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Reconfiguration recommendation anticipated for January

Inman: Goal to have 10-15 year plan

A recommendation for a long-term plan for the configuration of Estacada’s schools is expected to go before a cabinet of district leaders on Jan. 15.

The plan, crafted by the Configuration Task Force made up of high school students, community members, parents, teachers and administrators, met for the second time on Monday, Dec. 8.

The meeting opened with a discussion of the district’s population distribution and cost projections.

Later, task force members weighed four potential grade-span configurations against student achievement, student social and emotional adjustment, distribution of resources and the number of students enrolled at each grade level.

The group discussed issues like maintaining manageable class sizes, even distribution of resources amongst the schools, transportation to school with different configurations, the potential for preschool, the impact of building changes on students and easing the burden on staff should all schools in use be in a centrally located cluster. (Clackamas River Elementary, River Mill Elementary and the junior high and high school are all within a few blocks of each other.)

After the task force’s first meeting in October, Susan Inman, the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment for the Estacada School District, said the group had established a need for the reconfiguration of the district.

The grade span configurations under consideration are a K-5, 6-8, 9-12 model; a K-8, 9-12 model; a K-6, 7-12 model and the K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 model.

Inman said the group’s second meeting was designed to be a deep exploration of configuration options.

“We’re really getting down to what really matters,” she said.

The effort, she said, is to make a configuration recommendation that will be sustainable for 10-15 years.

The group also has been discussing which buildings should be used for K-12 education.

The district has three elementary school buildings, but only Clackamas River Elementary and Eagle Creek Elementary are functioning as elementary schools.

Space in the River Mill Elementary building is being rented to community groups and the Estacada Web Academy.

Inman said the task force expects to continue to use only two of the elementary school buildings as schools moving forward, but the buildings in question could change.

“Whatever facility we’re not using for a K-12 school will be repurposed, not shuttered,” she said. “We’re anticipating we’ll have such a facility.”

The repurposed building could house a preschool or charter school activities or serve other needs.

The group touched on the ramifications of using River Mill Elementary as a school and repurposing Eagle Creek Elementary.

District leaders explained that River Mill’s kitchen will require some work to bring it up to standard.

However, the building has an up-to-date science room while Eagle Creek Elementary does not.

Inman did not say whether any of the grade-span or building configuration options have emerged as favorites or whether any have been ruled out yet.

The group will meet again Tuesday, Jan. 6, to discuss implementation options and, if necessary, on Thursday, Jan. 15.

Inman said the group will make a final recommendation to the district cabinet on Jan. 15.

This article was updated on Jan. 9, 2015 to reflect that the Configuration Task Force will make its recommendation to a cabinet of district leaders. A previous version of this article incorrectly stated to whom the task force would make its recommendation. Superintendent Marla Stephenson said she expects to make a configuration recommendation and a plan to implement it to the school board in March. The Estacada News Regrets the error.

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