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Author Topic: My notes from the October 19, 2011 school board meeting  (Read 11171 times)
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« on: October 30, 2011, 06:26:42 PM »

Yes, I'm late getting these out!  The meeting took just shy of five hours and I promise I will condense it Smiley  Keep in mind these are my notes, my opinions, my take on the proceedings and my general comments.  These do not reflect the ideas of the other members of the board, the superintendent or anyone else.  These are fully mine.  (Is that enough of a disclaimer?  I'm still working on the best one!)
All board members were present and the fifth draft of the agenda was handed out just as the meeting started.  A quick review of some of the new items and highlight of the difference between the fourth and fifth agenda were discussed, the regular school board meeting minutes from 9/21/11 were tabled until next meeting so we could have a chance to go over them.
Community member letters to the board were included in the board packet
Kit Dixon asking for a no vote on the million dollar loan
Chris Pailthorp asking for a no on the million dollar loan
Brian and Cynthia Winter asking for a yes on the loan
Gary Law asking for a yes on the loan
Ann Marie and Fred Sanchez yes on the loan
Kathryn Green no on the loan
Public Complaint filed by Gary Purvine.  
Gary was invited by Randy Trani to come in and address the board regarding this complaint and was offered 15 minutes for the process.  Gary presented that the complaint was against Randy Trani as he felt 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.  Gary had a representative from Williams/Scottsman who had driven in from Spokane, WA that day to present an alternative to the Springdale school.  
(This presentation was in regards to permanent modular structures that would be energy efficient, modern, have a fifty year life span and could be adapted to meet the community needs.  The thought behind the presentation was the recent tour of the middle school and the letter from the MS teachers and staff asking for a solution with their living environment.  Gary believes the district should be looking into taking care of the current campus and addressing the urgent needs of the middle school now, not waiting ten years.)
When Gary stood up to turn the meeting over to Mr. Pfeiffer he was gaveled down by Mark Hyzer who said that he didn't realize the complaint was against Randy and would need to be heard in executive session.  At this point in the presentation the complaint was over, the alternative solution was being offered.  The Chair did not allow Mr. Pfeiffer to speak or hand out his portfolios.  Mr. Purvine was allowed to answer questions addressed to him by the board members, Jeff and I each asked a question to try and get the information Mr. Pfeiffer was there to discuss out to the board members.
The board nominated Annette Calcagno to apply for the OSBA Legislative Policy Committee and begin the selection process.
Energy Projects:  Spencer Morgenthau:  McKinstry
The pellet burning boiler system is not feasible, it will not pay back the costs in the required time.  The window replacement will also be dropped from the proposed plans as the time to recoup the expense would run around seven hundred years.  
The school is not running high enough oxygen in some classrooms and common areas and this needs to be boosted.  The increased inflow of outside air will cause us to take an energy penalty, but the bad oxygen causes sleepiness and lack of a good learning environment.  This will be addressed more fully once all the reports are done.
The high school boiler is undersized, and bringing in more outside air to increase the oxygen flows will just cause lower heating abilities than now.  The current boiler is around 60-700 mbh, while the original plan was for 6,000 mbh.  We do not need one that large though, probably only need to double the size of the existing boiler to take care of the heating needs.  We could then have a back up boiler in place.  
The focus on the study was:
HS: significant: updating controls and cleaning ducting, replacing non-working items and increasing the boiler size the main focus.  This is where the majority of the work was directed during the study.
GS: Retrofitting the control panel was the only item mentioned at this point.  The school has been using its resources when it is vacant as the control panel is not user friendly and is not performing as well as it should be.  
MS: Minimal:  if the payback could not be made in 3-5 years the decision was made to not look into the option.  The building has recently been mentioned as needing to be torn down and replaced in the next ten years so putting money here was not deemed the best use of dollars.
Again, the reports are not finished so further discussion will be needed.

Grant project PARC:  
One of the owners of this company was introduced as a friend of  Dr. Trani's,  Robert Irvine.   (Authors of: Fallacies in Education: Why Schools Are Mired in Mediocrity ...)  The company writes grants for historic buildings and they believe they can identify contributors who would help raise the $750,000 needed above the million currently estimated to refurbish the school.  Some of the contributors require a 70% completion before putting their support behind a project. The PARC representatives said they will require 16-24 months for their portion of the project.
Springdale Consultants Aaron Blake- Reworks Inc, and Peter Finley Fry - AICP Phd
Mr. Blake is looking at switching the oil boiler to propane, as oil is not as green as propane.  Use the existing steam in the old section and consider A/C in the auditorium.  The boiler is solid cast iron and while old, has many good years of service to it, just renovate to LP.  Mr. Blake read to the board the executive summary on the Springdale school.  Time line for the renovation shows submitting to Multnomah County for land use proceedings as of November 1st.  Time line shows permits being secured as of March 2nd with construction period from February to July.  
I asked about the fact that when I spoke with the county they said 6 months to a year for securing conditional land use permits.  Mr. Finley-Fry said he could bend the codes to get the job done in three months, maybe four.  
(Now, this is where I'll get called for editorializing, but as I'm studying this timeline right now, without the meeting already being two hours along, I see some major problems with this timeline.  First of all, we initialize the Multnomah county land use proceedings, but we don't have architectural plans to submit with the pre-application, and having worked with the county on buildings, you have to submit those when you apply.  Second, we are starting demolition on the interior without permits?!  NO.  Demolition also takes permits, and I don't see the timeline including these.  Also, we are starting demolition without finding out if the county intends to even allow the school to be opened again?  The county hasn't had a chance to go over the pre-application on the conditional use of the building, and they have several conditions they can impose on the district prior to granting approval, and one of these conditions is the public hearing and right to challenge the application.  The timeline is not feasible, and also assumes some steps that the board would be remiss to assume.)
The board agreed to take a break at 9:01 and reconvene at 9:12pm
Chris Detherage: Boosters: moved forward in agenda so he could head out.  
Registration for athletes, number is 166 students.  They have all paid for their fall sports.
Winter registration will be November 2nd and November 4th.  Check the new website for all times and dates related to the sports program.
Booster membership is now 75 members, with 19 sponsors.  The teams are having a great year, come out and support them.
Principal's reports:
GS: Susan Handy and Andy Blanc gave a slide show presentation of the field trips the younger students have been going on.  (lights were turned off during this presentation, so notes were not possible.  I'm enjoying having the teachers do the presentations in the younger grades.
MS: Lori Luna: things are going well and story telling was also on the 19th.  
HS: Phil Pearson: Technical notes:  the school will be sending out automatic phone calls to parents when their student is absent or significantly tardy.  Also, the teachers e-mails are not going to be available for parents to copy on to their own server, but will be hidden and you will have to go through the school website.  While this may appear that we are trying to make it difficult to contact teachers, it is believed this will protect the teachers from spam.  
(The board e-mails are also hidden this way, my address is:
Mr. Pearson also read a letter from a Senior, Robin Freeman, regarding the AP program.  The letter is on the website under Mrs. Luna's corner.
Mark Wilson: maintenance supervisor:  The sewer needs to be compliant by 2013, to begin this process we need to begin to measure flows.  The three bids ran from $3,200 to $4,985, with Dan Bush (our DEQ supervisor) okay with all the companies that bid the job.  Mark will dig the test pits himself, saving the district $1,800 in cost there.  The board voted to go with the lowest bid.  This will be a feasibility study, design, plan for what will be best for the district and a cost estimate.  Mark will be putting the bid out to local contractors.
Comments from guests and representatives:
David Rossman: SSCA board: vote yes for the loan.  We are a nationally recognized school and to show their support, the SSCA was presenting a $5,000 check to the board.  
Janet Ruddell:  The bond is a no-interest loan and will have to be paid for by bringing in over 200 additional out of area students.  The Charter has a wait list, the district does not.  You don't know if Mr. Dunton will release that wait list to the district.  The traffic is an issue, and last year not ONE charter family signed up for the shuttle bus being offered to relieve the congestion at the school.  It should be made mandatory.  Vote no on taking out the loan and let the community decide by having putting it up for a community vote.
Gary Law:  SSCA: vote yes.
Kathy Johnson: Vote No.   You don't know how the community feels, and maybe the board and administration are afraid to let the community vote because of past votes, but a "straw poll" could have been done.  Find out what a true majority of the community wants before taking out this loan.
Brian James: Thanks to the staff, administration and teachers for the great job you do.  Mr. Killgore recently took a group down town to see Lord of the Rings.  The community has voted, now do what you were elected to do.
Karen Shaeff: West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce:  There are 1,500 artist in the Gorge area and a culture portrays its intelligence by its art.  This could be a cultural school and highlight international art.  We could include students in wood-working, they could build the sets.
Financial matters: Randy Trani:  On track with estimated expenditures, ending fund balance now projected at $282,355.
Consent agenda:  
Increase one hour a week for Tracie Swanson, music teacher, k-8, from .78 TE to .8 FTE.
Confirm hire of Monica Mitchell, .75 FTE instructional aide
Superintendent Trani's report:  Put together a Super Task Force with Bob Buttke, Eric Stevens and Eric Kneeland.  The two Erics gave a report on their take on the cost to redo the school.  They came in at 1.4 million, excluding several items.  Todd Mickalson asked where they got the numbers they are using for costs/estimates and they said the numbers were given to them by Dr. Trani.  They did not do their own numbers.
Resolution NO 60.10-11-resolved that the board approve bond issuance under the QSCB program through the authority of the Oregon Department of Eduction's allocation by December 31, 2011 and elect SNW (Seattle Northwest Public Finance) as our financing agent.
Todd Mickalson asked why we were only finding out that day that the loan money didn't have to be spent on the Springdale school?  That it could be spent on other items to help with the middle school or other areas we need to be improving?  He felt it was moving too fast, now knowing that the big push towards Springdale could have gone other ways.  Bob Buttke asked what would Todd do with Springdale if the loan isn't spent there?  Todd said he'd like time to look at other options, now knowing that was a possibility.  The district can change and apply the loan on other items, but only until the bonds are issued.  Then they can't be changed.
Discussion went until we had to vote at 11 pm to continue.  The vote was 5-2 in favor of the loan, Annette and I voted no.  Neither of us had been convinced that this was the best thing for the district to be doing.
The rest of the meeting was quickly wrapped up with the resolution to obtain Request for Proposals on abatement services, structural engineering services and grant writing services.  The MOU, Memorandum of Understanding, between PARC and Corbett School District for technical assistance not to exceed $1,188 dollars was approved.
The district still needs substitute bus drivers.
The meeting wrapped up just shy of midnight.  Thanks to all of you who came and stayed as long as you could.  
If you have some questions feel free to contact me: or 503 695-2182.
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