Monday, December 09, 2002

Regular Session Minutes

Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in regular session on December 9, 2002, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.  Present were:

John Maurer ) Chair
  
Curt Bacon )
Chuck Keil )
Terry Littleton )  
John Maurer ) Board Members
 
Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent
Loren Luman, Business Manager
Therese Van Reenen, Certified Representative
Ron Dulaney, Classified Representative
Amy Hopkins, Student Representative
Media Representative
Anita Charters - Secretary

I. Call to Order

 The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. by Chair Maurer. 

II. Pledge of Allegiance

III. Roll Check

 A roll of the board was taken and all members were present.  Chair Mauer mentioned the recent passing of John Cowan, a staff member of the maintenance department, and the loss to both the school district and the community.

IV. Welcome Visitors

 Chair Maurer welcomed visitors.

V. Consent Agenda

1. Approve minutes of regular session of November 11 and work session of December 2, 2002.

 It was recommended that the minutes of regular session of November 11 and the work session of December 2, 2002, be approved as presented.

2. Personnel

a. Employment Recommendations

Dayna Hankins was recommended as a temporary .13 Choir Teacher at Ashland Middle School.  This is a new position funded by the Ashland Schools Foundation. 

Nicolaj Imhof was recommended as a probationary .49 Science teacher at Ashland Middle School.  This is a new position funded by the Ashland Schools Foundation. 

Laura Nichols was recommended as a temporary .38 Fitness Instructor at Ashland Middle School.  This is a new position funded by the Ashland Schools Foundation. 

b. Requests for Early Retirement

Pete Cislo, High School Dean of Students, submitted a letter of intent to retire effective December 31, 2002.  He also requested a 1039 contract to finish this school year.  It was recommended that his retirement and 1039 contract be approved as presented.

Joy Dutson, Walker Elementary Teacher, submitted a letter of intent to retire effective December 23, 2002.  She also requested a 1039 contract to finish this school year.  It was recommended that her retirement and 1039 contract be approved as presented.

Pam Moore, Walker elementary teacher, submitted a letter of intent to retire December 23, 2002.  She also requested a 1039 contract to finish this school year.  It was recommended that her retirement and 1039 contract be approved as presented.

Director Littleton moved that the Board approve the consent agenda as presented.  Director Bacon seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

VI. Reports

1. Student and Staff Representative Reports

 Amy Hopkins, Student Representative, reported on work toward a High School Site Council and SOU partnership and schedule changes.

 Ron Dulaney, Classified Representative, acknowledged tribute to John Cowan at the Middle School.  The event was attended by 500 people. 

Therese Van Reenen, Certified Representative reported the successes of the high school speech and debate students.  She reiterated difficulty in coping with cuts this years in budget, staff and professional development.  On a positive note, she read a statement about resilience.

2. Board Report

 Director Bacon reported on the sales of the Wild Goose Holiday CD and the Middle School activities surrounding the Lord of the Rings book.  Director Littleton commended the high school on successful scheduling of parent conferences and thanked community members who have given ideas to the Board about school financing and school closure. Director Keil reported on the arts fundraiser to fund an arts teacher at Lincoln.  Director Amrhein mentioned the winter programs and fundraisers for art and music programs.  Chair Mauer reported on the gratification of observing resiliency in action. 

3. Superintendent Report

 Juli Di Chiro reported that a budget committee member would not be appointed during this meeting due to schedule conflicts of applicants.  In addition, she reported on the Administrative Law Conference she attended.  Finally Ms. Di Chiro reported on a meeting of the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council at which representatives of school districts and employee unions from all of Southern Oregon discussed how to organize for passage of Measure 28 and what to do if it does not pass.

4. Affirmative Action Report and Goals

Juli Di Chiro reported on the Affirmative Action Report and Goals for this year.

5. Report on OSBA Annual Convention

 Directors Amrhein and Bacon reported on their attendance at the Oregon School Boards Annual Convention.
 
VII. Hear public requests not a part of the agenda

 There were no requests.

VIII. New Business

 1. Consider Elementary School Closure

The Board briefly discussed the numerical ratings of the School Closure Committee.  Juli Di Chiro presented school capacity issues including projected enrollment for 2003-04, target class sizes, available classrooms at each school and maximum enrollment.    She presented three scenarios:  close one school, close two schools, close one school now and one later.  Ms. Di Chiro recommended that the Board close two schools now based on the reality of the district’s financial condition.

Director Keil moved and Director Bacon seconded that the Board accept the superintendent’s recommendation to close two elementary schools for the 2003-04 year in accordance with the School Closure Committee’s report.

Following discussion, the Board welcomed comments from the audience.  Comments were as follows:

Continue high quality education at middle and high schools.
Close one school, not two.  However, the second school could be identified now.
Left overcrowded Medford schools to come to Ashland.  Amazed at educational possibilities.
Board should have a hotline for creative solutions.  Suggests that the Board come up with ideas that attract low-income families to Ashland.
Support Juli Di Chiro.
Close one school now.  Potential of future income generated from leasing a closed school should be a consideration for determining which school to close.
Thought committee was supposed to rank the schools, not decide whether to close.  Suggested keeping Briscoe open for one more year.
Don’t hurry decision.  A strong beginning or foundation at the elementary level will help students handle middle school and high school cuts.  Close only one school.
Closure committee should have looked at how different schools can be used for different purposes.
There was poor communication among the district, board and community.  Doesn’t want overcrowded classrooms.  Supports closing one school.  Wants printed document that the Board has looked at every idea so community knows that they have been heard.  That would make it easier to support the Board.
Suggest 25% cuts in administrative salaries, similar to classified cuts.
All three situations are workable on different levels.
Close one school.  Will be able to continue quality without overcrowding.  Consider revenue from leasing the school that is closed, but not selling it.
Closing two schools will do the greatest good for all students.  Need to retain quality of high school programs.

Following further discussion among the Board members, the motion failed with the following roll call vote:  Amrhein - No; Bacon - No; Keil - Yes; Littleton - No; Maurer - Yes.

Director Amrhein moved that the Board close Briscoe School now and, when the school district reaches a K-5 target enrollment of 1050 or when financial conditions warrant, Lincoln School be closed. 

Additional public comment was heard as follows:

Do not identify the second school until consideration of traffic and safety for children is considered.
It is important for the community to get behind the Board’s decision.  Increase volunteers; draw on retired population.
Lost trust in process when the parking criteria was known.  Supports closure of one school, but not necessarily Briscoe.
Asked to hear discussion from Board.  Sizes of each classroom should be compared.
Supports closing two schools now.
Does not like uncertainty of closing the second school.

Director Keil moved that the meeting extend beyond 10:00 p.m.  Director Littleton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

Chair Maurer called for the question on the following motion:  “Director Amrhein moved that the Board close Briscoe School now and, when the school district reaches a K-5 target enrollment of 1050 or when financial conditions warrant, Lincoln School be closed.”  The motion passed with the following roll call vote:  Amrhein - Yes; Bacon - Yes; Keil - Yes; Littleton - Yes; Maurer - Yes.

It was suggested that a community-based committee called the innovative solutions committee solicit and examine those ideas. 

The Board recessed at 10:39 p.m. and reconvened at 10:45 p.m.

2. Approve Memorandum of Understanding #2002-03 Between the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council and Ashland School District Regarding Reassignment of Licensed Teachers Due to School Closures

 Juli Di Chiro reported that the administration wants to start working on the teacher assignments in January so this MOU is being presented to the Board prior to being approved by the Ashland Education Association.  Following discussion, Juli Di Chiro recommended that the Board approve the MOU as presented.

 Director Littleton moved that the Board approve Memorandum of Understanding #2002-03 Between the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council and Ashland School District regarding reassignment of licensed teachers due to school closures.  Director Keil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

3. Approve 2001-02 Audit

 Director Bacon explained the difference between ‘qualified’ and ‘unqualified’ opinions in the audit report.  The auditor wants another level of accounting for student body funds and suggested a full-time employee to oversee these accounts at all sites.  The Board may want to consider establishing an indirect cost rate so the district can pay someone to do the accounting requested by the auditor.  Director Keil asked if the Ashland Schools Foundation or a community volunteer could do this. He also asked that the Board be advised of the amount of money in the student body funds, the estimated costs for additional accounting and the percentage of indirect cost.  Director Bacon suggested this would be an opportunity for an internship by an SOU student.

 Director Keil moved that the Board approve the 2001-02 audit as presented.  Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

IX. Old Business

There was no old business.

X. Announcements and Appointments

The next regular session will be held on January 13, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.

XI. Adjournment

 There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:05 p.m.
 
Anita Charters - Secretary


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