The Springdale School total cost was about $1.8 million dollars. This project was done with loans. The revenue needed to pay back the million dollar loan was: 225 new out of district students. The balance of debt was said to be paid for in grants.
When it turned out grants were not available for schools, Superintdendent Randy Trani pushed for and received the votes from the school board ( With a vote of 4 to 3 ) to pay for the full project vs. the way it was originally explained to the community as a phased approach. ( See Randy’s original vision as a phased build over several years below. ) Now in addition to the million dollar loan we have another for $650,000 to pay off first.
“PARC” was the firm Randy originally recommended, and that the CSD school board hired, to help us with grant writing for funds for the Springdale School project. We were told they had a 95% success rate. ( We were looking for about $500,000 in grants to finish Springdale. ) Robert Irvine is listed as management/Associate for PARC on their web site. Robert Irvine is also listed as the co-author of Randy Trani’s Book, “Fallacies in Education”. ( Link to book info here.)
The “Original” Vision
Although the current middle school on the CSD main campus is actually older than the Springdale School, Randy Trani’s “original vision” did not include address the middle school for 10 years. (After he proved to the community what a good investment the Springdale School was. ) The Springdale School had not functioned as a school since 1996. Here is Superintendent Trani’s vision, in full, from the School District Web Site: Link .
This QSCB million dollar interest free loan could be used to address current issues for students and teachers on our school’s main campus. (Originally the school board was told no, that this loan could only be used for the Springdale School, but this was not true. It was a matter of how the paperwork was filed and the paperwork was ONLY filed for use in Springdale.) While presenting the Springdale School as an opportunity to build something special and encouraging local groups to send in their letters of support and having teachers encourage parents to write letters in support of this goal is understandable, ultimately, it is the school board’s responsibility to be sure all options are considered for the best interests of our students and local tax payers.
Option A or Option A?
Suggestions were prepared for presentation to the school board at the monthly meeting in October, 10/19/11, about modular buildings for the middle school using this million dollar loan. (These buildings would be brand new permanent modular structures that could be designed and built off site and put up quickly during the summer.) Gary Purvine was invited by Randy Trani as part of a resolution of the complaint he filed with the school district. The complaint stated that the Superintendent had failed to have a non-biased third party look over the Springdale and Corbett sites and come up with a study to show the best use of dollars between the two sites.
School Board Chair Mark Hyzer refused to allow the information to be presented because it was part of this complaint filed and received on 9/29/11. (Mark Hyzer said that the discussion would need to be held in executive session because he understood the complaint wrong, even though Randy Trani had invited and allowed a 15 minute presentation period.)
Mr. Trani also stated at the board meeting that night that he had already looked into “modulars” and had decided against it. He provided a six page document to show that he had investigated this. ( The buildings in Randy’s hand out were PORTABLE and not modular, so they actually were not the same as what could have been presented. ) In fact, the portables in the hand out could not even qualify for the money per the terms of the loan.
Ultimately, it was a missed opportunity to get information from the representative of Williams/Scottsman who had driven in from Spokane, WA for the board meeting.
* Although it seems that all the dates and times were blacked out on Mr. Trani’s hand out, there was one date and time stamp that was left on the last page, at the bottom and this illustrates that the information was actually put together that day ( The date on the hand out was 10/19/11 at 3:33 PM…. Randy collected this information the same day. In fact, that morning another board member tipped him off about what Gary Purvine was going to be suggesting, and he collected that information directly before the meeting. )
It would appear to most paying attention that there was merit to the complaint filed with the school district regarding considering more than one option in regards to the million dollar loan and the district’s actual needs.
When we ( CSD ) applied for the original million dollar loan, we had already hired a grant writing firm, done extensive work towards the goal of opening the Springdale School in 2012 but did not have a clear title to the building or a guarantee that Multnomah County will give a conditional use permit to operate the building as a school.
The district did not know if the County would allow the Springdale School to operate with the number of students Mr. Trani needs in order to payback the loan amount we have already applied for. ( As of April 2012 ) Nor were we guaranteed to fill the additional 200 plus seats in CSD, from out of district, for years to come, to pay back this loan.
The school board voted 5-2 on April 4th to allow the District to invite in more out of district kids than we presently have seats for. The plan is that if the Springdale School is not open on time in the fall – we will push school back for those that elect Springdale OR increase the sizes of our in district classrooms until it is ready.
Many residents think an impact study should be done and/or should have been done prior to creating the Charter School ( it was not ) and especially before voting to expand the Charter School in 2011. The facts are now known that the Charter was never legally established with the County and the school is out of compliance with conditional use. See here for the information gathered at the pre-application meeting and listen to the audio to hear the land use planner specifically say as much.
Our School district is over twice the population it was in 2008 and soon the in district students could easily be only a third of the School’s population. Many residents feel there has been a lack of transparency and a rush to do too much without having all the answers before jumping in. There has been no independent assessment of the direction we are headed in CSD. There certainly was no assessment when the School Board voted to expand and extend the Charter Contract last year after only 2 years in operation and now it would appear the model of education CSD has been using is not even endorsed by the State of Oregon. [ Link ]
Exemptions from Competitive Bidding
Corbett School District 39
Adopted: 5/18/05 | On page 19 of 27 | Download the policy here.
All public contracts shall be based upon competitive bids or proposals, except the following:
• Contracts which have been specifically exempted under ORS 279A.025 and 279C.335; and
• Contracts covered by the class exemptions in the following set of rules developed pursuant to ORS 279C.335 (2) and (5) and based on Oregon Administrative Rules, Chapter 125, Divisions 246 through 249.
The Board, acting as the Local Contract Review Board (LCRB) for the district, has made the findings required by ORS 279C.330 and determined that awarding a contract under this exemption is unlikely to encourage favoritism or substantially diminish competition and will result in a cost savings to the district.
The findings required to justify each exemption include information regarding: (1) operational, budget and financial data; (2) public benefits; (3) value engineering; (4) specialized expertise required; (5) public safety; (6) market conditions; (7) technical complexity; and (8) funding sources. Only these findings are required for each class or individual contract exemption, unless the LCRB specifically excludes a finding or includes an additional finding.
Part of an email sent to the board in September 2011:
If this move to save the Springdale School was being done purely to SAVE the school and move it from a liability to something to leave as a legacy for our community while also generating revenue for the district, then I think our support could be overwhelming. If there was another, more “neutral” plan for the Springdale school, I think there could be more support.
Pushing a plan to increase seats [ for the Corbett School District to again expand ] ultimately means we become further tied [ financially in this case ] to kids and families that don’t live here. And if laws change, opinions change or the budget scenarios doesn’t work out, we may be in a bigger mess than ever.
There is a reason the last two elections have produced four new board members. Your decisions should be made after you have all the related facts, not before.
If CSD has been asking families to send in personal checks, because of their financial dire straights, it doesn’t seem realistic that the remedy is to take out millions of dollars of debt, regardless of the great deals out there on loans or the prospects of additional revenue years later. We have grown the Charter School each year in crisis to “save us” and have yet to find financially stable ground with this tactic.
We just end up with [ more ] traffic and crowded schools.
We had a successful small school district in Corbett in 2008/2009. A reasonable number of parents enrolled their children from out of district at that time because they liked the small school and Corbett. Then we were forced to open a Charter School to save our district financially when laws changed ( to keep those students that would have had to return to their home districts plus we added in a few hundred more to help stabilize our budget ). Then we had to expand the Charter School again in crisis last school year because we were still in financial trouble, even after adding all those new kids.