Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon – The Board of Directors met in special session on March 20, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. in the Ashland Middle School Library. Present were:
Heidi Parker ) Chair
Ruth Alexander )
Amy Amrhein ) Board Members
Mat Marr )
Amy Patton )
Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent
Pamela Lucas, Business Manager
Anita Charters, Recording Secretary
I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:09 p.m. by Chair Parker.
II. Roll Check
All members were present.
III. Discuss Long-Term Planning for Elementary Schools
Chair Parker explained that the purpose of this special session is to answer the bond committee’s questions about long-term planning for the elementary schools. One possible outcome of the discussion could be a resolution that would be used as guidance for the bond committee. She asked the board members for their comments.
Director Amrhein hoped that the board would answer each of the six questions and reach a consensus. She mentioned that there was concern about the term of the proposed bond (10 versus 20 years). A resolution is acceptable, but would take time to draft. Even if the board does not agree on the answer to each question, the majority rules and direction needs to be given to the bond committee.
Director Patton thought the board should 1) identify the issues, question by question, or 2) start by identifying common values and then address the issues as a reflection of those values as they relate to facilities. She said there is a general understanding that the district’s facilities need to be maintained. New facilities such as an aquatic facility and athletic fields should be addressed.
Director Marr does not think time should be spent on individual issues; the question is, how does the board evaluate the planning questions. He suggested that overall criteria should be established to answer the questions, and he read a draft resolution that he had prepared for that purpose.
Director Alexander said that she would discuss the resolution, but she was not in favor of passing a resolution during the course of this meeting. She felt that a strategic plan and the sharing of fields are least important, and that maintaining facilities is critical.
Director Amrhein does not think it is necessary to pass a resolution. Chair Parker proposed that she and Director Patton wordsmith a resolution. Superintendent Di Chiro suggested that the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee should continue collecting input on its three proposals and that it would be inappropriate to pass a resolution at this time.
Board members expressed the following opinions about Lincoln Elementary School:
· The property should generate income or be leased on a long-term basis;
· It is important to maintain the District’s investment in the building for lease purposes, but the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee cannot foresee all needs;
· It is not important to maintain it as an educational facility because of ADA issues;
· There is uncertainty and concern about future building code requirements;
· If it is used as swing space, it needs to be maintained safely for students;
· There is a difference in maintenance levels between elementary and high school students;
· There are water damage and roofing issues; and
· The District should not put a lot of money into facilities that will be replaced.
Director Alexander moved that the board direct the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee (1) that any bond proposal shall include plans for the maintenance of an educational facility at the Lincoln site suitable for all ages, and (2) that this bond shall maintain facilities at all eight district educational sites sufficiently for the term of the bond. The motion was seconded by Director Marr and carried by a roll call vote of 4:1 (Alexander-yes, Amrhein-no, Matt-yes, Parker-yes, Patton-yes).
Following are the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee’s questions and the board’s responses:
Question 1: Given the information in the recent demographer’s report, do we have sufficient capacity for elementary programs at three schools?
This question was interpreted to relate to the future capacity needs of potential new facilities that the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee is considering. Board members expressed the following opinions:
· There is sufficient space in the District;
· The core question is class size;
· Bellview is a little more crowded than the other two elementaries;
· Enrollment at Bellview will increase more than its capacity, but the District is not planning for increased enrollment in 2006-2007;
· There is a lot of undeveloped land in the Bellview area and the rate of growth is uncertain;
· Does the board accept the demographer’s forecast for Bellview;
· The real issue for the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee is, to what capacity should a new elementary school be built;
· A new elementary school should accommodate 22 children per classroom; and
· The District should target smaller schools whenever possible.
Director Patton moved that if the final bond proposal includes a new school at Bellview, that school should be built to the AQEM-recommended maximum capacity of 340 students. Similarly, if the bond proposes to rebuild Walker Elementary, that school should also not exceed the AQEM guideline capacity of 340 students. In addition, new schools would be designed to meet AQEM guidelines for class size and allow for desired additional classroom space. The motion was seconded by Director Marr and carried by a roll call vote of 4:1 (Alexander-yes, Amrhein-yes, Marr-no, Parker-yes, Patton-yes).
Question 2: Should we consider magnet schools as opposed to neighborhood schools for our elementary schools in the future?
Director Patton moved that the District should maintain its focus on neighborhood schools. The motion was seconded by Director Amrhein and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
Question 3: Are the current three elementary schools located in the right place for the long term?
Board members expressed the following opinions:
· Bellview and Helman are well located;
· It is reasonable that Walker remains at its current location and it stands to gain population in the future;
· Briscoe or Lincoln would be used when the other three elementaries are at full capacity;
· Traffic safety issues are a high priority for designing new elementaries;
· Use 10-acre standard for elementary sites;
· When the current three elementaries reach full capacity, and if Briscoe and Lincoln are being used for other things, there is room at the middle school.
Director Marr moved that the board agree that the current three elementary schools are located in the right place for the long term. It was further moved that Lincoln Elementary should be considered for future elementary programs. The motion was seconded by Director Alexander and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
Question 4: If Lincoln is not used as an elementary school, what is its future use, both long and short term?
Director Marr moved that for the period that Lincoln is not used as a conventional elementary school, the District will use it to reduce other costs (as swing space during high school remodel), to generate needed income, and possibly to host District programs, and that priority will be given to uses which allow the District to maintain continuous use for primary age as well as older students. The motion was seconded by Director Patton and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
Question 5: Should the board consider the sale of District property to fund needed facility improvements and/or District programs?
Superintendent Di Chiro said there are two pieces of district property that could be sectioned off and sold, rather than use bond funds for renovation.
Director Amrhein moved that the District should not consider selling property at this time to pay for capital improvements. The motion was seconded by Director Alexander and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
Question 6: Should the District be planning to provide workforce housing for new teachers and staff?
Board members expressed the following opinions:
· The District needs to take a stand in favor of workforce housing;
· It is in the City’s and the District’s best interests to move towards it;
· Some ways to achieve it would be to choose one home site or work with the land trust;
· Use the sale of the Waterline property to start a fund for teachers to get mortgage loans;
· Workforce housing is a difficult and lengthy process which requires long-term discussion; and
· A committee should be established to study workforce housing.
Director Alexander moved that no bond money should be used for workforce housing, and the discussion of workforce housing should be continued in the future. The motion was seconded by Director Amrhein and unanimously approved by a roll call vote.
Chair Parker talked about partnering with Rogue Community College and collaborating with other educational entities. Director Marr moved that the District shall continue to explore partnerships with Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College on subjects including shared use and maintenance of a stadium, aquatic facilities and a vocational professional/technical center. The motion was seconded by Director Patton and carried by a roll call vote of 4:1 (Alexander-yes, Amrhein-no, Marr-yes, Parker-yes, Patton-yes).
Director Marr proposed that if the board has questions for the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee, they should be given to Director Patton, the board liaison.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 7:46 p.m.
Anita Charters, Recording Secretary