Seven Oak principal resigns after staffing conflict

Seven Oak Middle School Principal Wayne Reposa resigned Jan. 30, the first day of the new semester.

He is taking voluntary personal leave, which is paid, for the remainder of the school year.

Reposa cited the conflict that is currently taking place in the district as the reason he left but was unable to further discuss the situation because of the terms of the agreement he signed with the district.

“It is my personal belief things could have been handled differently,” Reposa said.

Reposa gave a presentation at the Dec. 14 Lebanon Community School District board meeting that segued into a discussion about the combined challenges of increased enrollment, classroom size and fewer teachers that the school is facing this year.

This was his sixth year as principal and it is the first year staffing didn’t pace with student growth, Reposa said.

Seven Oak enrollment increased by more than 70 students but is down by three classroom teachers, he said, which has led to larger class sizes.

He said part of the reason is the shift of students from 2015-16 school year.

“We started a process of moving towards a K-6 model, as a district,” Reposa said. “In this process I got to speak to families over at Pioneer and they bought in to the idea of becoming a K-6 and started making plans for those students to come to us.”

The elementary schools were going to become K-6 schools and Seven Oak was going to become a junior high school, rather than have sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

“Halfway through this process, this process stopped,” he said. “We had families advocate, which is what they have a right to do, particularly from two schools, and so the process wasn’t complete. We continued to take the Pioneer that were planned, but the sixth graders that were going to stay behind didn’t stay behind.”

Reposa said he has met with district administrators half a dozen times since the 2015-16 school year to talk about the issue.

Seven Oak was forecasted to have 600 students, but they started the year with 671, he said.

Reposa said he met again with district administrators and “out of that conversation was this idea to come up with a proposal.”

He didn’t want to move the problem from one place to another, so he said he spoke with the administrators from the feeder schools.

The district has since set dates for several community forums to solicit feedback from parents, staff, and the community about possible grade configuration options for the 2018-2019 school year.

Reposa plans to find a position closer to his home in Eugene and possibly work on his doctoral degree.

“I feel I have a lot to give still,” Reposa said. “I’m not going to change careers.”

Messages sent to Lebanon Community School District Superintendent Rob Hess were not immediately returned.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Click here to watch a video of the Dec. 14 meeting.