School facility improvements underway

As the Lebanon Community School District works toward fixing a leaky roof at Lacomb Elementary and erecting an expansion at Seven Oak for sixth graders, COO William Lewis presented the board a proposal to build a maintenance facility.

He shared at the March 14 board meeting that Maintenance Supervisor Bryan Eilers plans to build a pole building at Seven Oak for that purpose. Measuring 48’ x 144’, it will store new landscaping equipment and serve as a “delivery and warehouse spot.” He said this addition will allow the district to move its storage space from Waterloo to Lebanon and improve efficiencies.

In other business, the board:

◆ Heard from Supt. Jennifer Meckley shared highlights from the data, which included an increase of freshmen who are on-track for graduation, an 85% teacher retention rate, and retaining a principal for three years.

She praised Ralston Academy for its participation in helping the district increase its graduation rates. Ralston currently has 61 students enrolled in the program

◆ Heard a presentation by the director and board of Sand Ridge Charter School, who are seeking to renew a contract with the LCSD for a longer term.

Mary Northern, founder and director of operations of Sand Ridge, told the board her school started as a private alternative school in Brownsville in 1992, then moved to Lebanon and Sodaville as a charter. Operated by People Involved in Education, Inc. (PIE), a nonprofit organization, they also operate Sweet Home Charter School.

◆ Heard an update about the Lacomb School roofing project from Lewis. The district is currently going through the bid process from contractors and is considering a TPO single-ply roof, as opposed to a built-up roof system. Some discussion surrounded a legal hurdle the district is working through regarding the bidding process and a contractor, which might delay the project another year.

◆ Announced a seat vacancy for zone 3, and appointed Nichole Piland as vice chair.

◆ Approved a service plan with Linn Benton Lincoln Education Service District.

◆ Approved the superintendent’s recommendation for renewal and non-renewal of probationary teachers and administrators, and for extension and non-extension of contract to contract teachers and administrators.

◆ Approved certified calendars for the next two school years.

◆ Agreed to not make up two missed school days from a storm in January.

◆ Discussed the possibility of forming a committee to review and update district policies.

A parent praises a former teacher’s help with her son, and expresses frustration he’s now gone during the March 14 school board meeting.

◆ Heard from Meckley about the district’s efforts to support the formation of “Indian Education” for the purpose of “improving academic achievement of Native American students and preserving their cultural heritage.”

◆ Heard from parents, former staff and concerned citizens during a public comment period about a Hamilton Creek teacher who stated he was “forced to resign” based on alleged false allegations. The citizens praised the former teacher’s work with the children while raising concerns about the school principal. Stephani Breshears stated other educators are also leaving, and she is pulling her children from the school.

One staff member spoke on behalf of other staff at the school, stating the environment at the school has improved over the past few years.