An Online Community Discussion on the Corbett School District

Board Meeting Notes – October 16th

Notes and audio provided by Karina Lande who attended this meeting.
Parent. Corbett Community Member. Concerned Citizen.
 

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There is a budget committee vacancy if anyone is interested.

 

Public Comments

 

Alan Pace – Bus Driver and Teachers’ Assistant.
“To the 5 board members who voted to let me decide whether I want the bond to go, Thank You.”
“To the other 2, I’m pretty disappointed in the dissension you guys have caused.” “I’m pretty disappointed and I’m not the only one, I’ll just keep watching”. “So, if this doesn’t pass and something happens to my child in that building, it’s on you!”

Marnie Freeman – Community Member
She spoke to the bond and her hope is that it will pass. “My hope is that we won’t have to borrow that full $15 million amount, in fact my hope is that we’re going to fall somewhere in the $12 million range.” She spoke to many citizens may find hardship with paying and hopes that the district keeps that in mind. She also asked “How many students are we talking about adding to the schools? What’s the intention to adding kids to the current population?”

Tracy Brill – Community Member
She began speaking about her day to day life with her daughter. She also shared about going on the Seattle field trip to the music experience, and that it was a great experience and thanked them for that. She went on to discuss her son whom is struggling with reading and noted how her husband could not read until 3rd grade, and that just like everyone tells her, she feels that it is ok for the children to not be able to read at the younger grades. She also stated her son has a peanut allergy and there was an incident in class and she felt the staff acknowledged the severity of the occurrence. She is also very pleased with the teacher her daughter has whom has helped her adjust to the change of teacher that occurs with the grade change of 2nd – 3rd.

 

It was resolved that any staff will pay only 25% of the regular tuition rate for their students without inter-district transfers or open enrollment eligibility, who attend CSD.

Regarding the bio dome on Randy Trani’s private property, it is being defined as a field trip. The bio dome is not a permanent structure and can be moved from site to site, as is the plan for the environmental science class. It will be moved to other locations but has been in one spot currently since the start of the year. The cost total to the district has been estimated at around $5,000. Randy states that the city of Gresham has told him he does not need a permit as long as it is not in one place for more than 90 days. However it seems like Multnomah county is now saying there should be a conditional use permit and Randy & Peter Fry are working on that. He says it has been approved by the fire department, no additional insurance is needed because it is a field trip.

 

Board priorities for the general obligation bond:

Charlie O’Neil states this is to clear up the questions we’ve heard about what our plans are. These are the priorities in the order of value to the board.

The Board affirms that their priorities for the GO bond include:
1. Replace the current middle school with a modern, safe, energy efficient building.
2. Renovate the gym complex to make it safer seismically, equitable for boys and girls, respectful of the needs of Americans with Disabilities, and adequate for the educational needs of the 21st century.
3. Replace the Bus Barn to meet the actual needs of today’s buses, increase traffic safety, meet ADA standards, increase parking, and increase operational efficiencies.
4. Seismically Upgrade the MPB to make it safe in earthquakes.
5. Address the ADA issues to be respectful of Americans with Disabilities in the high school.
6. Install an all – weather surface track (this may involve a land purchase IF it is
cheaper to do it that way.)
7. Install all weather surfaces to current fields.
8. AND last on the priority list examine the purchase of properties to determine if they are cost effective, increase traffic safety, or decrease traffic congestion.

Randy Trani spoke to the fact that it could be necessary to move 100,000 cubic yards of dirt to put the track around the football field so it may be necessary to buy a property next door to put the track instead of bringing in dirt. Above is the order these things should be done by priority of need.

David Gorman spoke that he feels that #3 & #4 should be swapped, that the safety issues with the MPB should rank higher than the bus barn.

Charlie O’Neil feels the bus barn is very critical due to parking and traffic concerns.

Victoria Purvine stated she agrees with David, on MPB needs above the bus barn. She also thinks that IF property is needed to be purchased for traffic issues, because ODOT has said they will be monitoring the traffic situation and they may require to put in a turn lane. She feels that would need to be a priority above the track and sports fields. (This possibility just came up at the land use hearing on Oct 12th.)

Bob Buttke states that yes that if ODOT requires changes than we’d need to move property purchase up because that would take a lot of funds.
(This property purchase would be other highway frontage directly across from the school not the servepro building which would be an additional land purchase.)

Victoria Purvine asked if we’re discussing this than why aren’t we going to change any of them around? Charlie O’Neil says we’re just trying to get our intentions out and we can change these later if we want to. After further discussion property Purchase was moved above the track.

Just as a reminder from previous meetings it was stated “in order to disguise the things the voters did not seem to want, bill it as gym space and make it whatever you want later”. So remember the fitness center, performing arts theater and yes 5 additional classrooms…not just a gym, but a “gym complex”.

Also regarding the purchase of servepro building (not the possible highway frontage that now may be necessary as of Oct.) “say your buying land for safe traffic flow, even though the intent is not for traffic, it sounds good”. Also note that the track & sports field that the community survey showed were not supported, are still in the priorities.

Graduation Requirements

Charlie O’Neil states it’s our goal to prepare kids and this is just one more thing that prepares them. One more thing to the total deal we are doing, one more thing that adds to that. It just makes sense to me that’s why I’m voting for it.

Victoria Purvine states that she asked at the first reading about modified diplomas and now after research, according to the Oregon Statutes that they will get a modified diploma and she is not ok with that. Leaving a child with the potential for a modified diploma is not what’s best for the student. So I’ll vote no.

Mark Hyzer states he takes to heart that a key to achievement is to have high expectations. That is what we’re doing here by setting the bar high, I think it’s appropriate and is similar to our mandatory AP program and we need to take every opportunity to remove barriers. He votes yes.

Todd Mickalson states as long as we’re not dictating what they do when they leave these grounds than I’m ok with it. He votes yes.

David Gorman states on the first reading he was on the fence but voted yes and he is a firm believer in the value of higher education. However he has thought about it a lot and listened to the community since then and it doesn’t feel appropriate. He thinks we can help them and guide them but he feels it’s more of a decision the students and the families should be making. He feels it’s creating some heartache in the community and he doesn’t feel the cost outweighs the benefits, so he will be voting no.

Public Comment

Jeff Mermilliod
He states this has affected him emotionally that this is being considered. He spoke to many who choose the military and many families are military families and that’s a choice. “I believe this is a wholly inappropriate action for you to expect someone to apply for college when they may have plans not to go to college, whether it be because they know they can not afford it, whether it be because they have to get a job to help support their family or whether it be simply that their not emotionally prepared or ready at this point in life to go to college and they make those other choices. If you mandate this than you are reaching into their personal lives, into their family lives and their situations & circumstances that you don’t know and you don’t need to know. Because it can be very embarrassing to go to instructors and principals and say I know you want me to go to college but I can’t. What if he’s embarrassed? What if he doesn’t want to tell you why? What if he simply doesn’t want to go to college? It is inappropriate for you to sit here as school board members and say that everybody that goes to your school has to be accepted to college. And I’m going to call BS where I see it, because I see you as gaming the system to try and rank your school up.”

Karina Lande
The ranking criteria changed in 2011, Corbett suddenly slipped, now the new criteria is over 50% based on AP and the percentage of our graduates whom gain college acceptance, over 50% of national rankings are based on that so if we force our students to do all of that wow look we’ve got great rankings again and recreated the buzz around Corbett. None of you have given me a single valid argument as to how your goals of breaking barriers, teaching the skills, raising the bar I get all that, but all of that can be achieved by doing it in a class, you do not need to require admittance and you do not need to require it for graduation. Making it mandatory is entirely for rankings.”

Lori Luna
She has 3 children who graduated Corbett schools and they never would have taken an AP course on their own, if it hadn’t had been the only thing offered here. “At least they got a high quality English experience without ever going to college” She believes that applying for apprenticeship programs are equally of value as applying to college, and the process of going through it and having someone expect them to do it so than they know they have done that piece and know they can do it. She refers to many stories of her own children and her husbands personal careers. She applauds the notion of the idea.

Jesse Murs
He works for job corps and is shocked by how many students had high GPA’s and never took an AP class, never took SAT tests let alone applied to college and now they’re in job corp trying to change their lives. He thinks if they had just once took an SAT that those doors would have been opened. He thinks this is a great innovative idea. He talks about the job market and unemployment, and how jobs that anybody could get in the past now require college degrees. He supports the idea and thinks it’s a great thing for the students.

Randy Trani then spoke more to the good of the idea and why he feels it’s important. I then tried to ask Randy “How will any of the good of that be lost by teaching it in a class vs making it a graduation requirement?” Charlie O’Neil than spoke over me “your really out of order you had your say” than I said “no one has answered my question” Charlie said “I’m sorry” and asked if anyone else had any follow up.

David Gorman spoke up and reiterated he’s a supporter of providing all the opportunities we can to the students but he’s just wondering if there is a way to accomplish that without it being a graduation requirement. Possibly a half day assembly that’s mandatory where we provide all the info on trades & colleges and how to go about that, he’s wondering if there’s another way to go about this.

Randy than says if we make it a class requirement and you don’t do it, than you don’t pass the class therefore you still don’t graduate without doing it. He thinks that is a less honest way to go about it and that kids will opt out of anything that’s hard. “We take decisions away from 14,15, 16, and 17 year olds to give choices to 18,19,and 20 year olds”.

(I’d say to this you make it a class requirement meaning it is weighted with all other class requirements so to me by missing one thing you would not fail the class and therefore still would graduate.)

Todd Mickalson says what about for today we amend the resolution to make it a discussion item and table it for the next reading?
Charlie O’Neil says well we have a whole month left to discuss before the final vote on it at next months meeting.

Mark Hyzer states that he is very sensitive to military service and the effort required to get into military far exceeds that of getting into college and so we should include military as an option under the requirements.

Victoria Purvine states we also need to include trade schools, We should amend it to say college, trade school, or military. We also need to include information or a class about financial aid because that will be a lot more helpful than filling out an application.

Second reading passed 4 to 3.

This is a very controversial issue, please contact the board and send them a quick email with your opinion! Here are their email addresses:

charlie-oneil@corbettschooldistrict.org,
bob-buttke@corbettschooldistrict.org,
Annette Calcagno springdale14@comcast.net,
david-gorman@corbettschooldistrict.org,
mark-hyzer@corbettschooldistrict.org,
todd-mickalson@corbettschooldistrict.org,
Victoria Purvine ghpurvine@aol.com

The remainder of the meeting was Randy Trani going over the new state report card. You can view that in a link in a below post.

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