North Clackamas Schools

Follow Your Path

December 12, 2013 - School Closure Vote

The School Board voted to close Concord Elementary School at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.  Concord Elementary is a school that has served the community faithfully for many years and we are immensely proud of Concord School's many accomplishments and achievements. 


Over the next few months the Concord staff and community will find ways to celebrate Concord’s rich history, and students and staff will prepare for moving to new schools for the 2014-2015 school year. 

 

A Boundary Realignment Committee will meet to determine the new elementary school attendance boundaries in the Putnam area.  This committee is comprised of parents from local elementary schools, community members and district staff.  Information about the committee’s timelines and processes can be found online here:  www.nclack.k12.or.us/boundaries

 

November 7, 2013 - Recommendation Letter from Superintendent  

Dear North Clackamas Community Member: 
 
The Board of Directors received a report at its October 24 meeting on the five elementary schools being considered for closure.  Data was shared on each property’s profile, the school’s profile, capacity and enrollment, maintenance and condition of the building, safety and security, marketability of the property, school results, and impact to families.  The Board also received comments from parents, staff, and community members.
 
At the next Board meeting on November 14, I will be presenting my recommendation on school closure. After a thorough review of the relevant information, Concord Elementary will be recommended for closure. The most significant factor in this decision is student and staff safety, which is our top priority.
 
In order to provide opportunity for community involvement, the district will provide the following process:
  • Board Meeting, November 14, 7:00 PM
Sabin-Schellenberg South Campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
The recommendation to close Concord Elementary will be presented and deliberated in an open public Board meeting. Citizens may make comments.
  • Board Hearing, December 4, 6:00 PM
Sabin-Schellenberg South Campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
This is a public session for the Board to hear comments from the community on the recommended closure.
  • Board Meeting, December 12, 7:00 PM
Sabin-Schellenberg South Campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
The Board will make a decision on which school will be closed. Citizens may make comments.
 

In addition to providing public comments at these three Board meetings, the public can also submit questions and written comments via email to hendersons@nclack.k12.or.us.  Questions and answers are posted here.
 
If the Board approves the closure recommendation, district staff will create a boundary committee that will provide input in the creation of new elementary school boundaries for the Putnam feeder system. Those redrawn attendance boundaries would be presented to the Board for discussion in February 2014, and possible action in March.
 
Moving a school community is painful, emotional, and difficult for all parties involved. As challenging as it is, I want to remind everyone that while many of us are members of a single school community, we are also members of a large and comprehensive school district. I know we will pull together as a community and help those affected by this change through this difficult time.
 
Respectfully,
 
 
Matt Utterback
Superintendent

 
Comments made by Superintendent at October 24 School Board Meeting.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the North Clackamas School District’s Superintendent’s Budget Review Committee identified cost savings opportunities that included consolidating schools.

This committee and the district’s Budget Committee received significant input that supported consolidating schools along with other considerations. Fourteen community forums were held during which the district received feedback from more than 1,000 community members and district staff.  The results of these surveys showed that our community favored five options for closing our budget gap, one of which was consolidating schools.

Many of you may be asking why we are discussing the closure of an elementary school as stories of improved school funding are heard throughout our district and state.  Yes, state school funding is improving throughout the state and in our school district. Unfortunately, it is not improving at a rate fast enough to address all our current financial needs.

The North Clackamas School District has a very long climb from our financial abyss. As we begin this climb, we must do so while addressing at least four financial areas simultaneously:

1.             We must work to increase our fund balance as we strive towards a five percent minimum level:

While we have made considerable improvement to our unreserved fund balance this year from dangerously low levels last year, we are not yet at the five percent minimum level. A five percent fund balance would be sufficient to:

·       Protect the district from unnecessary borrowing in order to meet cash-flow needs;

·       Provide prudent reserves to meet unexpected emergencies and protect against catastrophic events;

·       Meet the uncertainties of state and federal funding;

·       Maintain our current credit rating; and

·       Help ensure the district operates as an ongoing entity and provide support for future financial stability.

2.             We must work towards a full school year for our students and staff:

We are making strides in this area as well by adding back two furlough days this fall.  Unfortunately, we are not operating at a full school year this year and for the fourth year in a row.  Additional days provide meaningful instructional hours for each of our students under the careful guidance of our high quality teachers. Restoring the school district to a full school year for students and staff would add an additional $2.3 million to next year’s budget. 

3.             We must reduce class sizes across the district by restoring teaching positions:

Improving class sizes by restoring teachers poses the largest financial deficit to our school district.   Since the 2009-10 school year, we have reduced our certified and administrative staffing by 25 percent.  This is equivalent to more than 230 positions and is equal to more than $22 million in salaries.  We saw in the class size presentation at tonight’s Board meeting how unacceptably high our class sizes have become. We know the benefits of smaller class sizes means more individual interaction between students and the teacher, more personalized feedback for students, and increased opportunities for student participation.

Restoring these staff positions, combined with restoring a full school year, makes our total financial deficit over $24 million. 

4.        And finally, we must plan for compensation and benefits for all employee groups:

Over the past three years, our staff has seen one salary adjustment. During this same time period, the district experienced a 25 percent reduction in staff, meaning the staff that remained saw a huge increase in workload.  To make matters worse, all staff have seen a reduction in salary as the result of furlough days, which reduced their compensation by three to seven percent in each of the past four years.

Like the folks in the private sector, our hard working and dedicated staff are deserving of fair and competitive compensation.  In addition, it is important we position our district to be able to attract the most highly qualified staff as possible.  One of the ways you do this is with a competitive salary and benefits package.

It is for these four reasons we are facing the incredibly tough decision of having to close a neighborhood school.  While yes, our financial picture is improving, the reality is we still face a financial deficit of more than $24 million.  Given this reality, we must continue to look for savings and efficiencies in our system that will continue our road to financial stability and provide an effective education experience for each of our students. 

We do not have the luxury in this financial crisis to maintain small schools. Always, but especially now, our community expects and demands that we be the most efficient we can be with the resources we have.  Our greatest resource is our people and we must ensure that we are using our people in the most effective and efficient way possible.

This message was an excerpt from Superintendent Matt Utterback’s comments given to the Board on October 24. The entire text is available in the Documents section of this web site.


September 27, 2013
School Consolidation Update

At its September 26 meeting, the Board agreed to a process where it will consider the factors and options, receive public input and feedback, and deliberate toward a decision in open public sessions.The board minutes, data, and most frequently asked questions and answers will be posted here on this website. The following public Board meetings have been scheduled:

Board Meeting, October 24, 6:30 PM, Putnam High School, 4950 SE Roethe Road, Milwaukie
At 7:00 PM the Board will review factors and options for school consolidation in an open public meeting.

Board Meeting, November 14, 7:00 PM, Sabin-Schellenberg South campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
A staff recommendation on which school to close will be presented and deliberated in an open public Board meeting. Citizens may make comments.

Board Hearing, December 4, 6:00 PM, Sabin-Schellenberg South campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
A public session for the Board to hear comments from the community.

Board Meeting, December 12, 7:00 PM, Sabin-Schellenberg South campus, 14450 SE Johnson Road, Milwaukie
The Board will make a decision on which school will be closed. Citizens may make comments.

A boundary committee will meet in public meetings and develop a recommendation to the superintendent for boundary realignments. The superintendent is scheduled to present his recommendation for boundary changes to the Board on February 13, 2014, followed by meetings allowing for citizen input, before a Board decision scheduled to occur on March 13, 2014.

 

 If you need interpretation services or have questions, please contact Sandra Henderson, at hendersons@nclack.k12.or.us or 503-353-6004.
 
September 12, 2013 
School Board asks for alternative process to school consolidation
 
The North Clackamas School Board will consider a “more streamlined” process later this month to make its decision about which Putnam High School feeder school to close for the 2014-15 school year.

Following a proposal from Vice Chair Kyle Walker, the Board voted 6-0 to table a recommendation brought to the Board in August that would have created a Superintendent's advisory group with parents from each school under consideration would provide input on the decision. Some from the community objected to the idea of this working group having meetings without the public present. This study group approach was recommended to allow the parents to deliberate safely without the pressure of a public audience.

Board members asked staff to return on September 26 with a process where the Board will weigh and move through to a final decision. They emphasized the need for extensive public outreach and a forum for community input. Board members confirmed that they would like to have a large informational meeting held in front of the Board and the community.

In outlining the request for an alternative approach, Walker said the district, Board, Budget Committee and other committees have deliberated extensively this last school year and previously over school closures and other budget reductions. She noted that the district has recently reviewed its facilities plans and a seismic safety report. She said the district didn’t need to hire a facilitator or have a community committee deliberate again.

A streamlined process, she said, will allow the district more time to consider the resulting need for boundary changes. It will give schools, students and families more time to adjust to any changes.

There are five elementary schools in the Putnam area: Bilquist, Concord, Oak Grove, Riverside and View Acres.
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