Candidate information: As with the last elections, the Corbett Oregon web site hosts candidate information pages as a resource. You can visit this page to read candidate statements and information.
“The Ticket” in 2013
The PAC ( a political action committee formed in March of 2013 in support of these four), the CCA ( Corbett Community Advocates a non-profit formed to Support Superintendent Randy Trani ) and the CEA ( The Corbett Education Association/teachers union ) all endorse the re-election of Bob Buttke, Charlie O’Neil, Todd Mickalson and the first time seat for David Gorman, who currently serves on the CSD Budget Committee. You can read more about the PAC and CCA here. This ticket was elected.
These groups have worked hard to make it appear that the other 4 candidates, or those supporting them, are somehow against their own school district or against the superintendent. I encourage everyone to do their own research before believing rumors, talk to these candidates yourself and at the least, get familiar with the information and issues at hand. Many are listed here.
Evans, Kerslake, Lande and Ruddell
While these candidates were interested in moving our school board into an era that actually encourages dialogue, respect, and community involvement in the very large decisions and changes we are facing in our schools in Corbett and were willing to be educated according to the current laws that govern a public body, like a school board – the PAC, CCA and the CEA made the election of the above ticket the clear choice to those in support of the status quo and/or those not in the know.
There is an existing culture that has been allowed to take root in CSD, that makes it commonplace to personally attack anyone that dares disagree with them publicly. No valuable dialogue can take place in this climate. This is not good for our kids, our schools or for Corbett.
Recent Developments ( as of May 2013 )
Non-renewal of the Charter Rental Agreement? – Recently Bob Dunton received an “unsigned letter” from the Corbett School Board that said it is a possibility that they will non-renew the Charter Rental Agreement in Corbett at the end of next year. This ignited a fire storm of emails sent by Bob Dunton out to his parents. You can follow along here with some of the back and forth: Read here.
Bob Dunton shared this on one of his Facebook pages on June 8, 2013: “Be it resolved that the Corbett Charter School Administration and Advisory Board intends to secure a five-year charter renewal in the Winter of 2014, and maintain the operation of Corbett Charter School on the Corbett campus for the duration of that agreement. We believe that this course of action secures for our constituents their legal right under Oregon law to parental choice and educational continuity, honors their choice to attend Corbett Charter School, and provides essential financial stability for Corbett School District.” —passed by the Corbett Charter School Advisory Board. ** As of early 2015: Bob Dunton is moving to Texas. He was denied in several districts, including most recently Reynolds and San Diego CA ….. Read here. **
HB 453 – Oregon Rural Remote/Small School Funding – Will we lose the small school funding grant ( Approx $500,000 annually ) if we absorb the Charter students with the above scenario? CSD has been reporting our 9th graders at the middle school since 2003/2004. (The Charter is reporting their 9th graders at the high school) There are not 9th graders PHYSICALLY attending the middle school, but we report them there. It must be legal somehow. If we did the same with the Charter students ( move the 9th grade #s to the middle school ) I believe we would just squeak by under 350 for that funding and continue receiving it: Read here. ** As of early 2015: The State revoked our STEM ID and small school funding. ….. Read here.. **
A New Bond for Corbett soon? – The “Facilities Planning Committee” was originally selected by Randy Trani to work with Mr. Bob Lawrence who was hired by CSD to help come up with a recommendation to the school board. (This would be in regards to pursuing a new general obligations bond this fall to most likely replace the old middle school with a new building and recommend other improvements to facilities that would be paid for by a new bond.) It appears now, from the discussions I have been reading, that some of this group’s members feel we have skipped the discussion of whether or not the community is in support of growing our district further. Over half of this group has stopped attending these meetings. That is not a good sign. More info here. ** As of early 2015: The district has failed the last three bond attempts and now a special task force (made up of all staff) will meet and then recommend facility needs to the board. This task force, since it will be influencing the vote of the board on how to spend public dollars, should fall under public meeting laws. However, the language was recently changed so that they report to the Superintendent – to assumably circumvent that law from applying.**
This is not necessarily a recent event, however the level of accusations and character assassination has certainly been ramped up leading to this election. In large part this is coming from the CCA and those in support of it.
“Mindy Schmidt’s husband wants Randy’s job!”
Or…”Mindy doesn’t even have kids!” Or… She is a liar!”… Or… worse…. Unlike some, I do not lie or create fake profiles on Facebook or use social media to personally attack people I don’t agree with. My husband is an administrator in a neighboring district, that is true. However, he has no interest in Randy Trani’s job and never has. We have two children. Both now attend other districts and are doing much better there. I will correct any “misinformation” if it is pointed out where I am wrong. ( And I have. ) Much of the information I share out on the Corbett Post has been sent directly to the school board over the past 4 years, and has received no response.
Randy Trani’s contract and evaluation
Director Purvine recently responded to a comment from an angry parent from Gresham who made accusations about the unfair evaluation that Superintendent Trani felt he had received from ‘two board members’. I think her explanation goes a long way in helping people understand these issues. You can read that here.
Fact vs. Fiction from Director Annette Calcagno
Director Calcagno has asked that this letter be published to the Corbett Post to clear up some Fact vs. Fiction floating around in regards to her service as a board member: Read here.
Are ‘locals’ trying to destroy the schools?
An article shared by School Board Director Purvine after being elected in October 2011 gives needed perspective on the issues still facing Corbett Schools today. I recommend sharing this with those confused about the hard feelings that have been created in Corbett over the school district’s repeated expansion and direction: Read here.
PESKY FACTS ON THIS POST
Going and growing, just not legally – We are out of compliance in every building on our main campus at CSD. This means that we have more kids than allowed legally with the County. This comes from growing our district without following the law and without things like traffic studies, public hearings or going through the process with NSA ( National Scenic Area ) or ODOT when we established the Charter. I recently emailed the school board with information I received from the County to this topic for the record. If you would like a copy of that information – let me know and I would be glad to send it on. It was also submitted to the School Board for the record.
The creation of the Charter School was not established legally with Multnomah County – You can listen to the County Planner specifically say this in the audio that was posted from last August when Randy Trani (RT) had a pre-application meeting for population expansion at the below link. ( The school board did not know, at least not all of them, that this application was even being submitted. ) What RT was asking for ( in a worst case scenario ) would have tripled the size of our district. Read here.
Nationally Ranked? – National Ranking is not what it sounds like. We all need to understand that this was a calculated move ( RT’s words, not mine. ) It is based heavily on how many tests we pay for – not how well we do on these tests and is a ranking specific to the high school not all our schools. Read here.
Corbett School Board Meeting Minutes – where are they? – As of April 2013 there were still no board meeting minutes or agendas at all on the District web site for the 2012-2013 school year. ( The last ones were from June of 2012. ) Parent/community requests recently convinced the district to publish these this past month, but they are still not labeled as minutes, so it is unclear that they are there at all. Read here.
Lowest funded school? – We continue to hear we are the least funded school from RT. In fact, the reality is that the exact same funding formula is applied to every school in the state. What RT is not saying is that we don’t receive the same funding because we do not have a high population of English Language Learners ( ESL ), pregnant teens, or SPED etc. ( And we also do not have to provide those services that the additional money would need to be spent on. )
THE “PLAYERS” IN THIS ELECTION
Political Action Committee (PAC 16241) This group was formed in support of the re-election of Bob Buttke, Charlie O’Neil, Todd Mickalson and the first time election for David Gorman for school board. One Director of this PAC, is actually a current CSD administrator’s wife, and both live in Portland. Read here for more.
This PAC lists Tracy Kneeland as the treasurer. The Kneelands moved to Corbett in the past 2-3 years. Tracy’s husband was involved with Eric Stevens and Bob Butke in late 2011 with “Phase 3” for the Springdale School project. ( This was the change of plans that then resulted in the district taking out another $650,000 loan, on top of the million dollar loan, to complete the project earlier than the school board originally approved. ) The original vote was 4-3 to apply for the second loan. Ask your board members how the date for this vote was set. It’s a very interesting story.
BOARD MEMBERS – A FEW MORE FACTS
Our longest serving board members are running again this term – Bob Buttke and Charlie O’Neil voted to approve the Charter School without going through the County which would have allowed the community a public hearing and a traffic study to first find out what a Charter School in Corbett would look like.
According to 990’s on file with the State of Oregon, Bob and Sherri Dunton make over $326,000 combined for a Charter school of less than 500 students as of 2011. How did our board, at that time, and these two candidates in particular, not see this as a bit of a lapse in judgement when conducting their fiduciary responsibility on behalf of our town?
What about those two “new board members”? – The two newest board members, Annette Calcagno and Victoria Purvine, have actually taken more classes with the OSBA ( Oregon School Board Association ) than any other board members during the same time. Ask your elected school board members what level they are in the OSBA leadership institute. Laws are changing all the time, we need to have a board that is educated on these laws and kept current to do their best work.
It was our new board members, and Director Purvine in particular, who pushed for and achieved getting RT to agree to returning accreditation to Corbett School District in her first year after being elected. ( Bob Dunton removed this when he arrived. ) Read more here.
The State Fire Marshall came out this year to Corbett – It had been five years since they were here. They gave us a list to work down. This only happened because one of our “new board members”, Director Calcagno, pushed the issue.
Achievement Compacts – It was a surprise to one of the board members attending the November 2012 OSBA conference to be told that the Achievement Compact Committee were to have been selected and voted on by the middle of September 2012 and that public meetings should have already been started. To date, there have only been two public meetings on this, both held at 9 am. ( A very difficult time for the “public” to actually be able to attend. ) No vote has taken place yet by our board at all, to my knowledge.
Common Core Standards – The Superintendent could use his report time at board meetings, toward the business of the school. For example updating and informing his board on Federal and State mandated programs such as this, instead of complaining about the evaluation he recently received that he felt was too low and causing grief for ‘two board members’ and division and animosity with staff by sharing this information on campus. ( As it is, we know very little as the public, about where we are with this and other programs. )
Continuous Improvement Plan – Corbett has not had this on file since 2006. Only Director Purvine has asked about this. These are actually due every two years to the state. Why we don’t do this, I just don’t know.
Transportation Reports – Director Calcagno had asked the Superintendent for this report for months and months after it should have been turned in. It is a REQUIRED report due in September to the State each year. When I contacted the state, I was also told in an email that this lag is typical for Corbett School District.
Citizen Advisory Committee as required by law under HB 3565. ( These help build better partnerships between staff, parents, & community. ) We just don’t do it in Corbett. I think this has been a big mistake – but it has been asked about by our new board members and the board majority and Superintendent has not found it to be a priority.