Did the Corbett School District non-renew the Corbett Charter School?
The School Board sent a letter to Bob Dunton in early April 2013 about possible non-renewal of the Charter’s RENTAL agreement. You can read that letter as well as Bob Dunton’s response at this link.
Bob Dunton stated on Facebook in June 2013 that he will be asking for a 5 year contract renewal and plans to stay in Corbett. He also tried opening a new Charter in San Diego but was denied in late October 2013.
Bob sent a letter stating he fully intends to continue in Corbett next year with his wife and you can read that letter here on 12/16/2013- which was about a month before the board voted on this decision.
The hearing to renew the Charter was set for Wednesday January 22, 2014 where the Charter School was renewed in a vote of 7-0 on advice of the school district’s attorney. This was even after information surfaced at the January 15th board meeting about Bob’s plans to open a Charter in Rockwood in 2015. That information is here.
At the special school board meeting on February 11, 2014 the board heard from staff, charter parents and community members. After a 2 hour executive session, the board voted 5-2 to not lease space to the Charter after this year. Emails from Bob Dunton began shortly after the conclusion of that board meeting and can be found here.
Link to an article from the Gresham Outlook titled “Corbett board must revisit lease agreement for charter school ”
CSD concluded mediation with the Charter School and the week of April 8th, 2014, the district gave about 24 hours notice to the community about a special board meeting and VOTE on a proposed five year new Charter Agreement. The board took almost 2 hours in executive session and came out only to table the vote until this week’s April 15th, 2014 regular school board meeting.
At the regular 2014 April board meeting the board again met in executive session and then returned to vote (7-0) to approve the new agreement with no details as to what the agreement was. There was a posted statement on April 17th that both the Charter Board and the District had agreed. Details of the process are unknown to the public and most of the board. Read here for the summary of that agreement as of 4/19/2014 as well as emails sent out by Bob Dunton in response.
At the April 2014 school board meeting, an explanation was requested regarding how Board Chair O’Neil and Superintendent Trani were able to appoint themselves as the District’s negotiators for the Charter Agreement. There still has not been an answer. See the letter sent to the board on May 16, 2014 here.
Select here to see the pdf that Bob Dunton presented to the Reynolds School Board at their hearing on September 24, 2014. The information about the proposed new school in Rockwood was first brought before the Corbett School board in January at their regular school board meeting. Read here for details.
The Reynolds School Board vote NO to the K-8 Charter proposed by Bob Dunton at their October 8th, 2014 meeting. Mr. Dunton posted to one of his Facebook pages the following about new plans in the works: ” We are going to continue to work on the Egan School, Rockwood. I think it holds the most promise for transforming education in East County. But we added an ingredient to the mix tonight. Since Reynolds is experiencing barriers to sharing our K-8 vision, we offered them a 9-12 option! The working title is The Egan School for Talented, Gifted and Highly Motivated students! (That means it will be extremely rigorous, but anyone who is willing to work hard can do it. Sound familiar?) So while we are processing appeals for the K-8 program, which really has revolutionary potential, we will let them consider a 9-12 program that would relocate the academic center of gravity in Multnomah County to somewhere around 192nd and Stark. I’m guessing they didn’t see that coming It’s important to keep irons in the fire.” ( 10/9/14 )
The Reynolds School Board vote NO again on the Charter proposed by Bob Dunton at their November 19, 2014 meeting. Likely Bob will petition the state or the community college to sponsor his school as he stated on social media he plans to open the school on time.
Bob Dunton moves to El Paso Texas to take a job in February 2015. His statement on one of his Facebook pages read that ” Oregon is pretty much a series of closed doors at this point and I want to work at something worthwhile, so we looked around and found a great school in El Paso that seems pretty welcoming.” and also this “Planning to leave in mid February. Family is staying behind for a time to wrap up school here. Exciting new prospects ease some of the disappointment. I had gotten unused to failure and the lessons that it teaches!”
Bob Dunton’s employment was terminated with the El Paso Education Initiative within a couple months of his arrival. On a Facebook post, Bob Dunton admitted this in May of 2015 and wrote; ” Yes, it’s true. I am retired. Closing up Corbett Charter School will be my last public school undertaking. I resigned from my job in El Paso when it became evident that the board was looking for a manager and not a leader. I simply don’t have the disposition to manage the status quo where I see such vast potential for improvement. And it’s no mystery that the vast majority people are threatened by even the suggestion of change. And frightened people react. I’m glad that the split happened early. I’m pretty much in love with my life and my family and am enjoying having more time to enjoy my immense good fortune. Many thanks to those who have expressed concern. “My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity.” I wish for each of you that you love your life as well.”
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission investigated Bob and Sheri Dunton and found sufficient evidence Bob was in violations of ORS 244.040, ORS 244.120, ORS 244.177 and ORS 244.179 by Robert Dunton in August of 2016. More here.
So how did Corbett get a Charter to begin with?
In short, the Corbett Charter School was conceived by our past and present Superintendents. ( Bob Dunton and Randy Trani ) The Charter was first approved by the School Board in crisis in February 2009 to retain about 100 students that were attending CSD that would have had to return to their home districts. On top of those 100 we also saw 245 additional students enroll. The Charter was then expanded in early 2011 to avoid a financial crisis due to a missing $725,000 in the budget and the failure of the levy meant to remedy the shortfall. in 2010.
“Dunton didn’t advertise the charter school, hoping that the 100 out-of-district students would all make it in. All of them did, as well as 245 other students. Many of those new students were home-schooled or enrolled in private schools before, but 17 are from the Reynolds School District. ” [ Oregonian Article 4/12/2009 ]
All on board?
Those parents in Corbett, who were aware that the Corbett School Board would be voting to create this Charter school and who questioned the changes at CSD or asked the reasons we were doing this so fast, were all but ignored. In fact the Charter had been in the works for years;
” Randy Trani, principal of Corbett’s elementary, middle and high schools, [ And now CSD’s Superintendent ] said he and Dunton [ The Superintendent at the time but now the Director of the Charter ] have been discussing a charter school for five years. The Corbett board approved the charter school at its Feb. 18 meeting, he added, noting the new institution will use the principles of “imaginative education,”. … Trani added the charter school will allow the Corbett district to stabilize its budget because it will no longer have to wonder if out-of-district students will be allowed to enroll in a Corbett school. “It puts our own destiny in our own hands,” he said.” [ The Gresham Outlook, 2/24/2009 ]
Those discussing the Charter on the Corbett Oregon web site’s forum or being critical of changes in the schools, were publicly ridiculed on Superintendent Bob Dunton’s Blog. The local web site, Corbettoregon.com, which has been online since 2002 as a community service, has been dismissed by CSD as a site of only rumors, all because of information shared there on the community forum by residents and parents.
The fact is that our School Board in Corbett took really no time to investigate options or to ask questions about the original Charter proposal, including questioning the salary of the new Charter director, Bob Dunton, which he set at over $200,000 with benefits. In fact: According to the 990 on file for 2010-2011 Bob and Sherri Dunton have a combined income of $325,114 ( Bob earning 214,173 and Sheri 110,941 as a teacher” ) Note that Kieran Egan replaced Randy Trani on the 990 and is listed as a “board member”, as is Sheri Dunton. Bob Dunton is now listed as the President. (Kieran Egan is the creator of the Imaginative Education Research Group). The Charter School and CSD currently employ much that is similar to the educational model that was denied in February 2011 for sponsorship by the State of Oregon in the Cascade Locks Charter School, of which Bob Dunton was a consultant.
In May 2011, our school board voted ( 5-2 ) to expand and extend the Charter School contract after no actual review of how they were doing. The vote was placed on the agenda the day before the public meeting and the board had TWO executive sessions discussing it prior to the vote. This means we renewed the Charter two years premature to the original agreement expiring – and until 2014. ( Making this a Charter with a 5 year contract and a Director and his wife earning over $320,000 as of 2010. ) This extension/expansion of the Charter was done in answer to the crisis of missing funds. Read more here.
Parents and those interested were never given the opportunity to ask questions about this move and there was no formal or independent assessment of the Charter School. People should read closely the State’s assessment and rejection of the Cascade Locks Charter, where Bob Dunton was listed as a consultant. There are MORE THAN A FEW similarities in that educational model and what CSD employs district wide. Select here to read that report.
Not your community school
by Bob Dunton…
“Here is a thought: Corbett Charter School is not your neighborhood school. One profound difference lies in the governance model. In a traditional public school, patrons can, based on where they reside, harangue the local elected board, assert their right to local control in public meetings, threaten recall board members or to lobby against the next construction levy. The Board is directly responsible to the voters.
Charter Schools are different. The Corbett Charter Association appoints the Charter School Board. The association board administers the non-profit organization and its members created Corbett Charter School. They designed the Corbett Charter School. With expert assistance from the Charter School Board members, they secured the start-up grant, applied for the charter, negotiated the charter agreement, staffed the school, all in record time.
It’s important to note the the Corbett Charter Association is a corporation. It conducts business. It is not a democracy. It’s not even a representative democracy. It does its business in whatever way seems best according to its own lights. Those who wish to do business with the Association do so on a strictly voluntary basis. And they may choose to do business elsewhere if there is a better alternative.” [ Bob Dunton’s letter to parents 4/2010 – select here to read the whole letter. ]
Corbett Charter School Board
As listed in the Charter School Web Site as of Janary 2012:
“Corbett Charter School (CCS) is served by the CCS Board, which is appointed by the Charter Association Board of Directors. The functions of the CCS Board are: fundraising and community relations, program monitoring and evaluation; approval, monitoring and review of the budget; approval and review CCS policy in the form of the CCS Handbook; and evaluation of the CCS Director. The Director’s evaluation is forwarded to the Charter Association Board. All CCS Board action is at the recommendation of the Director, who serves as adviser to the CCS Board.
The CCS Board serves as the charter community’s liaison to the Director as well as the ambassadors of CCS to the community. Their responsibilities include being informed and supportive of the school mission and programs as well as their implementation. They provide assurance that the actions of the school are thoughtful, effective and in compliance with the laws and regulations surrounding public charter schools. They ensure that CCS is providing a clear accounting of its budgetary status and fiscal stability.”
CCS Board Members as of May 2012
- Marje Ferek
- Brenda Fundak
- Nancy Gyerko, Chair
- Jon Tullis
Robert Dunton, Sheri Dunton and Kieren Egan
As of 9/26/2010 the board was listed as:
Charlie O’Neil – Current Board Chair. At that time Charlie sat on both boards. ( 2012 )
Holly Dearixon – Current Director of curriculum ( 2012 )
Phil Pearson – Current High School Assistant Principal. Pre-Charter he was a teacher. ( 2012 )
Lori Luna – Current Middle School Assistant Principal. Pre-Charter she was a teacher. ( 2012 )
Derek Jaques – Was our High School Assistant Principal until he left Corbett… ( 2012 )
Nancy Gyerko – Current CSD employee, full time at CAPS/Springdale. Pre-Charter she was PTA president and volunteer. ( 2012 )
Bob Dunton created the school and appointed his board. The original 990 on file with the state lists Randy Trani as President ( currently CSD superintendent ). Charlie O’Neal sat on both the Charter School Board and the public school board.
Charter Teaching Staff
From The Charter School Blog on 5/7/2010
Alyssa Reed-Stuewe will be joining the Charter School staff in a K-3 position. Ms. Reed-Stewe is an avid and knowledgeable practitioner of Imaginative Education.
Ms. Dolkus, Ms. Dunton, Ms. Sims, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Loeung will return in their current roles with the Charter School. We look forward to their continued good work on behalf of all of our students.
New to the Charter School staff at the middle school is Mr. Houck. He is a well-loved member of the Middle School staff who brings enthusiasm, wit and great expertise to the job. Ms. Robertson will return in her role as ‘Techie Tammy’ and master Charter middle school teacher.
Two new 9th grade teachers began working together this summer in preparation for an amazing 2010-2011 school year.
Ms. Katie Swanson has been a student teacher in Corbett this past year. Along with being qualified to teach across the curriculum at a high level, she brings a Spanish endorsement to the game. Ms. Swanson did her student teaching at Corbett last year and did terrific work in both the self-contained 9th and Spanish classrooms.
Ms. Tiffany Hedger is brand new to Corbett. She comes with a sterling recommendation from a valued friend and mentor. She is qualified to teach across the curriculum at the ninth grade level. She also carries a ‘spare’ degree in Spanish. We are very much looking forward to having her with us this year.
Ms. Ducey, who teaches English and AP World History to 10th graders, joins the Charter School staff this year, as do Mr. Robertson (the AP English teacher) and Mr. Swanson, the AP Calculus and Statistics (and pre-calculus) teacher. Ms. Ducey, Mr. Robertson, and Mr. Swanson will continue to teach integrated classes that include all district high school students in grades 10-12.
Bob Dunton joins the Corbett Charter School teacher ranks this year. He will be teaching Academic Decathlon four periods each day.
Finally, we are deeply honored to welcome the newest member of our school community, Dr. Kieran Egan, to the Corbett Charter School Association Board of Directors. Dr. Egan is the creator of Imaginative Education and is recognized around the world for his contribution to educational theory and practice. He will join Sheri Dunton and Bob Dunton on the Association Board.
So there it is. An amazing cast and crew. After the successes that we have already enjoyed in year one, it will be a wonderful challenge to out-do ourselves. We look forward to it.