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School Briefs for March 12

Body and Soul Creative Dance wins awards

Body and Soul Creative Dance in East Portland won the following awards in the Spotlight Cup Dance Competition, held in Oregon City, Feb. 15-17.

• Novice Division Solo: Veronica Hood, 4, won a Diamond award for her Lyrical Solo and was overall winner in her age division.

• Junior Solo Division: Michaela Wayrynen, 11, won a Diamond award and placed fifth for her lyrical performance.

• Gabi Weinert, 10, won Diamond awards for her three solo dances in jazz, lyrical and musical theater, and placed sixth for her lyrical performance.

• Breanna Lamb, 9, won an Emerald award for her musical theater performance.

• Senior Solo Division: LaChelle Davenport, 15, won a Diamond award and placed 10th for her tap performance.

• Shayley Morris, 16, won a Diamond award for her lyrical performance and was overall winner for the senior division.

• Small group performances in all divisions won all Diamond awards and placed in the top 10 for all their dance numbers. They were also awarded the judge's choice awards for two dances, technical award for their tap and lyrical numbers, stealing the Spotlight award, and category winners for their lyrical and tap performances.

The studio was awarded the sportsmanship award by the Spotlight staff.

Gresham High to host talent night March 13

Gresham High School's Theatre Arts Department is hosting a Showcase of Talent Night at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 13.

Tickets cost $5 at the door, 1200 N. Main Ave. Students will also be auctioning off gift baskets between acts. Proceeds will fund students going to the state drama competition in Medford on Saturday, April 5.

Gresham has an unprecedented 15 scenes that qualified for the state drama competition this year. The showcase allows students to share their acts, including a scene from 'Sweeney Todd.'

Students going to the state competition are seniors: Justin Burt, Jason Chess, Hannah Dalzell, Christine Greenhalgh, Anna Grewe, Bryan Mikalson, Jack Morrison, Christie Smith, Ben Vredevelt and Leslie Young; juniors: Chris Forrer, Lauren Luiz, Kaylee Nelson, Andrew Serino, Leif Tjaden and Kris Woods; sophomore Daniel Dempsey; and freshmen Kassandra Haddock and Bryana Stockwell.

School board moves closer excise tax

The Gresham-Barlow School Board reviewed a long-range facilities plan proposal at its March meeting. Formally adopting the plan is one of the requirements school districts must fulfill before implementing a construction excise tax, under Senate Bill 1036.

The long-range plan contains a school-by-school listing of capital projects, the impact of the district's 21st Century Learning Plan on its high school facilities, building standards for new schools, and enrollment forecasts. The board is expected to adopt the plan at its Thursday, April 10, meeting.

In addition to adopting the plan, the board must also enter into intergovernmental agreements with the cities and counties responsible for collecting the excise tax. The district expects to have most of the required intergovernmental agreements approved within the next 45 days.

Last year state lawmakers passed a law allowing school districts the ability to pay for a portion of new or expanded school facilities through an excise tax on development.

If approved, the construction excise tax would be $1 per square foot on residential construction and 50 cents per square foot on non-residential construction. It includes a cap on non-residential construction, not to exceed $25,000 per building permit or $25,000 per structure, whichever is less.

The district estimates the excise tax could bring in approximately $700,000 per year, although the tax would not cover the full cost to build a new school. For example, the cost to construct a new elementary school is between $22 and $25 million.

The revenue would assist the district in purchasing and preparing sites for future schools, help pay for planning costs associated with new schools, or assist in covering some of the costs of renovations or improvements to existing schools.

The district is currently dealing with overcrowding due to growth. Enrollment is expected to increase by 2,000 students over the next eight years and many schools are at capacity.

The district also says it needs to renovate several of its existing schools. Almost half of the schools in the district are more than 40 years old. Schools are in need of new roofs, heating, ventilation, plumbing and electrical upgrades, as well as infrastructure for technology for student learning.

School board starts hiring process

The Gresham-Barlow School Board has approved a process for appointing an interim superintendent for 2008-09.

The board says appointing an interim superintendent will allow it time to conduct a 'thorough search' for a permanent replacement for Superintendent Ken Noah, who is leaving the district to head a California district at the end of June.

The board convenes an executive session Wednesday, March 13, to review applications.

On Wednesday, March 20 and/or April 3, the board will convene a special session to take action and appoint an interim superintendent or open the vacancy to external candidates.

Submissions, corrections sought for fact book

The new 2008 edition of The Gresham Outlook's Fact Book, a special publication covering everything in Gresham from businesses, schools and local organizations to city government and city history, is scheduled for release Wednesday, April 23.

If you have come to Gresham within the last year and would like your business, church or neighborhood group mentioned, or if you would like to make a change or correction to an entry from the 2007 edition, e-mail the information by Tuesday, April 15, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , fax it to 503-665-2187, or mail it to The Gresham Outlook, P.O. Box 747, Gresham, 97030.

Chuck E. Cheese holds scholarship contest

Visit www.chuckecheese.com to enter for the chance to win Coca-Cola's $25,000 College Bound Scholarship.

Chuck E. Cheese's worked with its business partner, The Coca-Cola Company, to develop this contest.

Registrants first join the Chuck E-Club™ and then enter to win the contest, which runs through April 30.