What IS Systemic Change?

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"A Former Board member's view from the OTHER side of the table."
Molalla River "BoardWatch" Website

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Since the Board of Education will no longer be providing video-taping for cablecast (effective July, 2002), suspended delivery of the "Molalla River Reporter" and stopped communication with the "Educational Ambassadors" (September, 2002) I have tried to provide information regarding education concerns for interested persons:

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Community Input

I'd like to know what you think about our District's Budget process and problems. Please submit your comments here so I can share your thoughts with budget decision-makers.
NOTE: "Interim Response*" - Indicates a response based on information available at the time, subject to confirmation and/or additional information after directing the question to other resources.

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Date:
January 22, 2002
Time:
03:41 AM

Comments

I'd like to see the District reduce the number of class preparation days in the calendar by two days. I think this could be accomplished by changing the "Bell times".

Date:
January 27, 2002
Time:
05:51 PM

Comments

I'd like to see the district utilize it's website. I feel that if properly promoted an affiliate or associate program with Amazon or Barnes and Noble could be helpful, teachers could post recommended reading for their classes with the items in the lists linking to Amazon (or whoever). There could also be recommended resources for parents that could be purchased. In the Amazon program if an item listed/featured on the website is purchased the district would receive a 15% commision. If the visitor to the website clicks through to Amazon but buys something not listed on the district's website the district would still receive a 5% payment. One other advantage is that once the site is set up very little maintenance is required. As on-line shopping becomes more and more popular a little promotional encouragement to purchase books through the district's site may go a long way especially if the shopper knows they will also be helping their schools. Thank you for the opportunity to submit my thoughts. Mike McGarry

Date:          November 08, 2002
Time:          08:53 PM

Comments:

Donít you have a line item in your budget each year for conferenceís and other meetings that are extended to School Boards for being more informed on rules and regulations?  If not, why not?

Response:

Yes, the District does have provision in the annual MRSD Budget for Board Training and Development, as well as policies (Policy BHB-Board Member Training and Development and BHD) which provide for and encourage Board Members to continue to acquire education and information on rules and regulations as well as other material.  The minutes from the September 12, 2002 meeting state that "Chair Palmer had made the suggestion that if board members are going to attend these meetings, they should pay for themselves. This has become a controversial subject."  Policy BHB states "When funds are limited, the Board will designate which members would be most appropriate to participate at a given meeting".  The Board has decided not to pay for any of the Board Members to attend meetings and conferences since September 12, 2002, but to allow any member who wishes to attend at their own expense to do so.  

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Comments

Thanks for your answer however, where is the money from that line item going to be spent? I don't feel that it's fair that only certain board members will be picked for certain meetings. This is not educating your board as a whole. I am not sure that policy has been followed as written.

Response:
The Board will have to make that decision (where the money from that line item will be spent) in an open meeting.   Board members serve without compensation.  Occasionally some, or all of us, are called upon to make financial, time, and other sacrifices.  This is something we are aware of when we offer our services to the students and community, and take an oath to uphold state and federal laws and the duly enacted policies of our District.

The following is a quote from the OSBA's web announcement of the 2002 OSBA Convention:  "OSBA's Annual Convention is the only event in Oregon geared to YOU, Oregon's education leaders. Whether you lead a district of 20 students or 20,000, an agency that serves your region or a community college, you'll leave that weekend with strategies to cope, succeed and inspire others in accomplishing the most important job we all face together . . . educating our children."  This is part of the reason I consider this event WORTH the $153.50 it will cost me.

 We have ONE employee:  the Superintendent.  The Superintendent is accountable to the Board and the Board is accountable to the community.  I did not intend this as a lesson in civics, but a reminder that YOU are the Board's employer, and YOU have the right to monitor and question the decisions and actions of the Board.  I would encourage you and anyone or everyone else who shares your perspective to express that to the Board of Education...we are accountable to YOU! 

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Comments

What are the Oregon Public Education rules (or ORS rules) on meeting notices? Is there a time limit for notification of Ex. Session? Don't these notices have to be printed in the local paper?

Response:
ORS 192.640 Public notice required; special notice for executive sessions, special or emergency meetings. (1) The governing body of a public body shall provide for and give public notice, reasonably calculated to give actual notice to interested persons including news media which have requested notice, of the time and place for holding regular meetings. The notice shall also include a list of the principal subjects anticipated to be considered at the meeting, but this requirement shall not limit the ability of a governing body to consider additional subjects.

The only time that the preceding Oregon Revised Statute may not apply is in the case of an Emergency Meeting.  Even in such extenuating circumstances it is expected that reasonable effort will be made to provide notice of public meetings (any time a quorum of the Board meets to discuss Board business for purposes of reaching a decision). The Editors of the Molalla Pioneer are scrupulously vigilant in publishing notices of all Board meetings.

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Comments

Looking under Molalla Demographics, I see where MRSD is considered with the City, Fire, Comm. College and a few others as a "Special District". Re-reading your commentary on the "special" meeting I am not sure that spacific rules were followed. I don't think you can just call the board by phone. It has to be published X amount of days before. There are rules that MUST be followed. Are you sure they have been followed and if they hav'nt, what other meeting rules have been thrown to the wind (so to speak)? Thank you for taking your time and money to attend a conference. Are there any other board members doing the same?

Response:
I am not an attorney and therefore not qualified to make determinations concerning compliance with laws governing meeting requirements.  When I have some question regarding compliance with Oregon Rules, Laws, or policies I bring my concerns to the attention of the Board and then the Board has the opportunity to evaluate the concern and make a decision thereon.  In regard to whether or not "other meeting rules have been thrown to the wind", I can only refer you to Oregon Revised Statutes 192.610(1) which states: "Decision" means any determination, action, vote or final disposition upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order, ordinance or measure on which a vote of a governing body is required, at any meeting at which a quorum is present." and ORS 192.620 Policy. The Oregon form of government requires an informed public aware of the deliberations and decisions of governing bodies and the information upon which such decisions were made. It is the intent of ORS 192.610 to 192.690 that decisions of governing bodies be arrived at openly.  The consensus of the Board is that we have complied with these requirements.

I appreciate your gratitude for my time and expense to attend the 2002 OSBA Convention, but my motives were primarily to achieve a level of knowledge and secure information to assure my ability to most effectively make decisions concerning the well-being of the students in our school district.  The decision of the Board was that all members may attend at their own expense.  My understanding is that the District will pay for the costs of each Board Member's attendance and then the individual Board Member will reimburse the District for those expenses.  The amount of expense incurred will vary according to how many dining opportunities are attended.