Monday, November 11, 2002

Regular Session Minutes

Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in regular session on November 11, 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

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.

IV. Welcome Visitors

 Chair Maurer welcomed visitors.

V. Consent Agenda

1. Approve minutes of regular session of October 14 and Board Retreat of November 1, 2002

 It was recommended that the minutes of regular session of October 14 and the Board Retreat of November 1, 2002, be approved as presented.

2. Personnel

a. Employment Recommendations

Joe Dunbrasky was recommended as a Temporary .50 Physical Education Teacher at Helman Elementary replacing Julie Ponder who is on leave of absence.

Julie Mullineaux was recommended as a Temporary .50 Physical Education Teacher at Ashland Middle School replacing Julie Ponder who is on leave of absence.

b. Requests for Early Retirement

Butch McBaine, Ashland High School English Teacher, submitted a letter of intent to retire effective June 12, 2003.  It was recommended that his request be granted as presented.

Lonnie Harper, Ashland Middle School Counselor, submitted a letter of intent to retire effective December 31, 2002 and finish the school year on a 1039 contract.  It was recommended that his request be granted as presented.

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

VI. Reports

1. Student and Staff Representative Reports

 Amy Hopkins, Student Representative, reported on homecoming week and leadership activities.

 Ron Dulaney, Classified Representative, discussed the new requirements for educational assistants and explained the additional work loads for the office managers this year. 

Therese Van Reenen, Certified Representative reported on the completion of elementary and middle school parent conferences.  She further explained the stress employees are experiencing due to rumors about school closures and the added work loads resulting from budget reductions.

2. AHS Japanese Exchange Vendor

 Jeff Schlecht explained the proposal for Ashland School District to become a foreign exchange center enabling the Japanese Program to be expanded to half-time.  He expects to bring a proposal to the Board for approval at the February meeting. 

3. Ashland Schools Foundation

 Diana Shavey reported on the SOS Fact Sheet and how the Foundation distributed $300,000 to the Ashland School District to offset budget reductions.  She further reported on the performance of Picnic fundraiser and the alumni project.

4. Review Demographer’s Report

Juli Di Chiro reviewed the demographer’s report explaining that the district anticipates a student population decline of 15.2% over the next five years.  Director Keil suggested that the demographer’s report be updated in two or three years.  He further suggested that two copies of the demographer’s report be sent to the Ashland Public Library.  Diana Shavey suggested that the report be placed on the website for the City of Ashland.

5. School Closure Committee Report

 Chair Maurer reported that the School Closure Committee has collected data and will be evaluating that data over the next three weeks.  A public meeting will be held on December 2 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ashland High School Commons for the data to be discussed and for the School Closure Committee to make a recommendation to the Board.

 The Board reads all of the letters and e-mails submitted on this topic.  In addition, the Board members will be at the elementary schools to gather public input and share information.
6. Legislative Update

 Director Amrhein reported that polling indicates that Measure 28 will not pass in January.  Failure of that measure would result in a $500,000 shortfall to the Ashland School District.

7. Board Report

 Director Bacon reported on the Junior Olympics Cross Country Meet.  Director Littleton reported on her attendance at the Ashland High School play, Picnic.  Director Keil attended a conference at which the legislators were urged to find stable funding.  Chair Maurer reported on the volleyball team’s successful season.

8. Superintendent Report

 Juli Di Chiro briefly discussed the new Ashland High School schedule.  She invited everyone to visit the Ashland Middle School on Thursday and Friday for a fundraiser sponsored by the art class for designed mailboxes.  Ms. Di Chiro reported on a grant available to the Ashland School District through the No Child Left Behind Act.  She announced that on November 19 she will be visiting with Jeff Schlecht on School House, and on December 17 a discussion will be held regarding the Board’s decision on school closure on School House.  Ms. Di Chiro announced that a meeting will be held on November 21 involving all of the districts in Southern Oregon, and representatives from the Ashland Education Association and the Oregon School Employees Association, to plan for the election in January and to talk about the impact for the future if that measure fails.

9. Class Size Report

 Juli Di Chiro reviewed a recap of the elementary students living in Ashland.  She also reviewed the interdistrict transfers and the attendance zone transfers.

10. Affirmative Action Report and Goals

 This item was tabled until the December meeting.

VII. New Business

 1. Consider the Closure of Two Elementary Schools

Juli Di Chiro asked the Board to consider the closure of two elementary schools rather than one based on the demographer’s report and declining enrollment.  Board discussion followed and Juli Di Chiro responded to questions.

The Board took input from the public which included the following comments.

What alternatives to closing the schools have actually been sought?
Are there other assets the school district has considered selling?  
The demographics support closing a school, but what is the impact on the capacity of the remaining schools?   

If you close two schools, what will happen to Title I funding in this district?

Part of the atmosphere of a small neighborhood school is walking to the school safely. 

My daughter’s class size is 50% larger this year than last year.  I thought this was a temporary situation.  Can you consider making class sizes for grades 1-3 similar to previous years.

Let parents know that input is welcome before it is too late.  I think it is a bad decision to close one or two schools.  We have creative people and we can come up with something better.  Studies show that effective teaching comes from small schools with strong community support.  Many parents will look for home schooling or private schools if the configuration of the current schools is changed.

If we reduced two schools we would have 397 students in three schools.  A larger school has a  more institutional environment.  We have a lot of angry people because we expanded the high school and middle school and now we are closing elementary schools and you are going to ask for a youth activity levy.  Closing a school is only 1% of your budget.  That is not enough savings for the trade off.

It would cost an enormous amount to rebuild the closed schools if the district needed them again.

The Board should consider moving the 6th grade back to the elementary schools; then move the CLC program to the Middle School campus. 

Think about the children first.

With the Middle School having so much open space, consider using the Middle School wing for a K-8 small community school or something that can be approved as an option to relieve the capacity.

Director Amrhein moved that the Board consider closing two elementary schools for the 2003-04 school year.  Director Keil seconded the motion and amended it to include that the district staff continue to explore more options for the most effective and efficient consideration of sites.  Director Amrhein accepted the amendment, and the motion passed unanimously.

Director Littleton clarified that approval of this motion does not mean the Board is closing any schools.  The School Closure Committee is being asked to consider such.

2. Adopt the Career Related Learning Standards

 Barbara Fields reported on the proposed learning standards and responded to questions.  Director Amrhein moved that the Board adopt the standards as presented.  Director Bacon seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

3. Appoint Budget Committee Members

 Howard Braham submitted a letter of application to serve as Budget Committee Member.  Juli Di Chiro recommended that the Board appoint Howard Braham to serve until June 30, 2005 and extend the final budget committee vacancy until filled. 

 Director Keil moved that the Board appoint Howard Braham to serve as Budget Committee Member for a term expiring June 30, 2005.  Director Amrhein seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

VIII. Hear Public Requests not a part of the agenda

There were none.

IX. Old Business

There was no old business.

X. Announcements and Appointments

A Board Work Session will be held on December 2, 2002, at 6:30 p.m. in the Ashland High School Commons to hear the findings of the School Closure Committee and to hear public comments on issues related to school closure.

The next regular session will be held on December 9, 2002, at 7:30 p.m. in the Ashland Council Chambers.

Board Members will be at the elementary schools to receive put input regarding school closure on the following dates from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.:  John Maurer @ Bellview on November 14;  Amy Amrhein @ Briscoe on November 21;  Chuck Keil at Walker on November 21; Terry Littleton at Helman on November 21; Curt Bacon at Lincoln on November 18.

XI. Adjournment

 There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary

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