Corbett School District Regular School Board Meeting
Wednesday March 11, 2015 Board Meeting Notes
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.
Mark Hyzer is absent. Everyone else present.
Meeting starts, Charlie notes there’s a last minute additional budget committee candidate, Brian White. There’s no application in meeting packet for the public.
Audit Information for 2013-2014 Fiscal Year
Meeting proceeds with report from district financial auditor, Sabino Arrendondo. This is our audit for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. He states they review the financial statements prepared by management and give an opinion of those statements. As auditors we don’t look at every single transaction, we take samples and check with your financial institution and ODE, etc.. We are required to audit your budgets, debt limits and so forth to make sure your within all of the standards.
Those were all good except for one. That is, there was an over expenditure of support services in the general fund for $53,797.00 So that’s reported to the audits division of the Secretary of State. They look at it and if it’s a consistent pattern they may send a letter to the board asking what your doing to correct it. As you know school districts can not spend more than the legally appropriated amount and in this case there was not enough appropriations to support the expenditures. So we have to report it to the state. I think you’ve had some other violations for grant funds in the past but not with general funds, so you may or may not receive correspondence.
Charlie: To alleviate that problem could the board take action to re-appropriate that or would we have to open up the budget committee again.
Sabino: Normally you’re able to make a board resolution as long as it had been done before the end of the year. Usually a board looks at this in May or June to see how you are doing.
The last thing I want to mention is the 4 recommendations we have listed for the board. 2 of them have been there on previous audits, so for a long time, and those have to do with separation of duties. (This would be not having the same one person doing payroll, and bookkeeping, and bank reconciliations, and accounts receivable, etc.).
There’s 2 others and one is that we noticed that the business office was falling behind. The other one goes with the first and that is bank reconciliations. We recommend those be current so by the end of the following month those should be done, in case there’s an error you can catch it in a timely manner. We recommend the district improve its internal controls.
Annette: Can you tell me how many months were not reconciled?
Sabino: We came here in December and September, October, November weren’t reconciled. For us as accountants it’s the procedure part that is very important.
Musical performance by the String Band.
Cub Scout proposal asking for funds to bark dust and rebuild muddy trails behind the schools.
There’s a presentation from DeeDee Hanes (grade school principal), Lori Luna (CAPS principal), and Kristen Wold (K-2 teacher). They discuss educator effectiveness and their professional development, and how that is used as a gauge for student growth and achievement.
Every teacher picks the areas they want to focus on for student achievement and then they do their own assessments of students and decide what they need to do for strategy and professional training to help those areas.
Kristy: I have a partial board report, however they’re in progress because the board meeting was moved up a week this month. You won’t see everything for February, unfortunately I don’t have a lot to talk about.
I do want to mention as the auditor mentioned we had a $53,000. overage. We had overages in prior years as well, also in support services but those were much larger and we talked about some remedies back then. So the remedies have been put into place so the issue in this situation is with invoices that came in after the date and I had to make a decision on which year to put it in. That invoice needed to go in the 2013-2014 year and that put us over.
Budget Committee Interviews
Annette : Charlie, before we go further, do we have 2 budget positions open? Because if I’m correct Eric Stevens has moved to Colorado so we should have two. Or did we fill that position and I just wasn’t aware?
Robin (district secretary): We’re not aware of any other resignation.
Charlie: Yeah I guess he hasn’t resigned yet.
Annette: So has he moved? If he moved to Colorado…
Charlie: That’s a good question. We’ll work on that.
(Audience “you don’t know?”)
Annette : Yeah you should look into that because if he no longer lives here he no longer qualifies for the position correct?
Charlie : Um yeah. Unless he has dual residency or something and spends more time in Oregon. I don’t know his situation, and he hasn’t resigned. That’s a question I guess we should ask.
(Audience “Well is he coming to budget meetings?)
Annette: Yeah let’s look into that please.
Charlie calls Daniel Prince to interview.
Daniel: I’ve been at the district for 10 years with 2 boys in the middle and high school. I want to contribute to the community and have for years, but this is the year it works out for me. I’m not able to help out in the classroom which I’d love to do. However my wife does. But this is something that I can do.
David Gorman: Would you tell us about your interest in budgets and finance and any experience.
Daniel: One of the things I’m interested in is how resources can be brought to bare for students. Really emphasize growth for students and helping our students become their full selves. In terms of experience I’m an administrator for multnomah education services and I’m responsible for the outdoor school programming there so I oversee, build, and manage, about a 2.5 million dollar budget. I’ve been doing that for 10 years.
We’ve had some good and not so good years in terms of funding so we had to find ways to still serve the students. I’ve been through that process of making really difficult decisions and look at how you can insulate the young children from the pain of those financial situations. I have decent understanding of Oregon school finance and how school budgets work, how the districts’ budgets work. In a strange way I really enjoy it.
Charlie asks if any reason he wouldn’t be able to make it to meetings. Dan states none that he can think of.
Melissa Wright: Hands out her service resume to the board. As you can see I have small business ownership experience. I purchased a business in 2008 for $6,000 and grew it into a $1.2 million dollar business. At the same time also running my other small business with a total of $1.5 million in revenue. I have recently relocated to Corbett. I have 3 step children in the district and will also have my biological child here next year.
Victoria : What is your main interest for being on the budget committee?
Melissa : I really like the metaphor “a fine toothed comb” and I think that is something that might be good to apply to the budget here. I am very conservative with spending, because I’ve been spending my own money for the last 6 years in my own businesses. I believe so much in being a good steward of tax payer money, be that Corbett, or the county, or state funds. Something I am also very passionate about, as you can see on page 2, and that is charitable organizations. I have been a major sponsor for many charitable entities and events. So I don’t just give time I also give money and I believe that is important too.
Charlie asks about ability to make meetings, Melissa responds that yes she can.
Brian White: Similar to Melissa, my experience is in the private sector. I am the site manger at the call center for Netflix out in Hillsboro. We recently relocated out here to Corbett, we’ve got a 2 year old and a 4 year old. My 4 year old is currently enrolled in the preschool program and both will be going up through Corbett school district. My motivation is really to be here and make sure the Corbett district is successful and we’ve got good programs for them as they grow up.
Charlie : Why are you interested in this position for the budget committee?
Brian : My interest is going to be for my kids and the kids in the district so it’s going to be to insure that we’ve got those programs and the right funding for our kids. In terms of experience again it’s private sector. The center that I manage has about 200 employees and with Netflix we like to say we’re not spending Netflix money, treat it like its your own money. I want to make sure we’re being responsible with how we’re treating the budget here as well.
Charlie asks about ability to attend all meetings, Brian states yes.
Todd makes resolution to appoint Daniel Prince.
Todd: Daniel has experience with MESD and the school system so I think that’s the one thing that’s going to bump him along more than the other two candidates.
Victoria : My question is, if Eric is going to be out of state are we going to open this up next month for the other two people to come back?
Charlie : Um can we finish this resolution first?
Victoria : Ok I was just wondering, but that’s fine.
Charlie : I agree with Daniel Prince for this position. I appreciate that he and his wife pretty much single handedly saved our outdoor school program and he’s lived in the district a long time and I think he’s invested in the district so he’ll add a lot to this committee. No other discussion, ok.
Board approves Dan Prince as new budget committee member.
Bob Buttke: So Charlie, how about we make a motion and put the other two applicants automatically in for the next spot? Eric did move.
Charlie : Yes, yeah we will, I guess he just failed to notify us. I knew he moved. I just didn’t think about it.
(An hour earlier when Annette asked if Eric Stevens had moved, Charlie responded with “that’s a good question.” And a few minutes later, he stated “I don’t know what his situation is.”)
Bob: There’s no point in opening it up again for applications when we have two in now.
Charlie : Randy, do you think it’s imperative that we get a special board meeting to get that done before the budget process?
Randy : We’d need to do it immediately before the budget meeting on April 8th. I did have 2 other people express interest. People I’ve been running into, so I think we should give them another opportunity and open it up.
Charlie : Ok so as it stands we will probably have a special board meeting on April 8th before the budget meeting and at that time we’ll choose another person.
I just didn’t even think about that. That’s an oversight on my part if someone had asked me about it earlier I definitely would have taken care of that and called Eric. Asked him if he wanted to resign, well or if he is out of state completely I guess he has no choice but to resign.
Charlie – We had a request from board member Purvine for a discussion item for the use of one time dollars ODE reflected in warranty deed on 12/15/14 for $2,612,449.00. Dr. Trani will you address this before we have a discussion on it?
Randy: Sure. First Kristy prepared a document and I’m going to let her talk about it.
Kristy : Victoria, hopefully I’m on track with this. To start the conversation, I put this document together to show you what happens with additional funds once they come in, that are over and above what’s expected, and what’s been budgeted. (Audience not given document copies)
The first column we show our resources, our requirements. And then our ending fund balance, being a hundred thousand dollars, let’s say, just to use sample numbers. In the second column let’s say that we actually brought in some revenue of a hundred thousand more than we budgeted. The appropriations don’t change because of that, so our expenses stay the same and the additional funds simply fall to the bottom line for use in the next fiscal year. So unless those appropriations are modified by the board specifically we can not use those funds.
So I just want to start the conversation there. I also wanted to say that if the board decides to use any additional funds for the current fiscal year we need to go through the supplemental budget process. So you will need to decide where do you want to spend that money, you’ll need to decide how much money your estimating and where you want to spend that money. So for the conversation to continue in this fiscal year we would need to put a supplemental budget together probably by the next board meeting.
Randy: I just wanted to look at the four page report that Kristy filled out. On page one, you look under state sources you’ll see that August through November we received about $739,000 per month and then in December we started receiving a little over $200,000. more per month. So although the wording may look like it’s 2.6 million when you take that 200,000 x Dec, Jan, Feb, March, April, and May, it’s closer to 1.2 million. (The rest would come next school year.)
So we aren’t at all sure we will get 2.6 million because rate now it’s tracking to look more like 1.3’ish million. Beyond that we have this question about the small high school adjustment which presents about a $600,000. loss if ODE continues with the first letter that they sent us. As long as we are talking about that, no I haven’t heard anything from them.
So that’s one thing, we aren’t even exactly sure what the number is or how much it will be. Kristy has already talked about how if we want to spend more money than we have budgeted then we need to go though a supplemental budget process. If we are going to talk about what we might do with any extra money next year, that’s outside of the budget sequence. For those reasons, we’ve told the board here’s this extra money (no you actually never did), we don’t know how much it’s going to be (the warranty from ODE says how much, and your getting payments now), we don’t know how long it’s going to last. So we think that’s the end of the discussion right now. I think any discussion about this rate now is just too premature.
Charlie asks Randy to explain why we’re getting the extra money.
Randy : When your number of kids goes down, you get funded the higher number of kids (last year vs this year). This is a loophole I guess, that’s benefiting us right now. The charter number went down this year from 480 something to around 75 this year. So we are still being funded for those kids, simultaneously, the Corbett district side went up because all of those kids moved over to our side. So we are kind of getting double funded for those kids for a year. We didn’t know that was going to happen until November, um, late November. Then it became official in December. So it’s found one time dollars of an unknown quantity. (Last meeting when asked if he knew in November he said no, and stated multiple times he didn’t know until December.)
Charlie : We were all under the impression misguidedly, I guess we didn’t look into it enough, that it went by the total district population not by each individual school but they do it on each individual school and the charter was an individual school so they lost ADMW (kids) and so we get paid for that loss.
Randy : The legislature is looking at this, like Scio charter school, they are moving from one district to another so Scio stands to make about $20 million on this so there’s an entirely good possibility that the legislature may stop this.
Victoria : That was part of the reason that I wanted to have the conversation. I was looking into this more, and talked with Micheal Wiltfong from ODE, and he said that we needed to look at house bill 2150 which may mean now that next year we have to pay back these one time dollars that we’re getting. That is now part of my concern, if we are doing backfilling with this money, should we not instead be talking about putting it into an account where no one touches it?
I mean if we end up losing the small school funding and we also end up having to pay back the money from this 2.6 million that they give us or whatever amount we do get, that would be a bigger hit later. (I personally have to wonder what about the $220,000 we owe the charter that is never mentioned anymore?)
Victoria : Part of it is just that it’s a conversation I think the board should be having, are we going to use this money to backfill that we may have to give back next year now? I realize it’s something that hasn’t gone all the way through yet but these are things we should be considering.
Charlie: Yeah I think it’s something to look at and that’s one of the reasons why we don’t know if it will change or not. They may change and anything that, since the law went into effect, I mean yeah, we just don’t know. I think at this time of the year, I think to lay people off, or to make changes in our operations based on what possibly might happen, I don’t think would be best practice for this board at this time.
Victoria : Well I think that the board needs to have the discussions so that they’re aware of these facts. I would hate to be surprised next year with “oh my gosh guess what, they want their 2.6 million back”, or their 1.2 or whatever they gave us. We have to pay that back then we also have to hit somewhere else. We keep talking about backfilling when it’s coming in, but should we be doing that?
Todd : Well my part of it is that we can’t touch it right now without going through and doing supplemental.
Victoria : Well what Kristy said at the last meeting was that if we don’t get the full amount of funding in (losing small school $) that we have already allocated then we will backfill with these extra dollars that are coming in because we have already appropriated spending that much money. My concern is if we backfill with that money and they turn around next year and say we have to return this money to them, now we have to find a way to return money that we spent to backfill for this year.
Charlie : Right. I think everybody understands that.
David : Didn’t Kristy say that we have a good ending fund balance so it would be sitting there.
Victoria : Yes IF we don’t use it to backfill the small school funding. (We used having the small school funding in the budget, if we lose that our ending fund balance would drop by that $600,000.) If we lose that small school funding they said we’d backfill that revenue with these one time dollars. So then that money is not there.
Charlie : Dr Trani do you have anything?
Randy : So I guess Tori, what I’m wondering is that, are you proposing that we lay people off rate now? Because we may lose the high school funding so that if we lose it we wouldn’t have to touch those other dollars?
Victoria : No. What I am saying is that I think as a board we need to be aware of the fact this could be coming up. It needs to be discussed so that we are at least on top of it so as time gets closer keep a little tighter because we know this is a possibility. No I don’t think we need to lay anybody off, I’m just saying that we need to realize it’s a possibility we may have to pay this back if the legislature changes.
Charlie : Well I think everybody understands that.
Victoria : No. I didn’t know Charlie, that’s the whole thing. This has not been put out to us. It has not been a discussion.
(Maybe our superintendent should be bringing this stuff to the board? Maybe our board chair should be looking into these things, asking questions of the superintendent and bringing it to the board? Thank You Victoria, for in essence, doing their job.)
Todd : Is it possible we can ask Kristy to inform us if there is a change? Ya know when the checks come in, before our meetings right? Maybe she could notify us as they come in if there’s going to be a significant drop in the amount coming in?
Victoria : The payments likely won’t change. What this legislature that they’re talking about is that next year 2015/16, it would read if you received funds because a charter closed and the kids came over to the district and they got counted as charter kids you may have to pay back the money you received for the difference on the extended ADMW. So if we get a million two, or 2.6 or even $600,000., there’s a possibility that next year we may have to pay it back to the state and we need to be working on a plan with that. I’m saying instead of just saying hey this money is here and we can backfill with it, we need to be aware that money may have to be paid back later and maybe keep a closer eye on our ending fund when we get closer. We have to start the conversation about where we are going with these dollars.
Charlie : And that’s something the business office does every month and every day.
Randy : So my conversations with Micheal Wiltfong were along the lines that the legislature can pass anything they want but it’s very rare they pass anything that removes dollars from a district retroactively. So they may in fact do something for 2015/16 but there’s not a track record of the legislature going back in time to take money. Let’s do worse case scenario, if we look at our ending fund balance of $636,885. if we lost $580,000 in small school funding this year, also a rare possibility but let’s just go with worse case scenario, we would still have a positive ending fund balance of $220,000-ish. There’s still one more critical difference between us and the Scio district in that they were all virtual students and ours were students who have gone here and I know some of the legislature is trying to make a difference around that.
Victoria: Are they considering going retroactive on any of the small school funding?
Randy: That’s not retroactive it’s still in the current fiscal year. If they were to pass something after July 1 of next year, they typically don’t go back and take from before that.
Victoria: The legislation, the way I’m reading it right now that’s what it says the may do, is go back. Is that how you’ve been reading it?
Randy: I haven’t read house bill 2150, is that what you said it was?
Victoria: Yes 2150. I just wanted to have a discussion, I’m not looking to open up a supplemental budget It’s just, let’s have a discussion and if we have extra dollars that are a windfall, not a surplus, but a one time windfall, I think that’s something that the board normally would direct the superintendent before he started the budget process on where we would like to see the money spent. That would’ve been part of the conversation but after the conversation I had today with ODE it appears to be a different conversation, but I still wanted to have discussion.
Charlie: Well I got your email on requesting this discussion item and it had the word spend in there.
Victoria: I said “used”
Charlie: Oh, what’s that, so you, ok.
Todd: What I think the reason for that is we are part of the budget committee.
Victoria: Well we can be part of the budget committee but the community is not at the budget committee hearings and I think we need to get stuff out there so we all know what’s going on, not just some of us.
Bob: So here’s the deal, based on our auditor, we can’t overspend that account without having a board motion correct? So the only problem is with the money coming in, so say if your revenue is down and in your example here say beginning fund balance went down to $50,000. you would absorb $50,000 of that extra money but you can’t take any more than that. So what we need you to do, I think, is to watch those revenues coming in and project those very closely to see if something is going to be short. So, it’s a pretty simple deal, Charlie.
Charlie: Any other discussion? Ok we do have one public comment request.
Eric Eaton: I’m pretty straight and to the point. About this issue we were talking about now, we call it a loophole, I think we have too many of those in society. The money is not a gift. We shouldn’t be giving that away, because we didn’t earn it. We should set the example for other schools and people as a society, to follow. Just give it back. It’s the honorable thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. It’s what I would do if I was the board. Thank you.
Randy: Speaking of money, my entire report is on money. Well and a couple of updates on open enrollment. As of today there were 165 applicants that applied through open enrollment. As far as new students we had allocated 40 in kindergarten and 20 in first grade and as of today there were 38 applicants in kindergarten and 10 in first grade. So it’s probable that we’ll end up with a lottery in kindergarten, I don’t think we will in first grade. So that’s my update.
This is circling back to something I talked about at the last meeting. David had created a graph showing class sizes at different enrollment levels. One of which was 680 students which would be residents only and one of the discussions was that class size of 67 and of course that’s not something anybody would want. We talked about making a few cuts at the board meeting to get down to a class size of 28, we just tighten our budget. So David asked me to put together an example of what we would have to cut in a resident only district to get from a class size of 67 back to 28. (Why oh why is it always district only or 1300? Why not do these graphs at 900-1000 kids? No one has been saying district only except Randy and David.)
I tried and tried and the answer is you can’t. Here’s what it would look like. If you cut every single Administrator in the district (except the superintendent) and every single classified employee and every sub, temp, every coach, all tuition reimbursement, transportation costs, all software and testing material, and cut 9 weeks of school you could get to 28 but you can’t do it. You just can’t do these things.
Annette: I just don’t understand why we keep making and using these charts that are absolutely ridiculous? You can’t have classes of 67, or cut 9 weeks of school. You could have operated a district of that size had you not grown out of your means. I don’t understand why we use things that would never ever happen. I’d like us to compare stuff that’s actually realistic.
Randy: Maybe it’s not clear what this represents. This is only employing teachers and enough teachers for class size of 28 for 680 students and provide the high school curriculum. So the only thing left to argue is if the teachers are over paid. Everything else that we have grown since then is gone. I realize it’s not realistic, it’s not possible. What has changed? Costs have changed, funding has gone down.
Annette: Also we are admin heavy, very admin heavy. So there are ways to look at other things. I don’t think we are at the bare minimum.
Charlie: It’s not true that we are admin heavy. Not compared to other districts.
(We currently have a principal for every 327 students. We have 4 plus the superintendent. We used to have two and one was the superintendent who also acted as a principal. All of our admin make over $100,000. a year, plus health benefits and continuing education costs, etc.. In short we have more admin per students than other districts and our admin have higher salaries than those serving triple the number of students in other districts.)
David: I’m looking at these numbers and even if you believe we’re admin heavy, we got rid of all the admin (in the chart) and it still doesn’t work.
Annette: You wouldn’t though, that’s what I’m saying you couldn’t get rid of all the admin, so we are just comparing stuff that would never ever happen.
Charlie: Well if it wouldn’t happen then, what would happen is you’d have class sizes of 40,50, or 60.
Annette: Not necessarily there are other ways. Other districts have done and are doing it. I believe it is possible.
Randy: We are at a crisis level, in the state of Oregon rate now in regards to K 12 funding and every superintendent is going to its staff and community with this presentation. Time is of the essence to act. First is to finish the K-12 budget in the next week or two which sounds great unless the budget is woefully low. See the attached documents for the state funding education budget possibilities. Also the draft letter urging local lawmakers to push for the higher K-12 funding budget. As well as what those varying budgets mean to Corbett.
Randy states the importance of sending the letter and asks if there’s any questions on his presentation.
Annette: I have an unrelated question I meant to ask earlier, at the last meeting you had mentioned that Lori Luna was looking into the speed zone at Soringdale, and I’m curious what is the reason they are not zoning it? Is it our application because I read over our application and we said we would not have any parents transporting kids to the school. We put that they were going to come to the main campus and going to be bussed unless it was a special night and then we would make arrangements and permitting. That is what I read in the application so is that the reason they are not zoning it because we did not follow through with what we said and there’s too much traffic?
Lori Luna: No. Well we had a meeting last night with a rep from safe routes to school which is an arm of ODOT, and there was also a rep from multnomaah county transportation, and a number of parents. What it really boils down to is red tape. We have to come up with strategies we can do without ODOT to improve the situation. We came up with some, so now we implement as many as we can and we wait. Things like signage, possible no parking areas for visibility, volunteer crossing guards, etc.. Then we see what ODOT says after we do those.
Randy asks Annette what application she was reading. Also states; that the legislation says they won’t have a 20mph speed zone on highways and that is a highway. Our original application did have that as a proposal but Multnomah county had us put in a parking lot down there with that number of spaces multnomah county made us have cars down there.
Bob: There was a traffic engineer that we paid for that who said there’s not enough traffic and that’s what ODOT said, there’s not enough cars on that road to warrant them to make a speed limit change.
Moving onto consent agendas
We have 3 Teachers going on leave of absence for next year.
We have 4-5 teachers resigning as of the end of this year. We have one that quit in February who had just started here about 7 months ago. (Her students were absorbed into other classes.)
We approved contracts for other teachers and 20 are 1st – 2nd year teachers.
( It is strange we are continuing to have so many teachers leave the district. The majority of the ones we do have are in their first 1-3 years here. One would have to question why? Why do we seem to be lacking in long term staff and why do we have a seemingly high turn over rate of teachers at CSD? )
Facility task force report
Randy: The task force hasn’t met since our last meeting. What we do need to keep in mind is that the board will need to decide some actions before the next November election. We have a problem that we know about and our legal council has told us that as long as we know there’s a problem we need to be working as best we can. One of the ways we do that is by sponsoring general obligation bonds. There’s that possible legislation of matching dollars and if it does we are going to be full speed ahead. If it doesn’t pass then we go back to the drawing board.
Victoria: Randy, which bill are you looking at, 447A?
Randy: I can’t remember.
Victoria : My question on that is when I was reading it, they kept referring to “small school”. I know under senate bill 883 it says a small school is 500 students or fewer in a district, so my question is are we looking at the one for small schools? I know they’ve put in amendments but I’ve been reading through them and just trying to figure this thing out. How are we sure this is going to go for everybody and not just a small district and what do they qualify as a small district?
Randy : So the number you gave doesn’t sound familiar so maybe your reading something different then what I read because I read the whole bill and there was no mention with anything to do with size.
Victoria : 447 just went into summary it said small school districts and that’s why I’m wondering if it is being shrunk down to just small schools. It was an amendment. That’s why I was asking which one. Could you let me know which one your following please?
Randy : Yeah I’ll look and see.
Charlie : There’s also an application process how long is that?
Randy : I have no idea what the time line would be.
The board approves the extension of Randy Trani’s contract.
Charlie appoints David Gorman to negotiate the new contract terms for Randy Trani. The board approves the resolution 4 to 2.