Monday, February 09, 2004

Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in regular session on February 9, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.  Present were:

 

Amy Amrhein               )            Chair

                       

Chuck Keil                   )

Terry Littleton               )

Heidi Parker                 )            Board Members         

Ellie Thivierge            )          

                                   

Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent

Loren Luman, Business Manager

Leeanne Wallace, Certified Representative

Ron Dulaney, Classified Representative

Matt Bolstad, Student Representative

Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary

District Administrators

Media Representatives

 

I.          Call to Order

 

            The meeting was called to order at 7: 33 p.m. by Chair Amrhein. 

 

II.         Pledge of Allegiance

 

III.       Roll Check

 

            A roll of the board was taken and all members were present.

 

IV.              Welcome Visitors

 

            Chair Amrhein welcomed visitors.

 

V.            Consent Agenda

 

1.         Approve minutes of regular and executive sessions of January 12 and work session of January 26, 2004.

 

2.         Personnel

 

                        a.            Resignations

 

Jennifer Bagshaw, Ashland Middle School Teacher currently on a leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation.  It was recommended that her resignation be accepted as presented.

 

Sharon Dvora, Ashland Middle School Art teacher on leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation.  It was recommended that her resignation be accepted as presented.

 

Randye Jensen, Elementary Teacher on leave of absence, submitted her letter of resignation.  It was recommended that her resignation be accepted as presented.

 

Debra Kalmakav, Walker Kindergarten Teacher, submitted her resignation effective the end of this school year.  It was recommended that her resignation be accepted as presented.

 

b.            Leave of Absence Requests

 

            Goly Ostovar, Ashland High School Art Teacher currently on leave of absence, requested a second year of Extended Sick Leave without pay for the 2004-05 school year.  It was recommended that her request be approved as presented.

 

c.            Employment Recommendations

 

            Robert Kuhn was recommended as a temporary .70 Art Teacher at Ashland Middle School replacing Hilary Stetson who resigned.

 

d.            Retirement Requests

 

            Joel Cicerrella, Ashland High School English Teacher, requested early retirement effective March 31, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that his requests be approved as presented.

 

            Barbara Heyerman, Lincoln Blenders Teacher, requested early retirement effective March 1, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that her requests be approved as presented.

 

            Vicki Jorgensen, Ashland Middle and High School Band teacher, requested early retirement effective March 31, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that her requests be approved as presented.

 

            John Lefler, Ashland Middle School Physical Education teacher, submitted his letter of intent to retire the end of this school year.  It was recommended that his request be granted as presented.

 

            Ann Magill, Ashland High School Librarian, requested retirement effective March 1, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that her requests be approved as presented.

 

            Jim Nagel, Athletic Director, requested early retirement effective March 1, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that his requests be approved as presented.

 

            Suzy Snider, Ashland High School Spanish Teacher, submitted a request for early retirement effective March 31, 2004, as well as a 1039 contract to complete this school year.  It was recommended that her requests be approved as presented.

 

            Bruce Strauman, Ashland High School Health Teacher, submitted his letter of intent to retire the end of this school year.  It was recommended that his request be approved as presented.

 

            Chuck Thacker, Bellview Intermediate Teacher, requested retirement effective August 1, 2004.  It was recommended that his request be approved as presented.

 

3.         Amendment to Intergovernmental Contract

 

            Earlier this year, the Board approved an Intergovernmental Contract with the Oregon Department of Education to provide flow-through monies for Lithia Springs and SOCSTC.  It was recommended that the Board approve the Amended Intergovernmental Contract as presented. 

 

Director Keil removed personnel from the consent agenda.  Director Keil moved that the Board approve the consent agenda as amended.  Director Littleton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Juli Di Chiro responded to questions regarding personnel.  Director Keil moved that the Board approve the personnel items as presented.  Director Parker seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

VI.       Reports

 

1.         Student and Staff Representative Reports

 

Matt Bolstad reported on constitutional reviews by the student body, the effects of  the failure of Measure 30, the acting competition, and the successful sports programs.

 

Ron Dulaney, classified representative, announced the next meeting of the Classified Employees Association.

 

Leeanne Wallace, certified representative, thanked the citizens of Ashland for their support of Measure 30, the Elements Inservice Day and the community participants, and urged the Board not to privatize public education.

 

2.            Ashland Schools Foundation Report

 

            Scott Ford, reported on the Impact Grants, buy-in-for books, and reminded everyone that the fundraising campaign begins April 15 with a goal of $300,000. 

 

3.         Classified Employee Week Proclamation

 

            Juli Di Chiro announced that Classified Employee Week is March 1 – 5, and read the Governor’s proclamation. 

 

4.         Board Report

 

            Board members reported on the Elks Lodge honoring Chair Amrhein as the Citizen of the Year, and Measure 30.

 

5.         Superintendent Report

 

In the interest of saving time, the superintendent waived her report.

           

VII.      Hear public requests not a part of the agenda

 

There were no requests.

 

VIII.     New Business

 

            1.            Consider Timeline for Closure of Lincoln Elementary School

 

Juli Di Chiro briefly explained the history of the closure of Briscoe School and the conditions for closure of Lincoln School being when enrollment went below 1050 or when financial conditions warranted closure.   She reviewed the enrollment and available classrooms, recommending that Lincoln School be closed in June of 2005 due to capacity.  She recommended focusing energy  on the three remaining elementary schools of the future and maintaining the Middle and High Schools.

 

The Board received the following comments from the public.

 

The City Council is being asked to direct more funding toward attracting families rather than retirees and businesses.  The For Quality Schools Committee would like to be part of any exploration for corporate sponsorships, and is committed to assist fundraising by the Ashland Schools Foundation.

 

The community needs a rest before closing another school and making adjustments again.  It is bad to place high-risk children in stressful situations.  The Board should look at the Waldorf community as a source of revenue.

 

Give the community time to explore opportunities.  Envision possibilities of what can be in the future.  Look at the priorities and lessons of the school district.  Look for ways that diverse needs can be filled.  See the creative energies that exist for improved solutions.  Embrace this community as a whole including families with older and younger children.  See the value of our neighborhoods.

 

A petition was circulated which obtained 1560 signatures asking the board to retain four elementary schools in this city.  The Board should delay its  decision to close an elementary school.  Take time to work with the community. 

 

Small neighborhood schools are best for the children and the community.  We have families that might qualify for Title I who are not participating.  Create Title I heroes.

 

We should not run the district like a business.  What if Parks and Recreation operated like the school district?  With Lincoln’s proximity to the university, could SOU utilize some classrooms?  Whether or not Lincoln closes, there should be an educator village at the Lincoln campus.  The district is rich in land and poor in students.  We should look at affordable housing on district property.  Defer the closure of Lincoln School.

 

Lincoln should be closed this year.  Everyone wants a quality education experience for their children.  We have made significant changes to our high school to fund district shortfalls.  You are asking all of the kids to subsidize Lincoln School.  That should not go unnoticed.  Some people are going to have to give up a neighborhood school with less than 200 kids.  Half of the birth rates at Ashland Hospital are from people who live in Phoenix and Talent.  We know the enrollment shows we will have 300 in three elementary schools and that is below the Quality Education Model.

 

The Board should leave with a sense of hope, and feel the support of our community that wants to work very hard in solving our problems.  The community wants to maintain four small schools as long as it makes sense to do that.  Please grant the gift of time and this opportunity to work with the community.

 

Quality education can only happen if you have fiscal stability.  Funding is only going to get harder and you need to close a school either this year or next year.  There are two sources of income when you close a school -- the savings of the people who are gone and the savings from the fiscal plant.  You can generate $300,000 to $500,000 a year per school on leases.

 

A study of how small schools affect student performance was shared with the Board. 

 

This is a permanent measure to address a potentially temporary problem.  We can turn the financing and child population around in Ashland.  The disruption of the school system and the synergy of the teachers and students is a very negative thing.  Lincoln is a Title I School.  The Smart Reading Program is only available at Lincoln School because it is a Title I School.  Rather than set a date for closure, effectively cutting off future discussion, you should discuss this issue in the future.

 

Closing school may appear to be an easy way to save money for the short term, but all of the options have not been explored.  A long run cost analysis would show permanent financial risk.  Some ideas include increasing the amount of facility rental in the schools.  Consider cutting the amount of administrators.  The school grounds are an asset to the City.  The good will of the community is the key to survival.  If the levy failed, it would cost more money than anything else covered tonight.  Look for ways other than closing a school.

 

Don’t choose a building over people.  If you keep Lincoln open, you will be right back here next year.

 

Cuts have to be made somewhere.  The high school is already feeling the cuts; it is not the same quality school it was four years ago.  Programs have been lost. 

 

Chair Amrhein invited Board comments. Following discussion, Director Keil moved that the Board accept the recommendation of the superintendent and instruct the staff to operate three elementary schools, closing Lincoln Elementary in June of 2005.  The motion passed with the following roll call vote:  Amrhein – yes; Keil – yes; Littleton – yes; Paker – no; Thivierge – yes.

 

2.         Adopt ESD Resolutions

 

Juli Di Chiro presented the ESD resolutions for the next school year and responded to questions.  Director Keil moved that the Board adopt the proposed ESD resolutions for the 2004-05 school year as presented.

 

3.         Consider Reduction in Force

 

Juli Di Chiro explained that, based on budget revenue projections, the district will need to consider reduction in force for both the certified and classified employee groups to balance next year’s budget.  She clarified that this is a legal requirement for a timeline, and hopes not to have to lay off employees.

 

Director Thivierge moved that the School Board consider reduction in force for both the certified and classified employee groups to balance the 2004-05 budget.  Director Keil seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

4.         Memorandum of Understanding #2004-1 Between Southern Oregon Bargaining Council and Ashland School District Regarding Waiver of Prep Period

 

Juli Di Chiro explained the purpose of the memorandum and clarified that it was for one year only.           

 

Director Keil moved that the Board approve Memorandum of Understanding #2004-1 Between Southern Oregon Bargaining Council and Ashland School District Regarding Wavier of Prep Period as presented.           

 

IX.       Old Business

 

There was no old business


 

X.            Announcements and Appointments

 

The Board will hold an Executive Session on Friday, February 20, 2004, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. at 635 Weller Lane, Ashland, to review executive, administrative and certified personnel with district administrators.

 

The Board will hold a Work Session on Monday, February 23, 2004, at 7:00 p.m. to begin a review of the Ashland Quality Education Model.  The location will be determined at a later time.

 

The next regular session will be held on March 8, 2004, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.

 

XI.            Adjournment

 

            There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:22 p.m.

 

Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary



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