Corbett School District Regular School Board Meeting
Wednesday February, 2015
The below notes were taken by Karina Lande from audio recordings. Approved minutes and agendas can be found here.
* NOTE: This web site is provided as a courtesy for those interested in following along with the happenings in our district, especially those that live in Corbett. This site and these board notes are not meant to replace official CSD board meeting minutes, which are usually online 3-7 months from each meeting. Thank you to Karina Lande for sharing the below update from the above meeting. Audio is also available if anyone questions the content.
The meeting started with another presentation from our special education staff. The focus was on early intervention and the strategies they use to help those students.
Gary Purvine – This very day, Kate Brown the new Oregon Governor stated in her inaugural speech that her goal would be to bring back trust and transparency to Oregon government, because the citizens do not have faith in the state leaders. This is the exact same problem I have with the school district.
Tonight the board is evaluating the superintendent based on his own self evaluation. In his testimony regarding the building of trust in the community his statement was “he sent all of the Flyers to the secretary of states office for review”, and said “how much more trustworthy could he be?”
What was left out of this evaluation was the information that the state only looks to see if you are campaigning …. and not for accuracy of information (submitted). It is this type of lack of full disclosure that leads to suspicion regarding information coming from the district. I encourage you as the board to take this information into consideration when doing your evaluation. Thank You.
Kristy – There’s no significant budgetary changes. Randy will talk about some decisions we are waiting for from ODE later. That could significantly affect our budget but at this time there is nothing to report.
Auditors will be here next month to discuss the audit. We’ve revamped the internal process for preschool & Kindergarten tuition. We’ve had quite a few families falling behind so we are nudging them more with phone calls and polite letters to bring their accounts current. We’ve had about 15 applicants for the office position and will be making that selection soon. Are there any questions?
Mark – In summary under transfers, it doesn’t show any year to date totals, will it?
Kristy – Yes it just hasn’t happened yet. It will though the money is actually budgeted in other funds. These transfers out are coming out of our general fund into others to help support the expenses there.
Victoria – I sent an email to Randy asking some questions and I’d like to go over it with you. My understanding is that we are going to be receiving funds for 1,923 students which brings our budget up to about $13 million. My question is then, that is an additional 2.6 million dollars into our budget my question was where is that extra money currently allocated? And the answer came back that we haven’t done anything with it. But when I was looking at the over all budget that we have, we voted on last June, it’s the $13,248,651 and when we go over to the kids it’s the 1,923 that totals revenue 13,243663 which is within $5,000 worth of what we said we were going to do last year verses what we have right now. So then, is that correct that those numbers are based on that same information?
Kristy – Those numbers were our “adopted” budget by the board which at the time we didn’t know much. Like a lot about the charter school was still up in the air. I think we actually budgeted conservatively at that time.
Victoria – Our adopted budget at that time shows that we were budgeting 1,500 kids that’s what we were showing. But when we adopted the budget it showed a number that looked like we were running off of 1900 kids so what I asked was it looks like we’ve appropriated that money, so where have we allocated it?
Randy – Clarifies ADMW not actual kids. Secondly I thought we tried to answer this in the email. If you end up with more funds then you budgeted at the end, you don’t spend those so they aren’t allocated anywhere. They’re just going to be a carry forwards that would be carried forward and in the next budgeting cycle we would decide what to do with that money. That’s the simplest answer there is. Also 2.6, or 2.7 million, it could play out. If you look on the report in December you’ll see in state school support it’s $963,000 compared to November where it’s $739,000. So it’s about a $224,000 difference, so if you just go like this Dec, Jan, Feb, March, April, & May; 6 payments of $224,000 that’s not going to get to the 2.6 million by the time this fiscal year ends. It may depending on what the legislature says starting next year. So at the end of May we are not going to have received 2.7 million dollars.
Victoria – Ok but I asked ODE if we were going to be getting this extra 2.6 million and they confirmed that we were going to be getting the 2.6. So my question was then why are we not talking about this as a board when we are talking about the needs for the schools and seismic and our buildings need all this stuff yet it hasn’t come to the board with where do we want to start looking at this money. Especially if we’re going to start looking at what next years budget is, we need to start doing that now so that we can direct where we are going to go with that money.
Randy – And that’s when we do it. At the end of the year at the budget meeting.
Kristy – I think part of what your asking is we have a general fund total revenue of $11,6 million. So let’s say without that 2.6 million because that’s not budgeted in here, let’s say that we don’t receive $11.6 million in revenue from these sources, we only receive $11 million but we receive $600,000 in revenue from another source, we could potentially use that for the current expenditures allocations for those dollars. So that could backfill some of the lost revenue. If we lose revenue in other sources we might not have to allocate the entire 2.6 million, part of that might go to backfill what we’ve already allocated.
Victoria – And I get that but to me if we have extra dollars come in, that full amount should come to the board and say where do you guys want to spend this, not as we’re already using it to backfill in other areas.
Kristy – It would be the amount in excess of the current expenditures. Any amount that we receive and expect to spend in excess of what’s already been allocated, that is what the board would need to approve.
Victoria – Ok then it goes back to my same question here, which is, that in June we had the budget total at $13,248,651 and our ADMW numbers came out to within $5,000 of that so was that part of this that we voted on back in June?
Kristy – No we didn’t know that this was going to happen back then.
Randy – I think that 13 million number it’s all the funds combined.
Victoria – So when did we find out that we were getting this money?
Randy – We told you we were getting the money when we found out in December.
Victoria – So that first payment came in November or December? I thought that I saw something in November?
Randy – No, it was December 5th. You can see the payment change happened in December it goes from $739,000 to $963,000.
Victoria – Ok. That just to me seems kind of strange, that we had those two numbers but we hadn’t been discussing it?
Kristy – Yeah I think that what your looking at is more of just a coincidence. Any other questions?
Board moves on to accepting Budget Committee resignation of Micheal Wilson. Holds over action item to select new committee member until next meeting, due to having no candidates.
PERSONAL NOTES FROM KARINA LANDE :
I don’t remember anyone saying in December that we are getting an extra 2.6 million dollars in funding this year. What I remember hearing was “there’s no significant changes”. Now looking back I can see the $200,000 jump in monthly revenue but that’s it, and only would be known if you really scour the budget every month. I was personally a little perplexed on this extra 2.6 million dollars, how we are getting it and what it may mean for the district, etc.. I contacted Victoria Purvine to ask some questions and she explained the details and shared her understanding with me. I wanted to share that here for all of you as well:
MY EMAIL TO BOARD DIRECTOR PURVINE:
Hi Victoria, I am reviewing audio from the February board meeting and I’m wondering if you could explain to me about this 2.6 million dollars? Why are we getting it? What is it supposed to be used for? How did you learn we were getting it when no one else seems to be talking about it? I’m just a bit confused and would appreciate your time explaining it to me if you can. Thank You, Karina Lande
VP’S MESSAGE BACK TO ME:
I went over the audio and I understand your question, because I was confused too. The December 4, 2014 updated information from the Oregon Department of Education showed we have 1,923.94 weighted students in our District, when the budget was adopted the number of weighted students was 1,525.92. Based on the difference in the numbers the District is scheduled to receive an additional one time dollar amount of around $2.6 million dollars.
Why? Because it turns out that under current law when a District looses students from a Charter school the District gets the extended ADMw for those students, even if the students move over to the District school. My understanding had been that the students actually had to leave the District for the money to remain, as a protection against a rapid fall in student enrollment in a District, not in a school, so this was news to me. Apparently the law has been in effect for a while, though I understand it may change since you can see how this would affect the overall State funding for all Districts with Charters opening in larger numbers.
What I was trying to understand was where was the money since we are being told there are no significant changes to the budget, and I believe that is a significant amount of money. With some back and forth with the District, and some clarifying conversations with others, I think I have a better grasp of the situation than I did at the Board meeting.
If you go to the ODE website and look-up the Small School Funding category, and then drop down to the Estimates and Warranties section, you will find the Districts listed Estimated Apportionment throughout the State. Corbett tends to fall at page 149 in each of these reports and they are listed out by month. Under the estimated apportionment you can see that the December 15, 2014 ODE state support is listed at $11,562,617 ( SEE ABOVE IMAGE ) currently we are showing on the projected actual for the budget at $8,895,118 , which is where we started the school year.
So, why isn’t this considered a significant change to the budget when we have heard that the possible decision by ODE to remove the small school correction is? Because we haven’t done a supplemental budget to appropriate those dollars into the budget and the $580,000 for the small school correction is already part of the budget.
However, I feel it is important the Board discuss this dollar amount and find out what the community feels would be the best use of these dollars, and then direct the Superintendent on where to allocate these funds. I have asked that this be put on the March agenda as a discussion item.
Hope this answers your questions.
MY EMAIL TO BOARD DIRECTOR PURVINE:
Victoria, Thank you very much for your time responding to me. I have one more quick question if you don’t mind, that is does it matter how the money is spent? Any laws/policy governing that? Would it matter if it’s say spent on instruction vs facilities?Thanks again for sharing with me what you know! Karina Lande
HER MESSAGE BACK TO ME:
I don’t know of any laws or policies regarding how it is spent. What I heard cautioned at training sessions is you don’t want to spend money on staff or programs with one time dollars, because next year the money won’t be there to continue what you’ve started, unless you think you can pass an operating levy to continue the changes.
I just have a hodge podge of stuff here. He hands out info and talks about our students’ PSAT scores. Again, you can see the December meeting notes as this has been gone over the last 3 board meetings in a row. Talks about our test rates and our average scores, which were all very good…..
Not so fun stuff, which I don’t actually know what this one means because it’s politics. I’ll just share with you what I know. This is just information being shared about state budgets and legislation. I’ve heard numbers between and 7-8 billion. However it’s actually a reduction in the funding per student if in the 7 billion range. They give you information about Oregon how our instruction time is less than across the nation, our class sizes among the highest, and we rank near the bottom in achievement. This is all trying to get legislature to keep us whole by going to 7.875 billion which would outpace school inflation and add an increase of $380 per student funding. I couldn’t tell you where I really think that it’s going to land, Salem is kind of a mess rate now.
This is 4 years of data from TSCC. It’s per ADMR so per kid expenditures for Multnomah county. Let’s pretend that the small high school adjustment went away last year, so you’ll see that Corbett without makes us even less funded than everyone else. However the amount we dedicate to instruction is higher than anyone else. We should get the new TSCC updates this spring.
I went down to ODE and I met with Rob Saxon regarding this small high school adjustment “question”. Where it stands right now is our lawyer is back in town and he will be drafting another letter to ODE over the next week. There’s a lot of information that we shared with him but I’m just going to run through it really quickly. Here’s the basic reasoning that we went to ODE with;
Corbett followed the ODE process to receive a school ID #. Based upon the ODE process and their decision to award the number Corbett made the decision to budget and staff for two separate schools. Removing the small high school adjustment from a district that has been dependent upon those funds for decades would create a sudden and huge financial blow to the lowest funded district in Multnomah county.
0There’s also little guidance from ODE on how separate schools should be in order to earn a different school ID #. There’s evidence from across the state that ODE has approved dozens of schools who share the same facilities with different ID #’s. Many of those schools share many of the same features of the Corbett school and the Corbett enviro STEM school. Most importantly Corbett was not given a notice and delay period in which to respond to the ODE concerns.
We provided them with copies of our email communications during the process with over 6 different ODE staff. With the help of our law firm we went through every district in the state identifying those with schools with multiple ID’s occupying the same buildings or the same campus. Without listing them off, we found instances of everything we do, somewhere in the state.
There’s evidence that: schools can serve students in the same grade level, in different grade levels, schools can be virtual schools, can be a charter and a non charter, can have 2 non charter schools in the same building, curricular differences can be very large, curricular differences can be very small, one of the two schools may receive the small high school adjustment, although might not always be 2 high schools. They may be a high school and a grade school, or middle school, or virtual school. There’s evidence the 2 schools may share libraries or gyms, they may share personnel, the students may be cross enrolled.
So everything we are currently doing occurs somewhere in the state.
There is no other school in the state that has 2 high schools in the same building, and receives the small school adjustment.
(I have to wonder though if those districts he listed above may be doing only one of the things listed and still qualify, whereas Corbett is doing many of them or all of them, this may be the difference?)
Randy – I spoke to Rob and he got it. There are schools in PPS where they have 2 schools in the elementary, one is a title school and one is not, one is a magnet. There’s lots of instances where charter schools are doing this. Right now where it stands is ODE is going to look at things and let us know.
What I can pretty much, well I can’t guarantee anything…. Put it this way, I would be shocked if ODE says to us there’s not enough separation between your schools and we want all that money back right now.
I would be just shocked, that is not the impression I got. If that is where they land I think they are going to make that as minimal impact as they can. They gave examples where they’ve had to get money back and they’ve stretched it out over 5-10 years.
What I do think that will come of this, and this is where our attorney will write the next letter, is ODE needs to be really super clear about what they constitute as enough separation and I think there’s enough schools in the state that they can’t come down and say they need to be in separate buildings. Otherwise they have to go to all these other schools and say your going to lose your ID # too, because that would be the only fair way to do it. But I’m not a politician in Salem so I don’t really know where we will land.
I also shared the red & blue graph with Rob, and again he really got it because he used to be the superintendent of Sherwood and when he was there they were the lowest funded district in the state per pupil for the same reasons that we are now…. That’s all I have for the superintendent’s report.
(What I gathered from the ODE letter was that the ID # is being pulled and as of this year we will no longer receive that funding. In the remaining payments this year from the state we won’t get that money. However, it won’t be retroactive so they won’t make us pay back from any previous years. Also as it seems we are getting that extra 2.6 million this year, so the loss shouldn’t cause undue financial hardship to the district. Knowing now, they can plan accordingly for next year. All in all, if it is going to happen, this is probably the best timing we could have hoped for.)
Action Items – lottery standards for out of district students & facilities task force
Hands out graphs
Randy – The facilties group is working on what is the right size of our district. We know where we think class size is best and that’s under 30. The other part is the number of classrooms. Now I’ll leave it to David explain the updated graph. This is the graph I gave out 2 months ago but it’s been revised to reflect more accurately the district size to the class size. If we had 680 in the district we’d have class size of 67.
Annette – Yes but we’d never get to those class sizes, so I don’t understand why this is always used. We’d never let that happen. There would be other cuts or options, so I don’t understand this chart as valid.
David – Yes this is what it would like if we wanted to maintain current programs. That’s how this is completed. Randy has talked about what the cuts would have to be if we wanted to get down to the 680 students. Randy do you have those?
Randy – No I don’t have them with me.
David – Well you’re right, we wouldn’t want to get to class sizes like that.
Annette – Yeah so we’d look at other ways to cut costs.
Randy – Well yeah and what you’d be cutting would be programs like athletics, and overhead costs which is hard to cut.
Annette – Yeah or administration, days from the year etc.. There are options.
Randy – This is where the facilities wants our enrollment to be, based on our current space. We’d like class size in K-2 at 25, 3-5 grades at 27, 6-8 at 29. The high school at 430 students. We have a lot of room in K-2 we’d want that at 250 students. We’d like 3-5 to be 270 but rate now we have 279, 6-8 is at 307, and 9-12 we have about 430. If this is our target for next year, we’d have 1266 in district. We’d admit 40 kindergartners (not resident students) with residents we’d have another 44 or so, and that adds up to 84 if we do that x 3 grades it makes the “around 250” for K-2nd.
This years kindergarten class is small so we can add an additional 20 students through open enrollment to first grade next year. This does not leave any room for any of the 3rd-8th graders in the charter now to continue in the district unless we opened up additional space. Probably 3 weeks ago I sent out an email to residents asking to let me know if they’re moving and want to continue in Corbett. I got responses from 19 students and that’s from 12 families moving but want to keep going to Corbett. We did talk about if the small school funding does go away we could bring in another 85 kids to compensate but we don’t want to grow the district. These are just targets.
Charlie – So this is your recommendation?
Randy – Yes
Annette – Are we having teachers asking kids if they are returning? I had heard that and someone was pretty disturbed about it. Or are we doing that through the parents and official channels?
Randy – Yeah I’ve asked the teachers to send out asking through their weekly newsletters.
Annette – Ok but we’re not asking the students themselves directly?
Randy – I have not, nor have I heard of anyone asking them directly.
(I was told personally by a trusted friend with a child currently in the charter that Randy himself had asked their student if they would be continuing in Corbett and encouraged them to attend our high school next year. Not that it’s a huge deal, but, why deny that you are directly asking and encouraging kids to stay? )
The board votes and approves resolution for the above mentioned open enrollment recommendations.
The board goes into executive session to discuss the superintendent evaluation.
They reconvene with an overall score of 3.6 for this year.
No category specific scores were shared. Director Calcagno stated that the process was a joke and not everyone’s opinion was counted.
( I am unsure of the formula used by the board to arrive at this number so I have contacted chairman O’Neil for clarification on the process used as this wasn’t shared with the public. The next meeting the board will be voting on the superintendent’s salary and renewing his contract again….. Even though the current contract is still 2 years out from expiring. )