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Gresham-Barlow School District races

One school board position is contested

The Outlook asked candidates for East County school boards to complete a questionnaire with biographical information and details about their candidacy. These are the responses for Gresham-Barlow School District candidates in a contested race:

Position 6, at-large

Dale Clark vs. Alan Baird


Dale Clark

Age: 53

Occupation: Supervisor at PGE

City of residence and years in city: Gresham now, East County (Troutdale, Damascus and Gresham) total of 25+ years

Hobbies/ interests/ community involvement: Exercise, Golf and anything outdoors. The School Board is the bulk of my community involvement. I have done other volunteer work at individual schools for individual events. I was on the Eastside United board for a couple of years.


Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

In my time on the board we have had to deal with numerous budget issues. I think we have handled those as well as we could, but certainly laying off over 20% of your staff and cutting programs leaves an empty feeling. Although the last negotiation with the teacher’s Union was not as smooth as we had hoped, I am proud the district stuck to our core principles and didn’t get caught up and make bad decisions.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

I don’t know much about my opponent, so this is difficult to answer.

What is your political and budget expertise?

I have been on the Board since 2006. I was on numerous district advisory groups before that.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

1. Our motto “every student prepared for success”. It guides the decisions our district makes. The board understands this is what schools do. 2. Funding. Our district is going a great job with what we have, but that is only due to our superb staff and teacher’s ability to do more with less. We continue to lobby for better funding and make cuts as strategically as possible. 3. Our Capital Bond on the November ballot is critical for the infrastructure of this district. Our entire board will be working to advocate for the passing of this funding.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

None that we are not already addressing.


Alan Baird

Age: 44

Occupation: Social Studies & Language Arts teacher – Parkrose High School

City of Residence: Gresham, 15 years

Website: https://www.facebook.com AlanBairdForGreshamBarlowSchoolBoard

Why are you running, and if you are the incumbent, what do you think you have achieved during your time on the school board?

I am running because I believe I can make a powerful difference in the quality of education that our children receive. I can work to heal the rift that has grown between our district administration, our teachers and our parents. I can provide a wealth of knowledge from seventeen years as a professional educator as well as the deep well of concern from a parent and an active community volunteer working with our children.

What do you offer that your opponent(s) doesn’t (don’t)?

I have devoted my entire professional life to providing and exemplary education to the youth of our area. I have volunteered thousands of hours mentoring and serving the youth of east Multnomah County. I will be the moderate voice that represents our children first, but also our district and our parents and our staff. I have a foot in the camp of all of our district stakeholders and will be the effective bridge to move our district forward – together.

What is your political and budget expertise?

My early professional career was as the pastor of an east county church for five years where I worked with a board much like the one I am now running for. Strategic planning and the development of a budget for a non-profit entity are old hat for me. I have also held leadership roles within the Parkrose School District where I am employed: from Chair of the high school’s Site Council to currently sitting on the District’s committee to rewrite certified and administrative evaluation processes in line with Oregon’s new Senate Bill 290.

What are the three biggest issues facing your district and how do you intend to address them?

The single biggest issue facing the Gresham-Barlow school district is the continuing budget shortfall. The current proposed K-12 budget from the State of Oregon does not include enough to fund our district at its current levels, already reduced significantly over the last five years. We are not in control of our funding levels; we are responsible to provide a world class education to every student in our care with the funding the State gives us.

We must bolster our District’s unity. Our District has some stress fractures resulting from the contract dispute and resulting certified staff strike, short as it was, that occurred last year. Our students are our treasured charge. District administration and classroom teachers are not adversaries. They are teammates. We need a district leadership that will take on the responsibility to not only mend the rift, but to actively and respectfully partner with teachers, parents, specialists and support staff to work together for our kids.

Our District is moving to raise capital funding through passing a bond measure. If the State legislature will not fund our schools adequately, it falls to us to do what we can as a community. As budgets are cut, capital improvements and long term maintenance have been cut as well. We need to invest in out infrastructure now.

Are there any particular initiatives you would like to see the district undertake?

I will work to see that the district reinvigorates our support systems for our students who are most at risk. Too often our children are under-served who come to us out of poverty, with special needs, out of homelessness, or from a home life that is particularly heart wrenching. They fall through the cracks. I will seek to be an advocate for these children and work to evaluate, advocate and, where necessary, introduce programs to support them.

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