Board OKs consultant to search for new superintendent

The Lebanon School Board voted July 17 to move forward under a recommendation by an ad hoc committee to hire a search consultant to facilitate hiring a new superintendent.
Board Chairman Tom Oliver said the district will begin soliciting bids for a consultant to start the process outlined in the recommendation.
“This is a great place for us to start from,” Oliver said of the committee’s recommendation.
The goal is to have a superintendent in place for the 2019-20 school year, he said.
The board considered the recommendation during its regular meeting on July 17. The board formed the committee during its regular meeting on June 14 after entering a resignation agreement with Rob Hess earlier that week.
Members of the committee were Ryan Christner, Laura Warran, Shelly Garrett, Maureen Twomey, board member Tammy Schilling, Brandon Weist, Kellie Weber, Curtis Jones, board member Mike Martin, Jason Pottorf, Tami Volz and Kim Grousbeck.
The committee recommended branding Lebanon, “the City that Friendliness Built,” to attract applicants, noting the district’s grounding in tradition and its potential, Lebanon’s blend of town and country lifestyle, its central location, its economic potential and that people are valued.
The recommendation lists non-negotiable qualifications for a superintendent, which Martin called “the determining factor.” They are:
n A person who holds employees, students, parents and the community in equal value.
n A person of integrity.
n A person with high moral standards, who models follow-through and is honest and equitable.
n A person who is an effective communicator, informed, a good listener, insightful, self-aware, timely and transparent. The person must have networking skills and visibility, be collaborative and team-minded and skilled with written and spoken language.
In the first month, the board and consultant will hold an initial search planning meeting, using the superintendent evaluation and 360 guidelines. They will establish a tentative timeline for the search and seek input from the community, students and staff through additional meetings and other methods, and distribute information about the position.
In the second month, the board and consultant will accept applications and begin initial screening.
In the third month, the application period will close, with initial screening completed by the consultant and reported to the board. Semi-finalists will be selected for interviews followed by selection of a finalist.
In the fourth month, finalists will be interviewed, with activities in Lebanon. The district will identify and contact references beyond those that are provided by applicants. District officials will conduct visits to finalists’ districts. The board will deliberate on the finalists, decide to offer the position and announce the selection, followed by contract negotiations and ratification of employment.
The board also voted to pay $10,000 annual stipends to Interim Supt. Bo Yates and Jennifer Meckly, human resources and community relations director, reflecting the additional duties they have in the absence of a superintendent.
Meckley will receive an approximate total of $128,000, and Yates will receive approximately $135,000 in compensation this school year.
Yates told the board that he has delegated supervisory responsibility for the district’s kindergarten through fifth-, sixth-, and eighth-grade schools to Meckley, while Yates is responsible for Seven Oak Middle School and Lebanon High School.
“She’s kind of taking on an assistant superintendent role,” Yates said. “It’s been awesome working with her so far. There’s a lot of people picking up extra work to help out.”
Yates said he has leaned on Meckley and Executive Assistant Kwiatkowski the most.
Present at the meeting were Oliver, Martin, Richard Borden, Tammy Schilling and Nick Brooks.
In other business, the board:
n Ratified a contract extension with Lebanon Education Association, representing the certified teaching staff. The LEA ratified the contract on July 16.
LEA President Maureen Twomey asked the board to reopen the current contract.
The LEA and the board negotiated a restructured salary schedule that equalized the increase between steps to $1,400, Twomey said. A 1.5-percent cost-of-living adjustment was rolled into the restructured salary schedule.
The schedule has 17 to 20 steps, depending on the education level of the teacher. Increases in salaries this year will range between approximately 3.74 percent to 5.85 percent under the restructured schedule.
The agreement extends the contract through 2019-20, with a 3.25 percent COLA.
n Approved a 25-cent increase in lunch prices. The increase does not apply to Green Acres, Pioneer, Riverview, Cascades or Seven Oak schools, which have a blanket community eligibility provision that allows schools in high-poverty areas to provide free breakfast and lunch to students without collecting and processing school meal applications for free and reduced prices.
The increase applies to Lacomb, Hamilton Creek and Lebanon High School, which do not qualify for the community eligibility provision and require families to apply for free and reduced-price meals.
The elementary meal price increases from $2 to $2.25; middle school, $2.25 to $2.50; and high school, $2.50 to $2.75.
Among neighboring and nearby districts, the prices are second lowest. Sweet Home’s junior high and high school meals cost 5 cents less, while all of its elementary schools qualify for blanket free and reduced-price meals. Corvallis has the highest prices: $3.25 for high school, $3 for middle school and $2.50 for elementary.
n Approved a contract with EDUStaff for substitute staffing services.
Meckley said the contract should be cost-neutral, but it will save time for district staff.
Teachers will see little differences in requesting a substitute, Meckley said. Substitute teachers already working for Lebanon will go through a simplified application process.
n Agreed to hire Soderstrom Architects of Portland to perform a facility condition assessment, seismic assessment and a long-range facilities plan.
The board will work with the architect to decide what level of assessment to perform at each building.
All buildings will undergo a condition assessment, Oliver said, while at this point, Seven Oak and Lebanon High School will undergo a seismic assessment.
Soderstrom projected the project will cost in the range of $103,000 to $186,000. The district set aside $150,000 in its budget this year and received a $70,000 grant from the state to pay for the project.
n Adopted a new education equity policy. Under the policy, the district commits to equity by recognizing barriers and creating access and opportunities that benefit each student. The policy states that equity should not be confused with equality, where all students are treated the same.
“Equity will be an enduring commitment where race will no longer be a predictor of student achievement; when historically underserved groups increase in capacity and power; and where barrier to student success have been mitigated or eliminated,” the policy says. “Educational equity is based on the principals of fairness and justice in allocating resources, opportunity, treatment and creating a successful path to graduation for each student.
“Educational equity furthers the real possibility of equality of educational results for diverse groups of students and students of color. Equity strategies are intentional, individually based, systemic and focused on the core of the teaching and learning process.”
n Heard a letter from former board member Russ McUne, who announced a plan to donate $2,000 annually for 10 years to be divided among four teachers per year.
Oliver read letter from McUne, who thanked the Lebanon community and district employees for their assistance for the past decade while he served on the board.
“I love the students of Lebanon and the work that they do,” he said. The highlight of the year was graduation and participating in handing out diplomas.
“My second favorite thing was hearing how teachers would use $500 from the Lebanon School Foundation for their classroom. I was amazed at the ingenuity of the teachers and the things they came up with. So with that, Dawn and I would like to donate $2,000 a year to the Lebanon School Foundation each year for 10 years, the rough equivalent to my time on the board.”
His only stipulation is that he gets to name the four teachers the grant goes to the first year, he said, and if the mini-grants end, so does the donation. After the first year, it’s up to the foundation to award the grants, but the $2,000 should be spent each year.
This year, he directed that $500 each go to Riverview Elementary kindergarten teacher Sarah Haley, Hamilton Creek School third-grade teacher Julie Ragan, Pioneer School Counselor Kelly Tedeschi for her work in trauma and informed practices, and Green Acres special education teeacher Sonya Clark Hostetter.
McUne also said that while on the board he heard from those who agreed with him and those who did not.
Several who disagreed with him never gave up on him, he said, and he appreciates that and the conversations. He thanked the board for years of support and “even the helpful criticism.”