Corbett Community Forum

Corbett Community Board => Corbett Schools => Topic started by: on March 10, 2011, 09:34:30 AM

Title: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: on March 10, 2011, 09:34:30 AM
The School board voted ( 5 to 2 ) to approve extending the Charter School Contract until 2014, last night. In addition the Charter will add more students ( up to 510 out of district children ) to help generate revenue for CSD. More cuts will be coming for our district even with these additional students coming in. You can contribute financially, if you are willing or able, here: (

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: double trouble on March 10, 2011, 02:20:13 PM
Do you know when the increase in charter students will take effect?

Title: Starting when...
Post by: on March 10, 2011, 02:49:15 PM
I would assume for the upcoming year. ( 2011/2012 )
You would need to check that out as I don't know for sure.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: Victoria on March 11, 2011, 02:29:46 PM
I missed the meeting last night, I was flattened by a bug that refused to let me get out of bed.  But Gary went, and he spoke regarding the failure to use the open books "peer" schools as comparables and the teachers, who were apparently there in force, ended up shouting him down, or according to one of the ladies who was there, tried too.  She said he was doing well but eventually lost his temper.  I guess he told Trani his numbers were B.S., and if thats the worst he did, I think that's pretty good.  

So.... they passed the agreement by 5-2.  Jeff Aho and Todd Mickelson voted no.  Apparently the contract was put out on Tuesday, with a vote on Wednesday.  That isn't enough time for any rational decision, (again, my opinion! )

There is also talk of taking out another loan to cover the budget gap and if that happens, I think the District should consider itself insolvent at that point.  That is my opinion, but its based on the fact that we already have outstanding current debt of what I see to be around $670,000, and if we are taking out loans to keep covering the holes, then how does the Board intend for us to pay it back?  Do we wait until we hit a million in the hole and then declare insolvency?  Do we take out these loans instead of cutting the big piece of the pie and reducing salaries and benefits and then go to the Public and say, we need a bond to pass to cover our shortfall?  Do we hear again from Board members that if we don't pass an operating bond we give the District to Reynolds?  And if we are doing an operating bond, then we aren't paying down our debt.

I had someone tell me the other day that when the school burned down the insurance was on the hook for a brand new building.  State of the art, up to current standards, etc.  Instead, we settled for around 1/5 of the amount and put that money into the CAL seats, which we have sold off over the years until they are now gone.  Anyone up to date on that?  To me, that was not acting in a fiscally responsible manner, and it should be addressed.  But I need some assistance getting the information.

I believe we are headed towards an all Charter school district.  If this happens, we need to clean house and start all over with new administration.  I'm not saying that unpopular votes have to be made, but I'd like an accurate representation of what is being said to be put out there.  I don't know who all was "begging" that cuts not be made, but I know we turned in a petition with over 100 signatures on it saying to not take out loans and not expand the Charter and that apparently was not taken into account.  (At least not as far as I can see.)   One community member said they stood up last night and said make the cuts, and she was speaking for at least 50 people she knew, so there you go.  

If you see Jeff or Todd, please give them Kudos for listening, asking questions and standing up for those of us who would like to see things slow down.  Jeff apparently stood up and was told by Ms. Childs to "Be Careful" about anything he was going to say.  I understand he mentioned that he feels we need to address the damage/ cost done to the community by the current Director of the Charter and think about this before adding more students.  I also understand that once five votes were reached Ms. Childs announced they had five votes to pass.  Todd asked that the opposing votes also be called for, then he and Jeff voted no.

Regarding the audit cost.  What I have been told is the audit was more this year because we added the Charter to the District.  This bumped us into a higher audit bracket.  Also, because the charter was in its first year, we have a higher risk bracket added to the district.  This cost us the additional money.

I have the taxes for the Charter for the 2009 filing.  It shows the Charter ran more liabilities than assets in that year.  If anyone would like me to forward it on to you, let me know.  I am attaching information on the non-grading, multi-age classrooms.  According to the information I have, the researcher said if you hear that the students are getting an individual learning plan you need to seriously think before putting your child in that school.  The emphasis seems to be on increasing a childs self esteem, and the perception of parental approval.   As one of the researchers states, the education system recycles every twenty years and while this style of learning has been around, it has been put to rest in return to the more traditional style of learning.

We can't all take our kids and leave the District, we need to start making enough noise to be heard.  

Subject: New Charter Contract

Tonight, Wednesday March 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. there will be a school board meeting. On the agenda is an action item to approve a new contract with the charter school. This new contract would increase the charter school from 350 up to 510 students (there are currently around 320 charter students enrolled). Classroom rentals would go from the current 13 classrooms up to 17 classrooms. The rent would remain at $30,000 per class room but would be put on a sliding scale based on the percentage drop or gain of the ADMw. The new agreement would give $700,000 to our district per year. This year the district has received $538,000 from the charter school.  The district contract with the Charter school would be extended until August 2014.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: kw on March 11, 2011, 04:09:33 PM
From Victoria: "...and the teachers, who were apparently there in force, ended up shouting him down, or according to one of the ladies who was there, tried too.  She said he was doing well but eventually lost his temper."     

     I told myself I wouldn't comment, because I don't know it'll do any good; but I'm afraid someone out there will be aghast at the reported behavior of the Corbett teachers whom I have always respected for their professionalism.  I was at the meeting, I am a teacher and I was sitting with a group of teachers.  While this person was yelling, "The problem is those overpaid teachers with their inflated salaries!" and shaking his fingers at us, we all sat absolutely silent with our mouths open but no words coming out.  A community member who is not a teacher stood up for us and quite forcefully told him to stop disrespecting us. 
     After the meeting was over and people were leaving, I asked the people around me, "Who is that man?  I never knew anyone hated me so much."  That's how it came across, as hatred for the teachers.  Pretty demoralizing.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: Kathryn Green on March 12, 2011, 12:20:02 AM
from KW- "who is that man?  I never knew anyone hated me so much."

Get over yourself!  This is not about you.  Petty moralizing.

No one in the Corbett community hates you, least of all Gary Purvine.  The Corbett community values teachers, as we value firefighters, police officers, loggers, farmers, garbage collectors, nurses, business owners, neighbors and friends.  We think our school is an important part of the equation, but not the sum total of our existence. 

Title: But really....
Post by: crown point on March 12, 2011, 07:24:26 AM
... Gary went, and he spoke regarding the failure to use the open books "peer" schools as comparables and the teachers,
It wasn't about hating our teachers. Come on. And both people were out of line! The guy that stood up for the teachers and yelled at Gary was really scary, he seemed like he just lost it. The reason Gary was so upset was because they (Randy Trani and the School Board) tried to say we pay our teachers the same as other districts but they didn't use peer schools. We do pay our teachers higher than other schools of the same size. Gary was right and was angry because they would not admit it. That is how we saw it. Our school board and administrators always cherry pick their facts and figures and this makes people mad who know better. I am from a family of educators so I am not getting into whether all those teachers deserve their salaries or not. They are paid more though than our peer schools. Our district is in this huge huge financial mess and it is not clear why. That is why the levy failed last fall and even after they sold the first increase of kids and this Charter as what would help us stay away from this kind of thing. We are in the worse shape ever now than before the Charter. This is more than budget cuts from the state. It is bad. In more ways than financial. Honestly my family does not trust the schools because this whole charter school move basically gave away our little Corbett school and now our roads, parking lot and energy in the morning is horrible in a place we used to adore taking our kids to. Now we dread taking the kids into school when we have to because there are so many cars and people  are driving like crazies to get their kids out to Corbett to school and then back to Gresham/Portland to work etc. They never asked the community if we wanted to expand our schools by 500 kids or maybe more next year. It isn't equitable either. Some kids had to be "held back in music" this year because they messed up but not the Charter kids, no. They got to go on. Kindergarten next year costs money to our district parents but not the Charter? Is that true? The charter kids have smaller class sizes too. We are the ones paying the bonds and taxes for our school. They seem to tell us to accept and welcome these new kids and families and then don't understand why these things matter to us and our kids. The school board and the administrators at CSD have split our community. Most people that think its great don't live here or are transplants that don't really belong to the community or care about it yet. It's a sham. We should get new board members and take our school system back.

Title: Move to Corbett and then go to Corbett schools
Post by: Barbara on March 12, 2011, 07:50:24 AM
Charter schools can be fine. This one is not. The director and his wife are making oooodles of cash off Corbett - he planned it all and is reaping all the benefits while our school is cutting 10 days and our class sizes balloon and our teachers suffer. Dunton and his wife are also on their own Charter Board so they decide what they make and are making over $250-$300 thousand off our community school. But we're fifth in the nation!!!

We actually pay over fifty thousand a year for. Look at this link if you don't understand why the Newsweek award thing is not right. ( Our kids have a pass rate under 25% too. Many kids don't want to take these tests. But it is mandatory. Why is it mandatory? Because that is how we get such high ranking. The number of tests divided by the number of graduating kids. Don't underestimate the people in Corbett. You will only get away with a scam so long before people find a way to boot your butt to the curb. We don't like thiefs and we don't like swindlers. That goes for cronies on the school board too. One parent on this forum said she left her other Charter because Corbett has a playground and other programs her last charter didn't. The playground at Corbett smells though and do you know why? Because our septic tank is leaching and has been for a long long time. They often spread lye out over it next to the kids playground. Come on. How can this not matter in the overall "how are we doing" discussion. Especially when we are talking about bringing out so many more kids? What is up with our schools that they can't prioritize leaking septic tanks over paying for national ranking. People buy the hype. Come out and then they are like...ewwwww its stinky here.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: Victoria on March 12, 2011, 12:22:24 PM
I too come from an educational family.  My mother was a school teacher in Lincoln County for over thirty years and is currently being used by their District to help the kids who didn't make their benchmarks this year, using the Federal dollars that are available and have been turned down by the Corbett School district since 2006-2007.   (This year the federal dollars available that were turned down, $73,000.)   My brother-in-law, Dr. Richard MacLennan,  is the President of Garrett College in Maryland and my father teaches chemistry classes for Georiga Pacific.  We are a family heavily invested in the educational system. 

The First Amendment guarantees your right to free speech.  It does not make it hate speech, it does not imply that you are hated when someone says you are being overpaid based on the actual comparables of similar districts.  It is a fact.  The Corbett school district pays its teachers at a higher rate than "peer" districts.  I have been told that Corbett teachers can't afford to live in Corbett.  Its too expensive.  But I have taken the salary information and a primary teacher in Corbett with a BA + 105 step 15 is paid $68,666.  A high school teacher with a MA +45, step 15 also is paid $68,666.  In Corbett we also allow teachers to sell back their planning period at 16.67% of their base salary and some teachers do this, and on these examples the additional pay to the teacher is around $11,445.  We also have teachers who do extra duty, such as coaching, class advisors, activities coordinators, extra contract days, student management and assistant principals.  We have teachers with paychecks in the high $80,000 to mid $90,000.  How can it be said that the teachers aren't making enough to live in Corbett, when the bus drivers, custodians and kitchen assistants live here, and they bring in between $12.58/hr to $19.72/hr. 

(Dr. Trani said that 50% of the staff lives in Corbett, this is not 50% of the teachers.  The word staff and teachers is sometimes interchanged, you have to watch the wording.)

In todays economy we can't afford the current salaries/benefits/increases.  It isn't going to matter if you have a contract, if you don't have a school.

Title: Interesting Discussion on Facebook
Post by: Mindy Schmidt on March 12, 2011, 12:43:04 PM
Here is a quote from the Charter discussion on the Corbett Oregon Facebook page, it speaks really well to how many of us feel about the current Charter School and CSD's future:

.... Our board is a public body elected to oversee the most prudent use of public resources. Our main resource is our district capital facilities and teaching infrastructure. If we cannot fill the facility with in-district kids, the board has a fiduciary responsibility to raise more revenues, procure tenants with high public credibility and accountability or take on additional debt. It appears that we have not negotiated strongly or wisely enough to leverage the resources we bring to the table. In a torturous economy, when the board has asked the community to cough up more funds from dry pockets via operating levy, they make grave mistakes with sweetheart deals designed to provide immediate security for ‘all kids’ and some apparently overpaid charter staff. I don’t much care how uber-committed and visionary those teachers may be, lots of folks are worth more than they earn. The arrangement has been made out of desperation and it’s just bad form. Was there any attempt to consider other tenants? Dunno…it all happened in exec session and really fast. I liked the idea of trying to use the surplus facility for voc-ed, community college satellite courses, and other kinds of training that benefit and uplift our whole community…but those relationships would take a while to cultivate. The charter is coming to our rescue by engulfing our resources right now and this is a trend we need to reverse rather than perpetuate, if we want to save public education. Vilifying the individuals involved and scrutinizing their actions may provide short term comfort and perhaps greater transparency in the future. But it’s all peripheral to the underlying beast: a state that underfunds public education, public health care & pension cost burdens that are no longer sustainable, and a facility that is too big for our small town population. These are the problems we need to address in order to get back on sustainable ground.

To see this and other comments on this topic you can visit here: ( And look for the topic on the School Board's recent decision to extend/expand the Charter.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: gorgewind on March 13, 2011, 11:21:36 AM
According to public records:
Mollala River School District:  Elementary $51,380, Middle school $51,230, High School $51,610 (average salaries)

Lincoln County School District (Where Waldport is located):
Elementary $56,680, Middle School $56,060, High school $56,790 (average salaries)

Corbett School District: Elementary $52,232, Middle school $53157, High School $54,047 (average salaries)

These are just some facts about our peer schools that we were asked to compare ourselves with.  I am not sure where other people are getting their facts, but I am very open to looking at them.  At Corbett, a first year teacher with a bachelor's degree would begin at $36,381.  Most actually begin at $40,319 with master's degree due to the fact that the state of Oregon now requires a master's for a teaching license. 

A teacher with 15 years experience in a classroom and a master's degree, and an additional 45 credits (over their master's degree) earns $68,666 (that is the top).  Yes, high and middle school teachers can "sell" their prep time for around 17%.  One might argue that this actually saves the district money.  The district doesn't have to hire additional teachers to teach more classes.  My husband works for International Paper.  They do kind of the same thing - it is called overtime.  They simply do not hire more people - it is called a jobless recovery.   

I am worried about my kids - the ones I see everyday - my students.  I am scrambling right now trying to figure out how I can make sure that my students are least impacted by this.   I have 29 kids and I often tell the kids that I need to clone myself to be able to help everyone as it is.  The reality is that I have a lot of kids that I am trying to educate and now I have less time to do it!

So instead of worry about the charter school or how much money compared to other peer schools the certified staff at Corbett makes or doesn't make, we need to shift our focus on what is truly important - THE KIDS!! 

I have three parents that regularly volunteer one hour of their time weekly in my classroom.  I appreciate every minute that they give to help these kids out. I have some parents that can't help out due to their own jobs and are willing to send extra money for classroom supplies when needed. That is also greatly appreciated.

The point is, we all could do better - parents, teachers, administration, board members and community members.  So, instead of arguing or complaining - come spend one hour listening to a kid read or helping them with their math. I would gladly welcome you in my classroom and I know a few other teachers that would as well! 

Last night I saw our community at its best.  The Red and Black Dinner had both Corbett in-district and charter parents.  This was family and friends coming together to support all of our kids!  The charter kids and parents are wonderful families that want to help support the Corbett Schools.  Kristie Stafford and many other people gave of their time and money to support the kids.   Yes, they know there is a problem.  How nice that they are trying to be part of the solution. 

Michelle Dawkins
Corbett Elementary Teacher and Corbett Resident 

Title: The Board Topic...
Post by: Mindy Schmidt on May 08, 2011, 06:40:52 PM
Here is a recap, for those not necessarily following along closely over the past few years .....


Though both the current superintendent of Corbett School District (CSD), Randy Trani, and
past superintendent, Bob Dunton, have said they were discussing the idea for a Charter
School for over five years, the way in which the Corbett Charter Association (CCA) came to
be was a surprise to many in Corbett. CSD’s school board approved the CCA agreement in
2009 and as Mr. Dunton has written, it was “done in record time.”

The CCA board that negotiated the original agreement with CSD in 2009 included: Randy
Trani (current CSD Superintendent), Charlie O’Neil (current CSD school board member),
Bob Dunton (then superintendent of CSD) and the balance of the CCA Board were also
employees of CSD. Bob Dunton served as both Director of the CCA and Superintendent of
CSD last year, leading into this year’s budget crisis. Bob Dunton is currently the Director of
CCA while Randy Trani was appointed by the CSD’s board to the position of Superintendent.

Bob Dunton explained the Charter School in part as: “… not your neighborhood school. In a
traditional public school, the board is directly responsible to the voters. Charter Schools are
different. It’s important to note the the Corbett Charter Association is a corporation. It
conducts business. It is not a democracy. It’s not even a representative democracy. It does
its business in whatever way seems best according to its own lights.”

Due in large part to an accounting error, CSD went from showing a budget surplus at the
end of last school year, to having to hold an emergency quorum of the school board to place
a three million dollar levy on the 2010 fall ballot. Without a clear understanding of what had
happened, even by CSD board members, the levy failed.

While the size of the budget shortfall indicated a problem larger than a decrease in state
funding, CSD continues to explain the shortage this way to the community. The CSD school
board should have been more concerned that annual audits of the CSD listed a lack of
internal controls and oversight in regards to how CSD’s budget has been handled over the
years. At the least, more conversation was needed to explain how a surplus became a 1.5
million dollar deficit, in less than six months.

“Sometimes a crisis lets you do everything you have always wanted to do.”
-Bob Dunton, 2009.

CSD’s school board met in executive session in March 2011 and without public review voted
5 to 2 to approve an expansion of the CCA for up to 510 out of district students next year.
This number will account for over 50% of CSD’s total student body. Non-sustainable
decisions and spending practices have ultimately contributed to our inability to survive on
our own as a school district and if it were not for the CCA today, CSD would be financially
insolvent tomorrow.

The possibility of losing our public school and going to a Charter school model seems more
likely than rumor today. Randy Trani admits there would be benefits to such a move. The
description of CCA above mirrors very closely the attitudes of most of our current CSD
school board members already.

Please visit  to find out more about your candidates for CSD’s school board and become a more informed voter.

The Corbett School District has an amazing and dedicated staff, some outstanding teachers, involved parents and community members doing extraordinary things every day for our kids. We all want what is best for them and for Corbett. I for one do not want to lose our public school for a CCA way of doing things.

Title: Re: The Charter School Contract Extended until 2014
Post by: teresa on January 21, 2012, 10:11:58 AM
I am so sad to hear they want to add even more Charter kids to Corbett. The school is bursting with way too many children already. When my kids went there last year, my oldest had to put his lunch tray on the stage and stand to eat his lunch,there was no place to sit and eat.He had to share a locker with two other kids. Some kids didn't get a locker at all. The traffic is horrible. Charter parents speeding through our small town to get their kids to school. Traffic jams every morning and afternoon. Too many children in one classroom and not enough adults to teach them so lets have the older kids teach the younger ones. The solution is add more kids to a school that can't handle the ones they have now????????
Too many problems with Corbett. I pulled all three of mine from Corbett. They weren't learning how to read,unable to do any work. The system is broke all the way around. You walk into the school and it sounds like a playground and not a place to learn.

When you have an old broken car sometimes it's better to get rid of it and start with something new!