[LCSD] Liveblogging, April 6th, 2009

Yes, Virginia, with luck there will be liveblogging tonight.

School board agenda is here.

7:04 PM – Up and running, but a little late.  My work life got in the way for a few minutes (imagine that).

Oh, and someone – apparently Kevin Bogartin – called me out for not standing up for the flag salute.  If he was joking, his deadpan delivery was excellent.

7:05 – First item is to celebrate the LHS choir going to Carnegie Hall over Spring Break (as I recall, the ball started rolling on this when I was still subbing).  There are five students standing up there looking a bit nervous but doing a great job talking about how awesome their experience was.  Kevin Wong looks simultaneously nervous and very, very happy.

…Wong just noted that one of the LHS students got a solo.  At Carnegie Hall.  Holy crap.  Oh, and that Carnegie Hall was pretty much a full house and they got a plaque.

….standing ovation.  First person up: Kim Fandino.  Good for her.

If the chart is correct and they played on the large stage, that’s 2800 people.

7:10 – LHS Dance – Alex Cox and Jessica Vandenbos are talking about dance.  Good talk and a nice ovation.  They got 2nd @ state.

7:13 PM – Senior Projects.  These are LHS Special Ed teacher Peter Gomez’s students.  He has a message for the students…. first student is going.  She – Susan? – put together a clothing drive with another student.  TWO HUNDRED BAGS OF CLOTHES?!

…still taking donations, hangars, etc.  Can drop them off at the main office at LHS.  Student McKenzie Dunn (sp?) brought in about 30 bags by herself.

A quick observation:  I don’t know what every student does for their project, but these students did something that made a difference.  Also, they were articulate, they had clearly thought about most all aspects of the project (including being aware that students who accept the donated clothes might want to do so anonymously and/or private – nice job).  On top of that, they didn’t actually seem that nervous.  Or, at the least, they simply were doing what they thought was good and were mostly happy that someone would want them to talk about what they had done.  And let me be clear: these are “special ed” students.  I subbed in their classes several times (well, two of them, at least), and to see them put together such projects – I am very, very impressed.  Damn impressed.

7:18 – Audience Comments.

Lani Harris – LACE & Kim Fandino are up first.

Harris – Glad that the district took the reorganization off the agenda.  Glad to see the money saved.  Doesn’t want to give more money to administrators.  [Harris is really pushing to confirm that the reorg is not happening because of the financial situation.]

KF – LEA Bargaining Chair.  Apologized for the letter that said “President.”  Apologized. (Hm.)

[KF begins to read prepared statement… quickly.]

KF: “Current practice is reactionary.”  (OH REALLY?!)

KF: Reaction to Super’s proposal among teachers was shock, anger, fear, negative.  Looked like cuts for unionized staff with raises for admin.

KF: Want to propose a joint meeting between two admins, President and bargaining chairs of LACE and LEA and two more (didn’t catch who) to have a conversation – a shared conversation – about the future of the district and creating a better

7:22 – Sara Haley (sp?), Riverview staff.  Apparently lots of staff here tonight.  Begins by talking about SpEd – 16% of Riverview is SpEd….. continues to read statistics… worried about cuts and increased class sizes and the detrimental effect on education…. Riverview *can’t* lose our principal because of a cut.  No custodian on staff…. two office staff…. one personal care assistant (in health room)…. in short, DO NOT CUT.  [Seems to be from the entire Riverview staff.]

7:28 Charlene Santucci – Riverview parent.  Reiterates Sara’s point about the four principals in such a short time…. loves Rynda Gregory…. want to have her around for “a lot of years.”

[Observation: I know it’s early, but the vibe I am getting right now is that people are deathly afraid of the consequences of cuts and just trying to band together to survive.  In a way, it’s kind of amazing and touching – even if it’s surface-level and temporary, the people who are coming to speak are not, for the most part, taking cheap shots.  They are talking about what is really important to them.]

7:29 – Lindsay Whitcomb (Welding and Ag @ LHS) – Here to impress upon the board how important the Ag and Welding programs are to the community. [That observation just got one more piece of evidence.]…. one example is to get spent grains from local breweries for free and use in livestock feed.  [This is super-progressive and sharp! I wonder where they get them from?]…. brick house students are growing plants through the Ag program…. Land Lab is “one of the top quality equine facilities for a high school on the West Coast.”

7:33 – Whitcomb is still going but aware of the time limits…. graduate students who “can land living-wage jobs.”

[Observation: What kind of conversations are happening in the district that has prompted so many people to come forth and almost plea for their respective program/area/school?  I know things are bad – OSU is looking at a budget cut of 20-30% – but I didn’t think they were this bad.]

FFA President or Vice President (didn’t catch his name):  “I don’t think I have ever been involved in anything that has impacted my life so much.”…. huge variety of skills, areas, etc.  Just being in FFA and having Land Lab is enough to fill a resume by graduation…learn things by doing, not in a classroom reading out of a book… farrowing pigs (huh?)….

7:38 – Whitcomb – over Spring Break, was recognized and given fresh-baked cookies by the hotel they were staying at for behaving so well…. credit is also due to [LHS teacher] Mike Wilson.  Thank you.

Oh, and Jennifer Moody is gone.  So is Debi Shimmin (Shimmin’s daughter is having a baby).

7:40 – Margaret Campbell (?) – Talking about the now-dropped plan to reorganize district office (?) and give some people pay raises.  Campbell is attacking the use of the title of “Executive Director.”… Campbell is a former federal auditor….. going after some technical details about how people would have been classified…. (I can’t catch it all – she is speaking quickly and quietly.)…. “the devil citing statistics for his own benefit”….. “incompetence or worse”…. (in the context of CPI-based raises).

…based on her langauge, she is ripping someone a new one.  Based on a proposal that has been pulled.  And in such technical language I don’t think most of the room really knows what she is talk about.  AND WHO IS SHE?….. citing several qualifications and 30+ years experience…. mentions OSU and WSU…

7:45 – Lyndon Brown – here representing fledgling League of Women Voters for Linn County.  Sponsoring School Board candidate forum from 6:00-8:30 on Tuesday the 28th @ LHS. (Also Chamber of Commerce [?] forum on the 30th.)

Second item:  “Sincerely appreciate board delaying action on compensation.”

7:46 Danny Harmon – PE teacher from an elementary school (not sure which one).  Making a pitch to save PE in light of economic crisis – but not just economic crisis, public health crisis…. references this: http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/copi/ …talks about obesity – notes that over half of students are currently destined to become overweight or obese adults…. notes health risks of obesity…. holy crap…. Obesity costs Oregon more than $781 million PER YEAR that can be combatted with physical education… in PE I try to provide students with a wide variety of experiences and activities so they can go home and be active…

7:50 – Wineteer closes comments.

District Calendar – Wineteer punts to Kelley.

.. big (and I use the term loosely) debate seems to be between K-8 and HS levels and how they plan parent-teacher conferences.  Also, school is probably going to start before Labor Day next year.

7:52  PM – LEA request to modify grievance process.

[Aside from the usual possibility of fireworks, this is most of the reason I am here.]

KF: One of more recent dilemmas is that Robinson made recommendations and the board decided that they did not want to be part of the grievance process and overturned in arbitration.  So that was a language change on something that had been in place for decades before that.  My proposal is to go back to that old language…. [explains difference between grievance and complaint.]… in essence, the board has not heard any of the grievances for several years now.

McUne:  Does this involve changing the current contract?

Lanning:  This would be appropriate for the next round of negotiations.

Kelley:  I agree.  Personally, I would encourage the board to wait until the normally scheduled bargaining.

KF: Part of my earlier comments – so many things that the board has not had a chance to weigh in on.  We want to change that.

Kelley:  Understand that board would only be involved if things get to Step 3 in the grievance process.  Since I’ve been here, nothing has achieved the step that would take it to the board.  Again, bargaining is the best avenue for dealing with this.

KF:  We currently have a grievance headed for arbitration. [THE TRUTH COMES OUT!]

McUne:  Would this affect that grievance?

KF: Depending on when and how the change would be implemented.

McUne:  Why change process mid-stream?  Isn’t that awkward?

7:58 Fisher:  Say that board decided to give you this opportunity.  Doesn’t that set a precedent where you can just come to the board and ask for another article to be overriden?

KF: This is the first time we’ve done this.  And it is related to and in response to board members asking for information. [emphasis added] Really about board being involved before things go to arbitration so they know what’s happening and before money is spent.  Also, it takes both parties to agree to a Memorandum, so that would limit times this happened.

Board:  Needs reflection.  Direct Lanning to place on next agenda.

Alexander:  Kim, you don’t want this to go to arbitration, do you?  Would pushing this off put it past arbitration?

KF: No – we have plenty of time.

Item is closed.

8:01 – Administrator contract lengths.

Lanning: Information on this was sent out in a separate package due to attorney-client privilege.

(awkward silence)

McUne:  Some of this can be discussed.  State law mandates that some positions must have three-year contracts.  Previous discussion was to have everyone on a two-year contract.  Attorney’s opinion is that we can have a discussion and use a good process, but some will stay on three-year contracts.

Wineteer warns Alexander to be careful what he talks about… then Alexander starts babblin about whether or not some of this is executive material.

Jesus. H. Christ.

McUne:  Maybe this is something that should wait until we have a new Super.

Alexander:  Something something May.

McUne:  Table at least until May.

Wineteer:  Directs Lanning to table until May.

8:04 – Appoint Board classified bargaining representatives.

[REALLY awkward moment, where no board member looks at another board member. Audience laughs.]

Lanning:  We need two board members to serve on the bargaining team.

Fisher:  I will volunteer.

Kelley:  Just to remind the board, it’s only two articles.

[I think Shimmin is the other volunteer.  Not sure.]

8:06 PM – Legal RFP

Lanning:  Need to calendar a few things, quite a few possible firms.

8:09…. Michael Martin, Ralph Gaston, and Todd Gestrin are here.  Jane Ruck and Liz Alperin are not.  (Lanning had the ones here introduce themselves.)

…also, the room is FULL – almost standing room only.  I wonder why….

8:10 – Jan Zarate on Math and LHS graduation/dropout rates.  Northwest Education Lab has been videotaping some math classes and want to come back to examine some kindergarten-level problem solving up close.

The other thing is the grad/drop-out rates.  Not published yet, but wanted to get it out now.

07-08 graduation rate is 83.8%.  In 01-02 it was 64.5%.

Drop-out rate has dropped from 9.6% in 01-02 to 2.9% in 07-08.

Zarate:  It needs to fall even farther, but this is amazing.  Part of the reasons, we think, are student-teacher relationships due to academies as well as 1-on-1 educational plans.

(I wonder how many people will credit Robinson for any part of this?)

Focus on SpEd grad/dropout rates… minor computer problems… nothing on the screen…..

… and I fail to fix a technical problem with displaying PDFs on the projector…. well, I tried.

For the record, the PDF that should have been displayed was here.

8:22 McUne:  a 15.8% graduation rate for students with IEPs is really low.  What are we doing to increase that number.

Glazener (?): Develop awareness of alternative graduation methods, help them ID their strengths…. really is about getting career pathways in line for ALL students, no matter what that is.

8:26 – Yates.  Updating the board on LHS.  Credits office staff, teaching staff, and teaching staff.  “Some incredible things going on, and for too long we haven’t focused on the positives.”

..biggest thing is just communication between teachers and with kids.  Meeting with ASB officers.  Worked to decrease pressure in the school.  When I walked in there was tremendous pressure… letting a little air out of the tire…. kids have been incredible.  They have been very compliant (emphasis mine).… tried to reestablish standards with students… revised schedule…. looked at grades from Trimester 1 to Trimester 2…. expected bell curve, found well curve…. “that is probably not a good thing for us to have”… looking at how to systemically deal with that…. realign curriculum with both LBCC on top and feeder schools on bottom…. common grading practices, common syllabi…. fundamental things….

8:30 – new org chart for classified staff… not a thing in that building we’re not evaluating…. most important thing is setting the stage to address student achievement… no matter what anyone tells you, it’s the instruction that counts…. not yet begun to deal with that part of it….

Board:  We have no questions.

8:32  – Financial Update from Linda Darling.

8:37 – big range of possible cuts.  Looks like – ballpark – $3-5 million in cuts for the LCSD.  Darling: “It will be painful.”

I wonder how Oregon compares to the other 49 states when it comes to K-12 education.

McUne:  This is the time to talk to state legislators about this.  The way we fund education in Oregon is crazy (hear, hear!).  [Asking public to talk to their state legislators.]

8:39 – Layoff resolution, round two.  Round one was 08-09 school year, though no layoffs were implemented.  This resolution is for the 09-10 school year for administration, licensed and classified staff.  And based on current scenario, people in all three categories will be laid off.

Wineteer:  We did pass the resolution for 08-09, but it’s worth noting that this administration managed to issue zero pink slips.  Compare to Albany – they issued 60 pink slips.  So this administration should be commended.

(Running for reelection or being genuine, or both?)

McUne:  Is there a time frame?  A plan?

Lanning:  Lots of moving pieces, but at some point we have to address these issues.  Do we wait until there is a new board?  New Super?  I have to bring you a balanced budget by mid-May, so some action must be taken…. “it’s all coming to a head”….

8:46 – Lanning: Not planning on replacing Assistant Superintendent.  (at the end of a long speech in which the room felt rather like a funeral.)

Motion to authorize layoffs is passing without argument, or even discussion.

8:47 Consent Agenda

One thing I noticed about the proposed agreement for services between the OSBA and the LCSD is the cost of the services provided.  Check out the consent agenda online and look for the proposed agreement.

Wineteer:  Can the audience stay for a minute?

8:48 – Consent agenda approved with no discussion.

Wineteer:  As was hinted at, Kelley has taken a position in the South Umpqua District….

Kelley gets a pretty darn decent standing ovation – this was his last full board meeting.

8:50 McUne/Lanning:  Last thing is meet and greet for Super candidates.  It’s this Thursday…. 6-7 in boardroom is Rob Hess, 7-8 is George Woodruff.

Meeting is basically over, except that they are going back into Executive Session.  It went pretty smoothly.  As for why, I have a few thoughts:  1) budget crises have spooked everyone; 2) Robinson is gone (though don’t assume that means the discord was all Robinson’s fault; 3) No major agenda items; the good weather.

What do you all think?

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29 Comments on “[LCSD] Liveblogging, April 6th, 2009”

  1. LT Says:

    Cool. I’m in my pjs ready for Dennis’ stimulating take on the LCSD!

  2. Tim Says:

    So I’ll say it only one more time… I wish you’d use coveritlive.com… But thanks for being there and capturing the spirit of the meeting.

  3. Dennis Says:

    I should, I know. But I need to learn it first. Maybe over the summer?

  4. Tim Says:

    It’s ok, I really do appreciate you being there….

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Me too. Thanks Dennis!

  6. anon Says:

    Thank you for taking the time/energy to liveblog the meetings.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Here are some of the rumors;

    1. 11 teachers will be cut from the HS.

    2. ALL SA’s throughout the district will be cut.

    3. PE or Music teacher (depends if you have one or both) will be cut.

    4. Elementary principals down to half time (more specifically, one person working full time, but covering two schools)

    Another is that DO is restructuring. Eliminating three positions, creating three new ones and giving those people salary increases. Amounts I have heard range from 6000 a year to 20,000 a year depending on the person and the position.

  8. Dennis Says:

    I can’t believe the $20,000 increase. That’s got to be false. Also, the plan is DOA anyway, so it’s moot.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    The increase was actually going to be $26000, that is out of the mouth of Russ McNue.

  10. Dennis Says:

    I’m going to assume you meant McUne.

    Russ, care to weigh in?

    Also, that sort of thing makes me wonder if Lanning wasn’t simply increasing a salary to a competitive average. I have trouble believing with good evidence – that Lanning would propose a bunch of unwarranted pay increases at this time. It makes no sense.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    I was just responding to this,
    “[Observation: What kind of conversations are happening in the district that has prompted so many people to come forth and almost plea for their respective program/area/school? I know things are bad – OSU is looking at a budget cut of 20-30% – but I didn’t think they were this bad.]”

    Other than the rumors, I have no idea what if any salary increases would have happened or if they would have been warranted.

    IMO the amount and type of information being given to staff is just enough to make everyone more nervous.
    Apparently there is no plan yet, but things that are “talked about” are being relayed and then passed on to others and pretty soon what was said does not even resemble the rumor. Remember playing the old telephone operator game is school? Same situation

  12. Dennis Says:

    Telephone – in other words, pretty normal for an organization the size of the LCSD.

  13. Dennis Says:

    Tim, the other thing that could happen is that the LCSD could start webcasting the meetings…..

  14. Russ Says:

    The information comes from making assumptions from the material that was on the website prior to the agenda change. Assuming the people in positions that are related in name to the proposed changes, one can calculate what the salary increase would be. So you have a possible 7.3% (~$7000+PERS) raise for Director of Student Achievement and a 16.3% (~16,000+PERS)increase for the Executive director of Student Services (formerly the Special Education Administrator). The new positions would also require more days of working, also. The business director would go from a complete package including benefits of $68,536 to $93,754, an increase of $25,218.00. This was all public info, although no longer on the website. Now, having said that, I don’t know where Mr Lanning is moving people. He could move another administrator into the Student Services position and the pay may not change at all. We won’t know until we see the entire plan, including layoffs at all levels, and I have not seen that information.

  15. Russ Says:

    Sorry, I made an error. My comment above should have said Human Resource Director, not the business director. I don’t see any changes in the business director position in the proposal.

  16. Carlea Freeman Says:

    I’m glad I found this resource. I had wanted to attend this meeting but another commitment came up. Thanks for your thorough play-by-play.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    I guess they voted to lower HS credits required to graduate from 27 to 25 at this meeting. I don’t remember hearing it during the meeting. I don’t see that in your notes, but may have missed it here too.
    You remember anything about this at the April 6th meeting?

  18. Dennis Says:

    I don’t remember it, and I hope I would have blogged about it. Certainly it’s worth noting.

    Anyone know for sure if that’s what happened? Did I just miss it?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    I got a letter from the school about it. I THINK the letter says they are starting it this year. Want me to try to scan and email it to you?

  20. Dennis Says:

    Sure, and I can post it. Probably easier to just call the LCSD and ask, however. Should be in the meeting minutes.

  21. Anonymous Says:

    NVM- scanner is being non-compliant! Letter says the info is available on HS website.

  22. anon Says:

    I got the letter too as I also have a senior. Came in today’s mail. It’s signed by Yates. It states the lower requirement was approved by the board April 6.

    “The immediate transition to the 25 credit standard for all students is being implemented in order to support the graduation of students who may not have met this year’s 27 credit requirement but meet next year’s 25 credit requirement…” yadaya…

    that’s it…dumb it down. so glad my kids are gettin’ outa there. the 2nd one will go elsewhere. this is nuts.

  23. Susan Says:

    I received the letter(s) as well today. I found out about it last week when I met with Steve Kelley. I guess I did not know…or even think…that everyone did not know. Sorry.

  24. anonymous Says:

    It was NOT voted on during the meeting. Not sure when they would have voted on it.
    Highly interesting.
    I would like to know when they vote on things like this.
    It doesn’t seem like it should be during an Executive Session…

  25. Anonymous Says:

    I think it was number 4 on the consent agenda….

    “Approve 1st Reading and Adoption of Policy
    – IKF- Graduation Requirements”

    (copied and pasted from the agenda on the district web site)

  26. Russ Says:

    It was a first reading in the consent agenda at the last board meeting.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    The April 06, 2009 Agenda:
    Approve 1st reading of Policies:
    EBBCC (Use of Automated External Defibrillator–modified)
    IKF-AR (Graduation Requirements)

    There wasn’t any notice to the public about changing grad requirements downward. That should at least include some public discussion from the Board on the value/importance/reasons for such a proposed move.
    Is it in keeping with Oregon requirements? Etc.
    This was not accepting the policy–it is still open for changes. It was a 1st reading of the policy.
    The letter by Mr. Yates made it sound like it was already completely adopted by the School Board.
    What gives?

  28. anonymous Says:

    This issue should have had more information available to the public in my opinion.
    The Board should discuss it openly in public–like everything but legally closeted matters.
    A 1st reading does not make a finished policy.
    Why did Mr. Yates tell parents it was?

  29. Dennis Says:

    I am pretty sure the change in credit requirement was approved. I think maybe at the site council meeting?

    I don’t agree with it, of course, and especially mid-year. But in this case I would be surprised if there was malfeasance involved.

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