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Author Topic: Info/opinions to CSB by Feb 16th. Decision time.  (Read 4387 times)
Oscar
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« on: January 12, 2011, 09:34:17 AM »

I will add a few facts into the pool of community comments, railings and some very good level headed ideas.  I have attended 75% of the School Board meetings in the past 4 years.  I am a senior citizen and long time residence of Corbett.  Although my wife and I have no children/grandchildren at CSD we have attended a BX game, football game, two music concerts, two plays and several community events held on the Corbett campus this past year.  Although on a fixed income, we voted yes on the $1.82/thousand tax levy last fall.

Thank you Mindy Schmidt for outlining the concerns being addressed by Corbett staff, School Board and the Community.  We are told by Superintendent Trani that the School Board needs to make decisions at the February 16th monthly meeting so the budget committee can work out things for the 2011/12 school year. Major topics are choosing a pathway to solve the financial crisis; charter school expansion; more cuts; etc..

Sorry but it would be imprudent not continuing charter school  next year even if a survey showed a majority of Corbett folks didn't favor it   Please read Randy's 7 page “what if ---“.
If the school board decides in favor of a year round school or a split schedule of some type (or the worst consolidate with Reynolds), then vote them out in the May election.  But, I've seen this school board perform pretty well.  I have put up with a little arrogance at times, but this may be just personality conflicts.  Like any board they depend on their staff for information.  Unfortunately they've had to trim their staff so much that we have seen budget errors, unexplained shortages and errant purchases.  Not enough staff for oversight!

Charter expansion: For next year there is only room for filling new charter students to replace those who are leaving.  There aren't facilities to accommodate 20 or 30 additional charter students much less 200 or 300 more.  The expansion is tied to the million dollar loan - application made. 

Springdale School:  It's the only facility that would accommodate an expansion, but it lacks an occupancy permit because of extensive code violations.  FACT - CSD has not even applied with Multnomah County for School Land Use of the Springdale facility.  FACT - it would be summer of 2012 before MC approves the first building permit to refurbish the Springdale facility of 10,000 sq ft.  It could become room enough for 250 high school students. 

School Board plans to refurbish Springdale facility is not even off the drawing board.  Cost?  They have little hard figures.  FACT - CSD’s land use consultant said last April it could be a $2,000,000 project.  A preliminary Architectural assessment paid for by the Springdale School Community Association put the figure at $750,000.  Without some hard figures, the rehabilitation of SS could turn into a money pit.  SSCA, who until recently had an agreement to purchase the building, would not have invested in Springdale School without an extensive Comprehensive Architectural & Engineering Assessment which will cost about $15,000.  Encourage our School Board to OKAY that study.  We need to know the quality of our assets.

Bottom Line:  CSD cannot expand the charter school or lease out Springdale School for another Charter School in 2011/12 or 2012/13.  This brings us to the time when we'll have the new grade school bond paid off.  By that time after more cost cutting,  CSB should be able to run a successful bond levy for $600,000 to $1,000,000 for the general expenses of Corbett Schools.

The endowment idea to help fund Corbett Schools is a great idea and hopefully can be started.  Since our State Government is not helping we will have to DYI.  Can we hold out till a tax levy is passed 2013?  Do we cut sports, music, increase class size, reduce staff - these are the questions for which the School Board needs input.  It's not how we teach or if the Charter School is a bad thing.  Corbett is doing an excellent job of educating our kids.  So we have to educate some from west of the Sandy.  Do we not purchase most of our goods and services west of the Sandy?  So, we cannot be isolationist and go back to the “good old days” and just do our own thing here.  To live in this great place we must make some concessions and sacrifices. 
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Victoria
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2011, 05:23:56 PM »

The CSD did approve using the $15,000 at the last school board meeting to get a survey done on the Springdale school.  I did not get the feeling that this would be an extensive survey as removing roofing, checking interior structures or any kind of X-ray of the foundation would be done.  Not for $15,000.  The $15,000 was being paid out of money raised by the SSCA and would not come out of the CSD budget.

I have suggested we get small committees together to help out the school board.  The lack of oversight has been the biggest problem we have and failure to get all of the facts and information out to the decision makers is causing solutions to be reached without a well rounded picture.  I suggested that the school board allow a five person committee to overview monthly expenses, and to double check on expenditures greater than $2,500.  (Cumulative, not broken down and split into smaller numbers to allow review to be dodged.)  We also need a maintenance committee that will go over the building, figure out the repairs that need made and come up with a proper bid cycle, three bids, no cost overruns (fixed price bids, bonds required over $25,000.)  We need financial community members who will work with the District office and get a solid, transparent, easy to follow and operate accounting system.  One that tracks the amount of money in the category, shows how much was spent that month, and how much is remaining.  Change is hard, but we also need to change the way our schools are being managed.
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breezy
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2011, 02:48:22 PM »

If the school board decides in favor of a year round school or a split schedule of some type (or the worst consolidate with Reynolds), then vote them out in the May election.  Charter expansion: For next year there is only room for filling new charter students to replace those who are leaving.  There aren't facilities to accommodate 20 or 30 additional charter students much less 200 or 300 more.  The expansion is tied to the million dollar loan - application made. 

Springdale School:  It's the only facility that would accommodate an expansion, but it lacks an occupancy permit because of extensive code violations.  FACT - CSD has not even applied with Multnomah County for School Land Use of the Springdale facility.  FACT - it would be summer of 2012 before MC approves the first building permit to refurbish the Springdale facility of 10,000 sq ft.  It could become room enough for 250 high school students. 
 

CSD is considering making the Charter larger by going to a year round school model. Both the distrct and the current charter students would need to be on this schedule in order to create enough space for hundreds more charter students.
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peter pan
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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 07:56:26 AM »

On a different thread, MMA said, "This is why I really appreciate the schools new idea of a "save our school” type of fund. I need to find out more of the details but as I understand it, the school gets 100% of the funds given. The state government doesn't take its cut (20%?) through compression – which is a huge positive. Those who feel called to give, can do so and those who don't feel called, aren't forced to give through a tax increase." 

Apparently, donations will be accepted for this fund at the Tuesday (18th)night community meeting.  Since we either have to make painful cuts (which I assume no one favors) or raise money somehow, it is up to the community to clearly state how we want that money to be raised.  If you want to try a new levy, be clear about that.  If you want the charter school to expand, be clear about that. 

For me, I don't think the first option will work and I don't care for the second option.  Therefore, I'm going with option #3:  donating to the fund that MMA mentioned.  I've decided to calculate how much the levy would've cost me and then doubling that amount.  I'm doubling it because I want to make up for a family who is unable to donate at this point and because I want to send a clear message that I really want the Corbett community to retain ownership of and primary influence on Corbett School District, even if means I need to partner with them financially.

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