It was only a few months ago, in November of 2013, when 62% of the voters in Corbett Oregon said No to a $15 million dollar school bond. [Official Election Results here.]
It’s Spring of 2014 in Corbett Oregon and we are faced with another Corbett School District GO (General Obligation) Bond.
The Corbett school board refuses to acknowledge the serious concerns in the Corbett Community about our school district’s leadership and the expansion of our school district’s population through out of the area students.
Until we have a school board that represents the public it was elected to serve, by addressing these root issues, we ask you to join us in voting no on any bond measure the district places on the ballot.
Who We Are and What We Have to Share
- Kathryn Green
- Lynette Kerslake
- Karina Lande
- Gary Purvine
So, what has changed and what has not?
- The amount of this new School Bond is less, but the size of the new building is the same! While this bond is now set to $9.415 million, down from 15 million, the size of the new building they want to build to replace the old high school/current middle school – is still 25,000 square feet, which is 10,000 square feet larger than that which is currently in use for classrooms. This increase in square footage also means the district can legally revisit the conditional use process and ask for even more students. As of last year, this process (undertaken by the Superintendent without board or public input) resulted in allowing CSD 1,000 more students/staff than actually live in Corbett via conditional use application. Read the findings from the County Application by CSD for Population Increase here.
- The Charter School is going, but the number of kids will stay the same! The only real change the district is trying to make is forcing out the Director and his staff. CSD is now in the midst of legal mediation with the Charter School, which will likely result in a lawsuit. In the meantime, the district continues to claim that they have no “intention to grow the district”. The facts are that we have more than doubled our population over the past 6 years. Keep in mind also that the school board voted (5-2) to create 476 open enrollment slots to take every single Charter student into the fold of our own district until they graduate. The reality is that the number of students will not decrease at all based on district projections.
- The School Board recently approved a new Stem High School, which will replace the Charter School if approved by the state. The “Enviro-STEM” (STEM – Science Technology Engineering Mathematics ) application was approved by our board 5-2. Select here to learn more about this new school within a school in Corbett. This is the same system we used with the Charter School to retain our small school funding in the amount of about a half a million dollars a year from the state. Even though we are being designated a 4A campus due to overall numbers, we can separate our numbers out with a second school, and retain the money from the state for being a “small school.” Select here for population numbers.
- The Superintendent received higher marks on his evaluation this year even after the details of his affair with a married staff member went public! The school board never formally met to discuss the situation, and instead the board chair made the decision on his own to call the situation a “personnel issue” and because of that there has never been a board statement about the situation. Our board also renewed the Superintendent’s “rolling three year contract” regardless of this affair. They will likely also vote to give him a raise as well. If you would like more information about this rolling contract, or would like to listen to the audio of the Superintendent discussing his low ethic scores from 2013 ( before his affair was public ) select here.
- I am learning, reading, researching, and reaching out! I am still here. I haven’t been ‘run off’ yet. I am still attending school board meetings. I still have no trust or faith in the district’s leadership. I am still voting NO on any request for more of my tax money as I believe it is only going to fund a dysfunctional system.
- There is a new bond amount but there is still no clear plan of action that has been shared with the public by the board as to the proposed additions, construction or spending that will go with this latest push for a bond.
The only way to fix this system is to address the issues. Until we have a school board that can address these issues fairly and transparently by representing their community’s needs vs. protecting the ‘desires’ of the Superintendent, then we will continue to vote no.
The Green-Pailthorp family has been in Corbett for 46 years.
My parents owned property on Larch Mountain since 1967 and I spent my entire life around Corbett and on Larch Mountain most weekends and every summer. I purchased my own property here in Corbett in 1994, remodeled the house and moved my family here in 2000. I have had two children attend CSD (past and present) and my family has been fortunate to have had an opportunity to meet and get to know many great friends and neighbors through our connection with our local school.
My husband and I have 3 children. Our oldest daughter graduated from CHS in 2010. There are some great teachers and ideas at Corbett but there are also many concerns. Two of our children now are attending the Gresham-Barlow school district. (And while they are truly enjoying this new experience and district, our family feels very much saddened that this was the only option available to us after trying to resolve issues with the school’s administration for years.)
Although the new bond measure to go on the ballot is lower than the one from last November, our family cannot support it at this time due to concerns with the current administration of the Corbett School District.
This administration continues to misrepresent the truth about how many out of district students they plan to bring in and have for many years. They also refuse to provide services to every child that lives here and they do not listen to concerns of parents of district students and community members.
They still have no definite plan in place for our money - but think that Corbett residents and voters should just give them an open checkbook and let them spend as they see fit. I want a definite plan before they spend my money. I want straight answers about what their plans are for out of area students.
At this point, this family is voting no on any bond measure until current administration changes. We have no trust in this school district leadership or that of the school board majority.The Kerslake family has been in Corbett since the early 1890′s. Hi! My name is Lynette Kerslake. My husband’s great grandfather helped build the Springdale School where my father in law, who is now 90, used to walk to school. My father in law attended Corbett High School, graduating in 1941.
The plans are still very vague, there’s no telling what may be torn down, moved, replaced or even if we will end up with a new school while also keeping the original.
It’s possible more property may be purchased as well, for whatever reason they feel is necessary. All of these decisions will be made after they have our money which means zero input or accountability to the residents of Corbett. Again, it’s like giving them a “blank check” with only a dollar amount limit but zero commitment to any solid plan.
The Charter School may be gone but that doesn’t mean our schools will be smaller.
The superintendent is starting a new charter/magnet school ( STEM ) within Corbett planned for fall 2014. We have simply traded one school for the other.
They will be adding 476 students next year and have shown a supposed budget need to continue adding students on an annual basis indefinitely. I know this from attending board meetings where these statements have been made.
Our board chair (Charlie O’Neil) was asked what will happen when we eventually run out of room and can’t keep adding students to balance our budget issues. His response was “well at that point we’ll have to learn to live within our means.” So why aren’t we doing that now? Quite simply because they don’t want to. Ironically though when it comes to passing a bond they put out statements that falsely claim they “don’t intend to grow the district”.
The heart of the issue, for me personally, has always been about the continual expansion of our schools. I do not want my local Corbett resident children to be the minority in their own school district as they are now. Small town America is sacred. If we don’t take a stand we will lose our small town school life for future generations of Corbett kids too. It will not be reversible later. I do understand that we now need some outside students to preserve some programming. It’s my opinion that anything beyond 300-400 students, over our own population, simply appears greedy and sacrifices our small school.
Facilities need to be addressed but there are wants and then there are needs
If it were purely about addressing a building’s needs, we would have maintained the middle school building instead of taking out almost 2 million in loans to save a building where no children even attended in Springdale, just a couple years ago, which, by the way, allowed us to grow the district again.
How is a 10,000 sq ft bigger building a “need”?
It isn’t. It is clearly a “want”. It is also another way to grow our district. If we place a ‘big beautiful fancy’ new building where the current middle school (old HS) is, we can show all those people driving in from Portland how impressive we are. We can attract more kids!
The true Corbett resident population has been 600-700 for the last 20 years. The only true growth we have seen in Corbett SD, has come from non resident students that have been brought in as our own students that live in Corbett have left.
The missing discussions about whether our town approved of this direction and this growth is what is causing so much strife now. They just skipped these steps legally. Our community never had a public hearing to find out what a Charter would look like or to ask questions before they did it. We didn’t have a hearing when they expanded the Charter. They didn’t ask the tax payers how they felt about adding 1.8 million in debt to the district to refurbish and “save Springdale”… now they want to tear down another building that has just as much historical significance – that we are not even sure we legally can tear down yet, and ask the tax payers to foot the bill for a huge new building to again add room to add even more non-resident students.
They are not “intending to grow the district” ? Then explain how that is all we have done for over 10 years. First we started replacing our own kids in Corbett with out of the area students. Then we announced the Charter School in crisis, then we had the Charter expansion in crisis only one year later (because of that missing $700,000), we lost all our campus libraries, because we turned those into classrooms, then we had to save the Springdale School…. and HB3681 allowed another 250 kids into the fold and then there was the conditional use application with the County, that now will allow over 1,000 more students/staff into CSD than that actually live here and now we have a STEM school ( to replace the Charter we are evicting but keeping all the kids ) and now the leadership says they have no plans to grow… and by the way, they want a bond to build a new 25,000 sf bldg (with 10,000sf more than we are using now).
When will enough be enough?
Don’t be fooled by the PR machine. Our National Ranking is based on how many AP tests we buy and how many tests we take. We can force them to hold to a plan for a new school that will fit our needs and will not allow for substantial growth. We can give our kids a great future and a nice building but not with this bond.
I urge you to not sell out our small town and our history in Corbett. Do not sell out the future generations of Corbett kids and their ability to attend their own small community school. Tell The district’s leadership we want to keep Corbett Schools not create a huge school in Corbett.
Demand that the district learns to live within their means vs. asking us to pay for continual growth. Be clear that we won’t pay more in taxes until our school board truly listen to the residents of this community.
2 kids in CSD
” Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” - John Wooden
I want to start my “who am I” statement with the above quote because of the last bond election. I read about myself, and others, online and in the newspapers. There were numerous accusations, insinuations and flat out misrepresentations by people who did not even know us. It would be good if everyone remembers we all have the right to our own opinions and to refrain from personal attacks.
I understand the desire to find the best fit for our children’s education, and I know that there is no program that works for all students who attend a school district. During the past few months I have met some very passionate, wonderful parents who are actively involved in finding the best educational fit for their children. I am sorry that the manner the Charter was brought into our district was so disruptive and divisive, and I am even sorrier to see the way it is being removed. I believe if the community had been brought in to the discussion and decision-making process (how many students, what kind of transportation, parent advisory groups), along with strong leadership and oversight by those who were entrusted to do so (scheduling, team building, open forums for issues to be discussed), the program could have been successful.
Now we are ripping out the Charter from our school, and the District has applied to replace it with a new school, one that is being called the Bio-STEM school. There will not be a reduction in student numbers from Corbett, there will not be a returning to just having Corbett students like some people are being led to believe. Issues that were there with the Charter numbers are still going to be here, they’ll just be “Corbett” numbers.
As voters we are being asked to build a new, 21st-Century High School for those who attend Corbett school district. We are not being told where this building will be, what will be in it, why we need to spend more than we did on the Grade School for half the square footage (costs haven’t doubled since that school was built, are we building our own Taj Mahal here in Corbett?), what exactly is money being spent on? (Notice, the bus barn is not specifically listed, but it is part of the bond) or approximately what funds are going to which building. This is all going to be decided after the bond is passed.
I do not believe the Corbett School Board or Administration have listened to the concerns of the community. Until that changes, I will be voting no.The Purvine family has been in Corbett for over 50 years. I graduated from Corbett High in 1965 and both of my sons attended the Corbett school district, one graduating from Corbett in 2010, and the other choosing to finish in Gresham/Barlow attending Mt. Hood Community College and getting dual credits through GBSD’s Metro East Early College Academy.