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Union approves agreement with district to freeze wages, add furlough days

OSEA represents about 900 district employees, including office staff, custodians and bus drivers

Members of the Oregon School Employees Association, Chapter 71, ratified a one-year agreement June 7 with the North Clackamas School District which freezes wages and institutes seven unpaid furlough days for the 2011-12 school year. There will be no change in the district's health care contribution.

These provisions will be open to negotiation with the 2012 bargained contract, and reductions could be offset if the district receives $600,000 in general-fund dollars not targeted elsewhere.

Union members voted in person and ratification required 50 percent of the vote plus one, said Pamela Briece, president of OSEA, Chapter 71.

Briece praised NCSD Superintendent Tim Mills and his staff to school board members June 2, saying that reaching the tentative memorandum of understanding wouldn't have been possible without his guidance and leadership.

"Your foresight in choice of superintendent is also very appreciated," Briece told the board.

OSEA represents about 900 classified district employees, including office staff, custodians, maintenance people, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, food service workers, school nurses and health aides.

NCSD is still undecided on buildings

After receiving proposals from six prospective tenants, including two charter schools, the North Clackamas School District board decided June 2 to postpone a decision on leasing out Clackamas and Campbell elementary schools in order to gather more information.

No proposals were received by the May 23 deadline for the district's vacant nine-classroom wing at the Sojourner Elementary School building, where the New Urban High School is co-located.

Four proposals were submitted for Clackamas: Micha-el School, a non-profit alternative school; Father's Heart Ministry, an outreach community center for no-income and low-income youth; Academy of International Achievement, a K-6 charter school with expansion plans, and Cascade Heights Public Charter School, a K-8 school which district staff said did not specify a facility in its proposal so is being considered for both sites. (The board denied the Academy of International Achievement's charter in January and is now reviewing a resubmitted one.)

Along with Cascade Heights, the proposals for Campbell are: North Clackamas Parks and Recreation, which wants to operate youth and adult sports and recreation activities, and Hector Campbell Neighborhood Association and Milwaukie Community Gardens, which would lease part of the school grounds for community gardens.

Although the board still plans to discuss the proposals and a staff pro/con analysis at its June 23 meeting and make final decisions on July 7, it was clear Thursday night that concerns about the charter school proposals, lack of clarity about lease amounts and terms, worries about building security, and the possibility of public schools returning at some point were on members' minds.

"I'm the dinosaur who hopes that someday we'll be able to reopen those schools. Leasing these properties keeps that slim hope open," said Sam Gillispie, adding, "I see charter schools in competition with us, particularly in these times."

Rein Vaga said he agreed with Gillispie on the charter school issue and raised concern that a "mostly vacant building will just attract problems." He suggested a school resource officer routinely check on the buildings once they're empty after the end of this school year.

Gillispie then asked for cost estimates on surveillance cameras and other security devices to document possible vandalism at the schools.

Kyle Walker brought up lease proceeds and possibly selling a school building. "What's critically important to me is whatever we do with these facilities supports the strategic plan and provides revenue ... or is at least cost-neutral," she said.

After Ron Stewart, assistant superintendent for operations, noted that the district facilities plan being done at Portland State University should be available by June 23, Walker said she would need time to absorb its contents before making any decisions on building leases.

"I think that is a prudent business move," she said. "It says we will analyze selling the properties. I understand supporting our neighborhoods and communities, but if we can support our teachers and get some of those people back, I would support getting some revenue in from selling one of those properties."

"With all these questions, I can't see going to action on the 23rd," Vaga said.

In other action, the board was introduced to Taylour Kynistan, an incoming senior at New Urban, as a non-voting member of the board, and heard from two Rex Putnam High School students unhappy about the mandatory study hall requirement and a business representative opposed to the draft policy to allow wage checks at construction sites.

They also got a PowerPoint presentation from a consultant about assessing organizational health, approved a three-year $300,000 contract with the North Clackamas Education Foundation for grants and fundraising, discussed the district's expulsion policy and new graduation requirements, and approved a $195,412 bid from GSE Inc. to remove a vacant house and some large trees in order to add 15 spaces to the Rowe Middle School parking lot.

Members will hold a special board governance work session at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8, with the next regular board meeting scheduled for August 19. For more information, see www.nclack.k12.or.us.