Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in regular session November 14, 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 7:03 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.
Chair Parker awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Board to Martha Howard Bullen for the Howard Foundation’s $50,000 donation to the Ashland High School Health Center.
Chair Parker awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Board to Mark Shoenleber for being selected this year’s favorite teacher by the Mail Tribune Choice Survey. Even though Rick Sharp was not present, he also received the same award.
V. Consent Agenda
1. Approve minutes of joint session of September 8, regular session of October 10; work session of October 18; executive, special and work sessions of October 24, and work session of November 8, 2005.
a. Request for Leave of Absence
Krista Menold, First Grade Teacher at Helman Elementary, requested a leave of absence from January 3, 2006 through the end of the school year. It was recommended that her request be approved as presented.
Director Alexander moved that the Board approve the consent agenda as amended. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
VI. Hear Public Requests not a part of the agenda
There were no public requests.
Due to illness, Chair Parker turned the meeting over the Vice-Chair, Amy Patton.
1. Student and Staff Representative Reports
Anna Cochran, student representative, reported on athletic activities, a clothing drive, a canned food drive, and a blood drive.
Diane DeMerritt, certified representative, reported on grants that teachers have worked on, Lauren Shaffer’s class doing exchange letters, high school and middle school teachers meeting to talk of literacy between the two schools, student photography on display in the Ashland High School library, Ashland High School Orchestra Play-A-Thon, a $1000 grant from the Soroptimist Club to the technology classes, and Ashland Middle School Drama Club presenting a Shakespeare play.
Amy Korth, Classified Representative, reported on a PERS workshop in Medford, and gave a tribute to the custodial, maintenance and kitchen staff. She talked of concerns of elementary kitchen staff working with Sodexho.
2. K-8 Program Update
Superintendent Di Chiro reported that two meetings have been held with interested staff and a third meeting has been scheduled. Progress is being made and she is hopeful that something will be brought to the Board for review in January. Director Patton stated that she heard some teachers were concerned that, if they were accepted into the K-9 Program, they would not be allowed to return to their original position if the program was discontinued. Director Patton asked that something be arranged to protect staff. Superintendent Di Chiro explained that this would be very difficult as it could result in displacement of another teacher. Director Patton asked that this be discussed when the K-8 Program committee meets.
3. Kindergarten Task Force Update
Superintendent Di Chiro reported that the committee of 12 members has held two meetings to explore different models and to review obstacles and costs involved for extending the program this year. Two additional meetings are scheduled. The committee hopes to make a recommendation for this year at the December meeting.
4. Discuss Resolution #2005-9 Regarding State Spending Limit Initiatives
Director Amrhein reported that this resolution was presented to the Oregon School Board’s Association board and members at the annual convention, and it passed unanimously by those who voted. Director Amrhein explained that this spending limit initiative is being supported by Freedom Works, which is an organization that is funded out of Washington, D.C. They are considering putting on the ballot for 2006 a spending cap for Oregon based on population growth and inflation. Colorado had one in place for 13 years and just last week voted to suspend the cap because it had a very negative impact on their public services. In California, it was voted down last week. Freedom Works, if they pursue it, will be seeking signatures through the mail. Anyone with questions regarding this issue can contact Amy Amrhein by email or by telephone.
5. Affirmative Action Report and Goals
Superintendent Di Chiro reviewed the affirmative goals explaining that progress has been made on gender equity amongst administrators, but we have no minority administrators at this time. We currently have 4.3% minority employees districtwide, with a goal of 5%. We have been unable to achieve gender equity at the elementary or middle school levels. We have made progress at the high school level. Also, we have not been able to achieve gender equity amongst the classified employees.
Superintendent Di Chiro felt improvements could be made in terms of recruitment. She felt we would need to use nontraditional means of recruitment and reach outside the area. Director Patton suggested revising the goals.
6. Ashland School District Report Cards
Superintendent Di Chiro reviewed the district and school report cards. She explained that all of the elementary teachers meet the definition of highly qualified. Middle School teachers are fully certified, but many do not meet the definition of highly qualified because they must have an endorsement in every subject they teach. High School teachers are also fully certified, but special education and alternative education teachers do not meet the definition of highly qualified because they must have an endorsement in every subject for which they give credit. Superintendent Di Chiro explained that this is supposed to be corrected by the end of this school year, but we will not be able to do so. It is a problem for many school districts, particularly those of rural areas.
7. September Financial Report
Pam Lucas, Business Manager, reviewed the September financial report, explaining that this represents the general fund and is where we should be at this time of year. She further explained that the audit has been completed and will be presented to the Board for approval at the December meeting. However, the auditor cannot be present on that date to respond to questions.
8. Carol Davis, Bond and Facilities Committee Chair, reported on the activities of the committee which included touring all of the school facilities, conducting and reviewing staff surveys, learning about general obligation bonds, and reviewing slide shows of new construction schools. Committee members also reviewed the bond process that occurred ten years ago; as well as mechanical, electrical, architectural, and seismic data that was recently prepared by DOWA. The committee has begun to establish criteria for prioritizing the needs issue. The demographer will present an updated report on December 7. Community forums are scheduled for January 9, 10, and 11. The next meeting will be held November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ashland High School library.
9. Board Report
Board members reported on the OSBA convention in Portland, the Medford Jazz Band, activities of the Ashland Schools Foundation, a chemistry lab class, “Ah Wilderness,” and the Save our Schools and Playground committee.
10. Superintendent Report
Superintendent Di Chiro reported on the Key Communicators meeting held earlier this month. She also reported on the Bellview Art night and Vision Driven Strategic Planning for increasing student achievement by Kate Dixon.
VIII. Unfinished Business
1. Update on Lincoln School Lease
Superintendent Di Chiro reported that Siskiyou School did not accept the district counterproposal and has decided to discontinue negotiations for leasing a portion of Lincoln School. She further reported that late in the afternoon today she received a written letter of intent to lease Lincoln School submitted by Plexis Health Care. Plexis requested an executive session to discuss its proposal with the School Board. Superintendent Di Chiro finally reported that she is scheduled to meet with Arnie Greene of Lithia Springs on November 16.
Director Alexander explained that Siskiyou School did not want to pay all of the utilities for Lincoln School when they only wanted to lease a portion of the building. She hoped the Board could still work out a lease with Siskiyou School.
Paul Copeland stated that closing Lincoln was based on poor planning. The facilities study is not yet complete, and the Board doesn’t know what it wants to do with the building yet. Mr. Copeland supported leasing to Siskiyou School.
Superintendent Di Chiro explained that the Board should consider the budget projections for the next four years, and receive and review the updated demographer’s report prior to determining the future use of Lincoln School.
It was agreed that the following will be done and considered in an executive session to be scheduled to discuss the lease of Lincoln School: respond to Siskiyou School to clarify that the utility bills should not be as high as they envision; Superintendent Di Chiro should meet with Lithia Springs representatives.
2. Superintendent Contract Negotiations
Director Amrhein explained that she and Director Patton met with Superintendent Di Chiro to discuss contract negotiations, but felt the Board had not given parameters to enable them to make progress. She asked the Board to schedule a special session using the current superintendent contract to set some broad-based parameters to discuss negotiations, and then discuss the proposed contract in open session.
The Board scheduled an Executive Session to be held in the District Board Room on November 17, 2005, at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the lease of Lincoln School. A special session was scheduled to follow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the parameters of the superintendent’s contract.
John Maurer stated that the most important job of the school board is to employ a superintendent. He recommended that the Board put all of its energies at this time into negotiating the superintendent’s contract.
IX. New Business
1. Approve Contract with DOWA for a Master Plan of Ashland High School
Superintendent Di Chiro reported on the development of a Master Plan to be completed by November 30 so the Bond and Facilities Planning Committee would have the information available before making a final bond recommendation to the Board. She recommended that the master plan contract proposed by DOWA be approved not to exceed $50,136.
Director Amrhein moved that the Board approve the contract with DOWA for the Ashland High School Master Plan as recommended. The motion died for lack of a second.
Director Amrhein moved that the Board extend the meeting for one-half hour. Director Marr seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The Board agreed to discuss this issue at the November 17 special session.
2. Social Studies Curriculum
Juanita Fagan reviewed the process for recommending adoption of the Oregon State Standards for K-12 Social Studies. Chair Parker encouraged administrators to use students and community members on such committees in the future.
Director Amrhein moved that the Board adopt the proposed K-12 Social Studies Standards as recommended. Director Alexander seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
3. Board Policy Revisions – First Reading
The Board reviewed Policy BD/BDA, Board Meetings/Regular Board Meetings, and took no action.
The Board reviewed Revised Policy JHFE, Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse, for first reading. Director Alexander moved that the Board approve Board Policy Revision JHFE for first reading as presented. Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
4. Resolution on Transfer of Funds
The Board considered and amended the following resolution.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors hereby transfers:
Fund 100, General Fund: $675,000 from Transfers (5000) to Support Services (2000) in the amount of $200,000, due to maintenance expenses; and to Facility Acquisition (4000) in the amount of $475,000, due to unanticipated bond expenses.
Director Marr moved that the Board approve Resolution #2005-10 to transfer funds as amended. Director Alexander seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
5. Appoint Board Liaison to Wellness Committee
Director Amrhein moved that the Board appoint Director Marr to serve as a board liaison to the district Wellness Committee. Chair Parker seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
X. Announcements and Appointments
An Executive Session will be held in the District Board Room on November 17, 2005, at 9:00 a.m. to discuss the lease of Lincoln School. A special session will follow at 10:00 a.m. to discuss the parameters of the superintendent’s contract, and to discuss the proposed DOWA contract to develop a Master Plan for Ashland High School.
A joint special session with the Ashland School Board, Ashland City Council and Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. at the Ashland Council Chambers.
A Budget Meeting will be held on Monday, November 28, at 7:00 p.m. in the District Board Room to receive an update on the district’s financial status and discuss development of the 2006-07 proposed budget.
A Bond and Facilities Planning Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 30, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ashland High School Library.
A Board Work Session will be held on December 5, 2005, at 10:00 a.m. in the District Board Room to meet with the district auditor.
A Bond and Facilities Planning Committee Meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 7, 2005, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ashland High School Library.
The next regular session will be held on Monday, December 12, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m.