cap, ask for 65 cents per square feet, the lease would include heat and utilities and would be a triple net lease. Director Marr seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Director Amrhein moved and Director Alexander seconded that the Board direct staff to enter into negotiations with Lithia Springs School to find a win-win situation, that they would come into Lincoln after Siskiyou School leaves in 2007 or another arrangement that will accommodate both of our needs. The motion failed with the following roll call vote: Alexander – no; Amrhein – yes; Marr – no; Parker – no; Patton - no.
After further discussion, Director Amrhein moved that the Board direct staff to continue discussions with Lithia Springs School and come back with suggestions on further action. Director Marr seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
2. School Grounds Maintenance
Director Patton asked that a sentence be added to the bottom of Exhibit B indicating which schools are covered. She further clarified that this agreement started July 1 of 2005. Pam Lucas confirmed that the total price including the 10% contingency is $88,618. Director Alexander explained that, with the increased price of this agreement, she would prefer to negotiate with the Parks Department, and the agreement with the County can be stopped at any time.
Paul Copeland stated that the County has been mowing the front of Briscoe School all summer.
Director Marr would still like to have a discussion on herbicides in the future. Pam Lucas agreed that the policy is very vague and difficult to enforce.
Director Patton moved that the Board approve the addendum to the Jackson County Maintenance Agreement as amended. Director Alexander seconded and the motion passed with the following roll call vote: Alexander – yes; Amrhein – yes; Marr – no; Parker – yes; Patton – yes.
Sue Graham expressed concern that corrections personnel would be used under the agreement. She also felt that community service should be used under the agreement.
3. Board Policy Revision – Second Reading
Director Alexander moved that the Board approve Board Policy Revision IBDJA and IGBH for second reading as presented. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously. Copies of the policies are attached hereto and become a part of these minutes.
4. School Board Goals
Director Amrhein moved that the Board move school board goals to the board meeting to be held on October 24. Director Alexander seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
IX. New Business
1. Continuous Improvement Plan
Director Amrhein moved that the Board approve the Continuous Improvement Plan as presented. Director Alexander seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
2. Appoint Budget Committee Members
Director Marr moved that the Board extend the meeting 15 minutes. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Director Alexander moved that the Board appoint Chris Holzshu and Mike Zodrow to serve as budget committee members from now through June 20, 2008. Director Marr seconded and the motion passed with the following roll call vote: Alexander – yes; Amrhein – no; Marr – yes; Parker – yes; Patton – no.
The Board thanked Andy Dungan for his past years of service on the Budget Committee.
3. Adopt Budget Calendar
Director Marr moved that the Board approve the 2005-06 Budget Calendar as presented. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
4. Appoint Bond Committee Member
Director Alexander moved that the Board appoint Liz Peck to serve on the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
5. Adopt Resolution #2005-9 Regarding State Spending Limit Initiatives
The following resolution was recommended for Board approval.
WHEREAS, several initiatives have been filed for the 2006 Oregon ballot that would arbitrarily limit biennial increases in all State appropriations for public services to increases in the rate of inflation (CPI or a similar measure) plus population, or to a fixed percentage of the previous biennium’s appropriations (such as 8.1% in one version);
WHEREAS, Oregon K-12 schools are already chronically underfunded;
WHEREAS, the State Legislative Fiscal Office has concluded that if an “inflation plus population” measure had been in effect just since 1999, approximately $1.8 billion would have had to be cut from the Governor’s proposed budget of approximately $30 billion (in categories affected by the limit) for the 2005-07 biennium;
WHEREAS, an “inflation plus population” measure is an inappropriate limit on spending for public services, and is likely to undermine adequate funding for public schools in Oregon, for at least the following reasons:
(1) The cost of certain State services, such as health care, grows much faster than the basic rate of inflation; since public schools in effect compete with health care services for State resources, this is likely to result in reduced funding for public schools;
(2) The State serves certain populations, such as senior citizens, that are growing at a faster rate than the general population; since public schools in effect competes with senior care services for State resources, this is likely result in reduced funding for public schools;
(3) Certain elements of school costs, such as the cost of employee health insurance in a labor-intensive business, also grow faster than basic inflation (just as health insurance costs go up faster than basic inflation for private employers);
(4) In recent years, the number of students with special needs, and the number of English language learners, all of whom are entitled to a good education, but whose education requires additional resources, have increased faster than the general student population;
(5) During recessions, especially in an income-tax dependent State, State revenues decline dramatically; if, even in times of economic recovery, State resources can only increase by ‘inflation plus population,’ State resources will not, in real terms, return to pre-recession levels;
(6) Over time – historically and, it is to be hoped, in the future -- society becomes wealthier, and the economy as a whole grows faster than inflation plus population, and private sector employee compensation grows faster than inflation; but, if public sector spending increases are limited to the rate of inflation plus population, the real salaries of public servants such as teachers and other school employees will be frozen at current levels, which will make it increasingly difficult to attract qualified persons to those positions;
WHEREAS, the State of Colorado, which adopted a ‘population plus inflation’ spending limit in 1992, has experienced numerous ill effects:
(1) Colorado’s high school graduation rate fell from 79% in 1991 to 72% in 2002; as of 2001, Colorado’s dropout rate was third-worst in the nation;
(2) The ratio of teacher pay to private sector pay has fallen to 50th in the nation, and Colorado now ranks 47th in overall K-12 funding as a percentage of personal income.
(3) Education Week ranks Colorado 40th in K-12 funding, $700 less per student than the national average;
WHEREAS, adoption of a fixed percentage limit on biennial increases in State spending (such as 8.1%) would not account for the possibility of severe inflation, such as the 13% annual inflation rate of 1979, and could therefore result in drastic cutbacks in state resources for all services, including public schools, in real terms;
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved:
1. The Oregon School Boards Association is opposed to the adoption of an initiative limiting increases in State spending on public services by an “inflation plus population” formula.
2. The Oregon School Boards Association is opposed to the adoption of an initiative limiting increases in State spending on public services by a fixed, arbitrary percentage of previous years’ spending.
Members of the Oregon School Boards Association are urged to contact their fellow citizens and to urge them to oppose such an initiative.
Director Patton moved to approve Resolution #2005-9 amending it to exclude Item #6. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Director Marr asked that this be discussed at the November meeting.
X. Announcements and Appointments
A Board Work Session will be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2005, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to discuss Board-Superintendent Operating Agreements. The location is yet to be determined.
A Special Session will be held on Monday, October 24, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Middle School Library to discuss the following agenda items:
Drug and Alcohol Incident Report for the 2004-05 School Year
Drug and Alcohol Annual Policy Review
Review Data for Healthy Teen Survey
Board Policy Revision – First Reading
Memorandum of Understanding #2005-05 Between Southern Oregon Bargaining Council and Ashland School District Regarding Extra Duty Assignment Additions and Changes
Consider Purchasing School Bus with Grant Funds and General Funds
Consider Offer to Purchase Waterline Property
A Bond and Facilities Planning Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 26, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ashland High School Library.
The Oregon School Board Association Annual Convention will be held in Portland on November 11 – 13, 2005.
The next regular session will be held on Monday, November 14, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:05 p.m.
Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary