Opinion split on reconfiguration

In the community’s evaluation of the Estacada School District, the city’s school system is just about average.

The Estacada School District recently shared the results of its “Imagine: The Estacada School District” survey results with the Estacada News.

The survey, which was closed on Jan. 20, drew hundreds of responses from residents without children in the district, people who live outside district limits but have children attending Estacada schools, students, residents with children attending Estacada schools, business owners, Estacada School District employees and others.

When asked to assign the Estacada School District with a grade, 42.2 percent of the people who responded gave the district a “C.” More people assigned the district a “C” than any other grade

When asked about whether they would support a primary/intermediate school model, public opinion was nearly evenly split:

40.7 percent approved, 41.8 percent did not and 17.5 percent had no opinion.

The Estacada School District principals publicly came out in support of an education model that would involve the gradual transformation of the district into such a model.

Under their recommended model, by the 2017-18 school year, Clackamas River would teach all district kindergarteners through second-graders, and River Mill would house all district third- through fifth-graders, while the junior high would house the district’s sixth- through eighth-graders.

This recommendation involves the repurposing of the Eagle Creek Elementary building.

When asked in the “Imagine: The Estacada School District” survey whether they would support the repurposing or closing of Eagle Creek Elementary, 44.6 percent of the respondents said no, while 41.8 percent said yes. 13.6 percent had no opinion.

Parents who live within the district limits were nearly evenly split over this question: 43.2 percent would not support Eagle Creek’s closure while 40.3 percent would, and 16.4 percent did not offer an opinion.

District employees were overwhelmingly in favor of the building’s closure or repurposing, with 61.2 percent in support, 21.2 opposed and 12.5 with no opinion.

The one thing most seemed to agree on was the support of an education bond measure.

Each group that responded to this question came out largely in favor: 67.8 percent of the total respondents said they would support a bond, while 32.2 percent said they would not.

When asked in February what district leaders would do with this data, Ryan Carpenter, vice principal of Estacada High School responded by saying, “Now that we have collected this information we have begun long term planning discussions. To date, this discussion has included building principals, school board members and site council participants (PTA parents). We will utilize this feedback and combine it with our population forecasts conducted recently by Portland State University. All of these efforts will be used to help our team make the best long-term decision for our students as our school district demographics continue to change.”

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