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Sojourner School meets with approval


By a 4-2 vote, the North Clackamas School Board last week approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and unique magnet program at Sojourner School.

Sojourner had to locate at Linwood Elementary School in Milwaukie last year after budget shortfalls slashed funding for its own building and principal in Oak Grove.

School Board director Vivian Scott said the district was on “uncharted territory” in terms of policy, but it made sense to approve provisions that would allow for an approved program. District and Sojourner leaders have been working for months to find common ground for the popular program.

Two School Board members who voted against the agreement on Thursday noted that the document gave authority to the school like no other area of the district. Director Trisha Claxton said that it seemed the school maintained control of at least one staff member.

“An artist in residence could be in year after year without a teaching license,” Claxton said.

Director Kyle Walker said that the district could be open for exposure from other groups within schools raising money.

“I’m not comfortable making a decision on this without policy,” Walker said.

A representative from Sojourner, participating in the meeting by phone, said that it was difficult for her to hear the criticism of the program, but she appreciated the support from the majority of the elected officials.