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NCSD seeking alternative school-closure process

The North Clackamas School Board will consider a "more streamlined" process later this month to make its decision about which Putnam High School feeder school to close for the 2014-15 school year.

Following a proposal from Vice Chair Kyle Walker, the board last week voted 6-0 to table a staff recommendation in August that would have created a superintendent's advisory group where parents from each school under consideration would provide input on the decision. Some from the community objected to the idea of this working group having meetings without the public present. This study group meeting approach was recommended to allow the parents to deliberate safely without the pressure of a public audience.

Board members asked staff to return on Sept. 26 with a process where the board will weigh and move through to a final decision. They emphasized the need for extensive public outreach and a forum for community input. Board members confirmed that they would like to have a large informational meeting held in front of the board and the community.

In outlining the request for an alternative approach, Walker said the district, board, Budget Committee and other committees have deliberated extensively this last school year and previously over school closures and other budget reductions. She noted that the district has recently reviewed its facilities plans and a seismic safety report. She said the district didn't need to hire a facilitator or have a community committee deliberate again.

A streamlined process, she said, will allow the district more time to consider the resulting need for boundary changes. It will give schools, students and families more time to adjust to any changes.

There are five elementary schools in the Putnam area: Bilquist, Concord, Oak Grove, Riverside and View Acres.




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