December 9, 2013
To: Randy Trani
CC: All school board members and the Corbett Post
As an audience member at the special board meeting on December 2, 2013, I feel there are important issues that must be addressed. The board confirmed, at this meeting, that they had no previous knowledge of the statements and information they received in the form of 15 pages you had prepared for them. The board was asked to agree to prepared statements and to actively promote these statements in the community. (One board member did ask to see the information the day before the meeting, when the board was made aware of what was planned by you, and you confirmed during this meeting that you denied that request.) Chairman O’Neil is remiss as the chair in allowing all this to happen.
Below are some of the specific concerns I have with the information you shared at this meeting:
The research you did regarding ORS 358.653 Heritage Buildings on the very day of the meeting.
A letter was sent to you, and cc’d to Chairman Charlie O’Neil, that was dated October 1, 2013 by the Oregon State Historic Preservation Specialist Mr. Jason Allen, discussing the value of our type of building as a historic structure. The letter asked you to share it with your board members, “so that all may be aware of the applicability of this statute”. Included in that correspondence was a copy of the ORS 358.653. You stated during this meeting that you had “just looked up the information that day”. The truth is you were given that information from the State almost 2 months prior. You did not choose to share it with the board. By not passing that letter on to your board, as requested from the State, you did a disservice to Mr. Allen and the remaining school board members.
Misrepresenting the truth about Oregon State school funding.
All schools receive the same base amount within a few dollars per student by the State based on an identical funding rubric (around $6,585.) Other monies may find their way to different districts because of Special Programs based upon the district’s individual needs. You and some of your board members have continued to perpetuate that Corbett School District “does more with less” and Mr. Hyzer stated other districts get 25% more than us. Other board members pointed out this is untrue when stated. As a Superintendent you are not doing your job by allowing this misinformation to continue. Other Districts may pursue every dollar they can get (For example, Title 1 funding), but you have stated in public meetings that it is not worth the time to go after these dollars.
Infusing “dangerous” and “liability” into statements you were asking the board members to not only agree to but also promote in the community.
“Dangerous” was added by Bob Lawrence during the Steering Committee meetings and is only related to current Building Code definitions. It is not an actual condition of the building. “Liability” is a word added by you at the Special Board meeting. When you were questioned about this word, you stated that actually it was just your opinion. As the Superintendent you should not be putting out your opinions regarding important issues like this at board meetings or encouraging board members to agree with these false statements and encouraging them to repeat them in the community as you did during this special board meeting. It appears you are using these words as leverage to garner support for passing the next bond. This conversation comes on the heels of a bond failure, which for many was based on a lack of trust for just these types of reasons.
“Bad water” at the middle school for over 10 years?
If this were actually true, then why was the problem not corrected when it was discovered? Why were the people in the chain of responsibility not terminated for not addressing it? Why are signs not posted or why have parents not been officially notified? The fact is, the water at the Middle School is provided by the Corbett Water District and is treated just the same as any other water delivered to Corbett residents. The State has always approved Corbett Water samples. If you have tests showing the water has been “non-potable for the last ten years, as you stated during this meeting, please send me the copies of these tests. Otherwise, it appears you could be using your position as the superintendent to manufacture fear and influence over your board and community in a clearly unethical manner.
Using Title 9 as a “liability” issue:
This is in fact a function of participation based on the percentage of male and female enrollment and is not a physical space issue. The question centers around equal opportunity and nothing else. So, if 60% if your students are male, and 40% are female, you should see equal participation in overall athletic numbers.
The Superintendent should clarify this for the board and the audience because it appears many are unfamiliar with the exact meaning of Title 9 and they assume it means a major expense for capital improvements such as equal sized shower rooms. A class action law suit (2011) which was brought against many Oregon school districts included Corbett School District. The lawsuit was regarding participations rates and lack of opportunities for the female students, not the size of the locker rooms. This lawsuit was based on Title 9 requirements and alleged:
The CORBETT SCHOOL DISTRICT 39 data, as outlined in the Factual Allegations above, demonstrate that the District is not providing equal opportunities for female CORBETT HIGH SCHOOL students to play sports under Title IX’s three-part participation test.
In closing, I would like to say the meetings in Corbett do not appear to be Board meetings, but rather Superintendent meetings. This contributes to the low turn out by the public as they are there to hear discussion by their elected officials, and that is not what takes place. Especially when the meetings run on well past the optimum of two hours, in this case the meeting went for 5 hours.