School Board Meeting Notes Nov 20, 2013
These notes were taken from attending the November 20th Corbett School District board meeting and then using the recorded audio of this meeting. This meeting was 3 hours long. This is only part 1. Part 2 will follow shortly as well as a link to the audio for those that prefer to hear it for themselves. ( Thanks to Karina Lande for providing these notes.)
Meeting started off with an accountability report regarding MESD this was lengthy and you can view the entire report & related financial details by accessing meeting agenda & packets through the school website from the board page.
Charlie O’Neil proposes a special facilities meeting due to recent failure of bond. “I think we need to get back to the drawing board and discuss the current facilities”. This will include discussions on the middle school building and start the discussion on getting a bond on the election ballot in May.
Meeting will be Monday Dec 2nd at 7:00 pm MPB Building
From the agenda for this special meeting, the agenda ends with the following “ACTION ITEM”.
Mention of emails to the board.
Annette Calcagno asks why there are only 2 correspondences in the board packet when she received 5 or 6 others that also went to all board members. She states they were regarding the graduation requirements.
Randy & Robin say they hadn’t seen them. Charlie states if they don’t go to the school and only to board members they’re not included they’re not forwarded & included.
Annette than asks Charlie, “when you get messages, as the chair, do you make sure they are forwarded?” Charlie, “no, I read them.” Annette, “I will forward them to Robin as I think it’s important they’re all included in the packets.” Victoria states she believes it was more like 8 or 9 that she received.
Randy states if they’re to an individual board member they wouldn’t be. Annette states no they were addressed to the board and went to everyone.
Charlie adds “I read them all, what’s the difference?” Annette says “because all correspondence should be included for the record not just some but not others, all of them.” She will get them to Robin to become part of public record. (Thank you Annette)
Next were principal reports. Touched on fire safety and firefighter visits. As well as various other day to day happenings.
DeeDee Hanes discussed the primary guided reading levels have been amped up and are more difficult than they used to be due to the implementation of common core. So higher levels should be reached at earlier grades than previously required by Corbett. This will be explained more in progress reports.
Lori Luna also discusses changes in the works related to the pending common core requirements and how they are starting to look at improving writing across the board for K – 8 grades. She also discussed grant opportunities to send teachers to intensive writing workshops to improve writing district wide.
I find it interesting while many are complaining about common core it appears that they will actually increase the learning expectations put on our kids and require higher levels of achievements in the basics here in Corbett.
I have 2 things I want to address. First of all I feel I need to ask the board step in regarding absent calls. Last year this was a continuing issue, calls happened at 4pm, after many back & forth they began happening at 9am.
Last I had talked with DeeDee she was going to work on getting cell #’s added so we’re notified whether home or not.
Much to my dismay this year there are no absent calls being made at all. My child missed a day on Oct 29th, the next day I emailed Randy & DeeDee both, asking why and what would be done to address it. It took 8 days to get a response from DeeDee. She said the outside company handling these matters had looked into and fixed the situation. I never got any response from Randy.
Today my child was absent and again I did not receive a call from the school regarding her absence. I have heard from other parents as well whom have not received the calls this year. I feel this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and it appears the principal & superintendent are not concerned so I am asking the board to follow up on this.
* NOTE: It is a state law that the school calls your home if your child is absent by the end of the school day. HB 3197 went into effect in 2011. (Other neighboring school districts make these calls by 9 AM.) For more about this law, which was called the Kyron Horman absentee bill, read here.
I also want to address the bond failure. To anyone bitter with the election results I refer you to the Nelson Community Survey. The writing was on the wall yet your administration did the opposite of what the community expressed in the survey.
I hope that through the election results you will all take to heart the numbers that voted down your proposal. I also hope that you will sincerely listen to this community and begin to work on the issues surrounding our schools that have been continually disregarded. You don’t have to look far to see the root causes of the bond failure.
As you know I am on the SOS PAC and through this I talked with many people and following are the main concerns I heard from your community as to why they would not support a bond.
-No limits set on the numbers of outside kids
-The charter school
-The lack of trust due to previous financial issues regarding missing funds & Springdale prioritized above a school in need that had kids in it.
-The missing research and pieces in the planning.
-The purchase of additional buildings and excess classrooms.
-Unnecessary wants in hard economic times.
-The tactics used and general lack of trust in the administration.
-The over all lack of cooperation between the administration and the people.
We face many large dividing issues in this community and I hope that you will take this opportunity to truly listen. I think any attempts to go right back to pushing a bond without first doing so is a waste of effort and money.
We have an opportunity here to bridge the gaps and make our schools great. Imagine the possibilities of a district truly supported by it’s entire community. We all want what’s best for the kids, it’s time to focus on the hard questions so we can make that a reality. Then funding our building repairs would no longer be such an obstacle. Thank you for your time.
First I want to say that my references when I’m speaking and I say “we”, it’s not a we it’s just me so these are my opinions & I’m not dragging anybody else in this with me, just me. When I have spoken toward you in the past I’ve tried not to offend anyone & not say the wrong thing. In doing so I never really say what I want and I don’t say what I mean. But not tonight.
I just have to say flat out, what were you thinking? I don’t understand authorizing money to be spent for a public survey, a professionally moderated steering committee and than disregarding the results. I hope you weren’t surprised the bond failed. You asked too much. So the last few months have been a waste of time, a waste of money, now you have nothing.
So this “back to the drawing board”….when you shouldn’t have left it in the first place? This was extremely disappointing. When and if you plan on placing blame against anyone who voted no, the reason you didn’t get your 15 million was we disagree, plain and simple. That’s what defeated the bond. The voters said no long before it was on the ballot. I don’t think you listened and I don’t know why.
It is now time to be individual thinkers and not be swept up in some grandiose ideas that Corbett voters have said that they are not paying for. The bond results, 62% voted no, 38% voted yes. You better listen to your voters because we are not going away even though some of you think we are not intelligent enough to know what’s happening. Lets get back to our needs not our wants.
She than asks about the lack of school zone & speed signs around Springdale.
Randy responds saying that the state decision is whats holding it up. He says please contact the state and ask them because I agree with you.
So a month ago I sent correspondence to each board member trying to figure out what you guys were thinking about a simple subject and I wanted to take this time tonight to thank Victoria Purvine for actually responding to me. That’s it, Thanks
I worked for 6 months on the steering committee. I felt it was a good process, anybody that wanted to speak had the chance to speak. It was mostly cordial & courteous. A couple times some people felt the need to yell over each other but it was a good process.
Obviously there’s some differences of opinions on the needs. I have my opinions on it which are different from some of the people. What I want to see is where we’re going forward. What’s the plan? A couple board members pushed to have a May bond for a lower amount. I want to know where we’re going with that? What’s the plan? How are we gonna get that time wise? That’s six months to be to where we were.
You guys need to work on this. We need to get it going. The facilities needs don’t change. Two of the things that I pushed in that committee were fire sprinklers in all our buildings. I find it ironic that the school board meetings are held in one of the 3 buildings with sprinklers, I don’t know if you’ve considered that.
Having fought fire in these buildings, being injured in this building fighting fire and that whole building not just that building that would require it’s replaced and every other building in here that doesn’t have them. That not only protects our kids our visitors but it protects this building in the middle of the night when nobody’s here. I’ve responded 40-50 times to these buildings over the years for alarms.
These are our biggest investments we need to look at what we’re protecting & what we’re doing and not just what we feel we need. That to me is one of the most critical things of any bond is protecting these buildings.
The other is efficiency. The electrical, the HVAC systems. The older buildings are wasting money, these systems need to be upgraded. Again lets pull together, let’s see where we’re going. I again enjoyed working on that committee, I’d be happy to do it again. I felt it was a good process, I liked the people. Thank you.
Before I start I want to say that I absolutely say everything with all due respect and I appreciate all the members on the board and I also appreciate all the administrators, I know how hard you all work.
Ya know I was very surprised with the outcome of the bond and when I saw the discrepancy in the numbers I felt like there’s something here that I don’t understand. If it had been closer it would just be a difference of opinions.
In the last 2 weeks I have called many many members of this community. People that I didn’t know. And the first thing I say is we have amazing people here in Corbett, we really do, we have incredible people here.
I heard a number of things over and over and over. The first thing was the charter. People are not happy with the charter school , they’re not happy with the way it was set up, they’re not happy with the compensation, or with the people that run the charter school.
The second thing that I heard was the number of kids in the schools and people are concerned, and it seems like you hear that over and over and over.
The third thing is the bond was just too much money. I think that one of the most profound things that was said to me was by Roger Mackaness, and he said: “If you want to understand this community & why this bond failed you need to answer one question, and that is why would you vote no?”
And I couldn’t think of a reason to vote no, and then he said to me:
“If you had your kid in the school and your kid had a problem, maybe they needed an IEP, maybe they were bullied or whatever the problem was and you felt like you did not get the response you needed & possibly you were not treated respectfully and your kids needs were not met, ” …. he said: “would you give me if I were the administrator 15 million dollars to build a new school?”
Ya know when it comes to your kid If there’s anything that’s going to make your claws come out, that would be it.
Unfortunately I think we are all in the wake of some decisions made by Bob Dunton and that administration and things that have happened. There are a lot of people that are hurt in this community and I was so surprised to listen to people and when I called them I didn’t have an agenda. I really wanted to hear people’s stories and I wanted to hear opinions. I really felt that my eyes were opened.
So I feel like that we are in a place to pull this community back together. The only way that we are going to achieve anything is if we pull this community together and the split is over the school. The split is over the school and the only way for that to happen is for all of you to hear the people. And if you don’t hear the people we are never going to pass any kind of a bond. Regardless of what we want regardless of what we need.
So my hope is that all of you will look at this the same way as I have. Look at these numbers, this town has spoken and they don’t have the same opinion, I voted for the bond because I wanted a new school even though I thought it was too much money. But we have got to listen to the people. Thanks.
What do you think of all the comments? Does this perhaps inspire you to let your voice be heard as well? Now is the time!!! Come to the special board meeting Monday night 7pm, specifically bond related meeting! We don’t all have to agree but we should all speak up and let the board hear our concerns!”