Outgoing superintendent sees funding shortfall as big issue facing district

North Clackamas School District Superintendent Tim Mills is leaving North Clackamas Schools for Bellevue School District in Washington, where he will be superintendent.

'Tim's talent and skill have been an asset to our schools during a difficult time, and his strong ability to build trust across the community has enabled us to find innovative solutions during the prolonged economic downturn,' said North Clackamas School Board Chair Vivian Scott in a press release.

Scott noted that a main reason for Mills' decision was the comparative lack of funding received by North Clackamas School District relative to Bellevue School District.

'Tim has said that he's not leaving North Clackamas Schools - he's leaving Oregon. It's clear that if Oregon had a more reliable funding system to support children and schools, he would never have considered the possibility,' said Scott. 'Until Oregon's leaders prioritize and support schools, our state's long-term economic and social well being remain at risk.'

Bellevue, a high-performing district in King County, Wash., which contains the city of Seattle, receives more state money for its comparable size to North Clackamas, the fifth largest school district in Oregon at 17,000 students.

A school board meeting was held after press time to discuss qualities and qualifications as well as a timeline in the upcoming search for a new superintendent to replace Mills.

Mills joined the district in 2009, making his three-year tenure markedly shorter than his predecessors, Ron Naso and Ben Schellenberg, who served for 14 years and 32 years respectively. Mills joined at a time of growth for the district, after voters had passed a construction bond of over $260 million for constructing four new schools and renovating many other facilities. But a weak economy meant cuts for school districts all around Oregon. The North Clackamas School District was forced last year to close Campbell and Clackamas elementary schools.

Mills has said previously that if he were to remain with North Clackamas, his highest priority would be to lobby for adequate funding from the state. Lack of funds will remain the central issue facing the district and the new superintendent going forward.

Mills and Scott could not be reached for further comment by press time.

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