BOARD FINDS SUPPORT FOR BOND ISSUE
December 5, 1995 CRISTINE GONZALEZ - The Oregonian
Summary: A majority of those at a Beaverton School Board hearing Monday back a proposed $140 million measure for the ballot
A majority of the parents, teachers and other concerned citizens who attended a public hearing Monday night expressed overwhelming support for a $140 million bond measure for Beaverton schools.
A bond measure, most agreed, would mean, among other items, more classrooms, building repairs and computers for students. But they cautioned the school board to plan how it would maintain schools and programs the bond measure would provide. for.how it funds that would maintain the schools and programs it plans to build with bond monies.
``I've seen a deterioration of the Beaverton schools system since I moved here,'' said Dennis Koop, 43, a bond measure supporter. ``But I'm worried that if we get more schools we won't be able to pay for heat and repairs. The board needs to keep that in mind.''
More than 30 people attended a 45-minute hearing at the Beaverton School District's Administration Center on Southwest Merlo Road. The meeting was the latest of several attempts to gauge public sentiment on a bond measure. A community task force recommended that package to the school after a year of study. In another show of support, more than half the registered voters polled two weeks ago in a phone survey said they would support the measure.
If approved by voters, the $140 million package would be the second-largest in Oregon history, behind Portland's $197 million bond that passed Nov. 7, and cost taxpayers an average of 70 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation if repaid over 20 years. For a $130,000 home, that adds up to an additional $91 a year in taxes.
The board is expected to decide by its Dec. 11 meeting whether to place a measure on the ballot and for what amount the measure 's size should be.
Janet Hogue, director of Citizens for School Support, said many parents in her group not only supported a $140 million bond measure, but also questioned if it was a sufficient amount.
``People are looking around Beaverton, seeing what's happening to their community, and realizing it has a large impact,'' said Hogue, referring to the district's enrollment growth, which is expected to rise from 29,000 students to 32,000 students by the year 2000.
The bond measure would provide money for four new schools, new roofs, modern heating, cooling and plumbing systems, building repairs, land purchases, cafeteria and library expansions, new classrooms at existing schools and computer and other technology.
Several parents, however, said they were deeply opposed to a bond measure.
``I want to caution you that building schools can lead to closing schools when you no longer have the money to operate those schools,'' said Ruth Bendl , 55, of Cedar Hills. ``Not all of us are ready to give a helping hand to developers who come to cheerfully set up subdivisions.''
Others, still smiting from the elimination of the district's outdoor school program, expressed deep concern and distrust of the board.
''I don't trust them with my money,'' said Denise Nass, an Aloha residents whose two children attend Beaverton schools.
BEAVERTON BONDS FOR SCHOOLS FACE VOTE
December 13, 1995 ROBIN FRANZEN The Oregonian
Summary: The campaign to push the $146.5 million bond issue kicks off after the school board agrees to put it on the March 12 ballot.
Less than 24 hours after the Beaverton School Board voted to place a $146.8 million bond issue on the March 12 election ballot, the campaign to sell the package of four new schools and other capital improvements to voters was swinging into gear.
Janet Hogue, director of Citizens for School Support, a Beaverton-based bond measure campaign organization, said Tuesday that the group was beginning a phone survey to gauge public reaction to potential elements of the pro-bond campaign. She said the effort probably would include an informational campaign via phone, mailings and neighborhood canvassing.The group also is approaching Beaverton businesses for contributions toward a $120,000 campaign war chest, an effort that Hogue said was ``going very well.'' She said the group knew of no organized opposition, but was ``waiting to see'' whether Oregon Taxpayers United -- the same group that opposed Portland's $197 million bond measure that passed Nov. 7 -- would stand in the way of Beaverton's request.
If approved, the Beaverton measure would be the second-largest in Oregon history, behind Portland's.
The school district was still working to come up with a cost estimate Tuesday. However, an estimate developed for an earlier proposed $140 million bond measure suggested a cost of roughly 70 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation if the bonds were repaid over 20 years. The average bill for owners of a $100,000 home would have been $700 per year, under that formula.
The school board, minus absent board members Sherre Calouri and Sue Downey, approved the measure's amount Monday after whittling it back from a proposed $151 million. Items eliminated from the package included: $500,000 for proposed master planning; $800,000 for design and other costs; $1 million for heating and ventilation improvements; and $1.79 million for elementary school office and middle school choral room renovations. By reducing the overall amount of the measure, the district would spend $61,444 less on costs related to the actual sale of bonds.
Of the $146,890,473 total request, more than $85 million would pay for new school construction needed to meet population growth between nowand the year 2000, during which time enrollment is expected to grow from 29,000 students to 32,000 students.
The money would cover two new elementary schools, a new middle school and a new high school, as well as 25 additional classrooms at high-growth elementary schools. Construction of the new elementary schools would begin almost immediately.Roughly $50 million would be spent to buy 90 acres for school sites, building repairs, earthquake safety improvements, handicapped-accessibility renovations, remodeling to make more efficient use of building space, and computers, video, telephone and intercom systems needed for safety and communications.
A citizen's task force recommended a $139.8 million bond-measure, but the board tacked on money to cover such things as project management, projected inflation in construction costs and the cost of selling the bonds.
Although testimony at a public hearing last week and a district-financed phone survey indicate strong public support for a large bond measure, some critics oppose the package as being too costly or not adequately addressing the long-term space problem.
Jeff Gilbert, the parent of a first-grader at Raleigh Park Elementary School, accused the board of ignoring possible ``experimental'' solutions to the district's space needs, including establishing charter schools and schooling youngsters in double shifts at the elementary level. He also criticized the district's new Westview High School, which opened in 1994, saying it was vastly overbuilt, and therefore, too expensive for taxpayers.
SCHOOL GROUP'S NEW CREDO: DO MORE
Sept. 9, 1999 LAURA GUNDERSON - The Oregonian
Summary: The Beaverton foundation steps up funding efforts and hires a
director to help local schools
After several years of what it calls less-focused fund raising, the Beaverton Education Foundation has decided on an aggressive approach to help Beaverton schools and students.
The 11-year-old foundation wants to move beyond handing out awards to district staff and giving small grants. It has begun an ambitious campaign to receive donations of kicker income-tax rebates and has hired its first, part-time executive director, Janet Hogue."This is just a perfect time for us to step in and do more," said Hogue, who was a leader in the Beaverton School District's successful bond campaigns in 1994 and 1996 totaling $175.4 million. "We can't restore what we've lost in schools through years of cuts, but it's important that we fund what we can and raise awareness levels.
"For our growing community, the public school system is the unifying force."
Foundations began popping up across Oregon in the last 10 years to help school districts foundering after 1990's passage of Measure 5 and subsequent tax-cutting laws that caused schools to cut fine arts and other extracurricular programs. Most foundations work independently of districts, although a couple have part-time staff paid for partially by the districts. Oregon is home to about 36 such foundations -- not counting smaller groups that support one or two schools within a district.
Beaverton's nonprofit foundation is known for the Golden Apple awards it hands out annually to teachers, administrators and classified staff, and for its distribution to teachers of grants ranging from $500 to
$2,000. It now hopes to follow the lead of more financially successful foundations such as that of the Portland Public Schools, which has raised millions of dollars and one year funded 200 teaching positions.
"The foundation has been a great support to the district over the last five years," said Yvonne Katz, superintendent of the Beaverton School District. "Their Golden Apple recognizes outstanding staff members, and that is very much appreciated by us at the central office as well as
those in the school district.
"They have also really helped to grow their minigrant program to tens of thousands of dollars each year for teachers doing really creative things in classrooms."
Hiring an executive director is a necessary step to becoming a strong nonprofit, said Cynthia Guyer, executive director of the Portland Public Schools Foundation. "It's a sophisticated, competitive market for nonprofits," she said, "and you need a strong staff and a strong board to be successful. If your agenda is mushy or your case confused, people aren't going to give."
Established in 1996, Portland's foundation in three years has raised $6 million from individuals, small businesses and corporations. It led a fund-raising drive that collected $800,000 in tax-rebate donations in
1997 and organized a $10 million effort to rehire 200 Portland teachers laid off after budget cuts for the 1996-97 school year.
Beaverton raised $55,000 and spent $32,000 on grants and awards last year. Hogue and board members want to raise multiples of that in upcoming years. In the past, the foundation has paid for reading incentive programs, provided supplemental reading material for literacy training and given teacher and building grants for extra classroom supplies and curriculum.
This year, the foundation hopes to promote community awareness through ambitious phone and mail campaigns and to solicit business donations to expand teacher grants to as much as $20,000.
"The foundation is a way for the community to take back control of their schools," said Hogue, 46, who taught biology at Sunset High School from 1979 to 1986. She became active in school fund raising, lobbying and campaigning after the passage of Measure 5.
"As well as trying to raise money, we really want to promote partnerships with everyone from parent-teacher organizations, the teachers' union to the district," said Richard Thomas, a foundation board member. "We're not trying to compete with any of these groups, but work with them."
David Meredith is executive director of the 6-year-old Eugene Education Fund and organizes the Oregon Schools Foundation, a group formed to support foundations across the state. He says Eugene has seen changes in who gives money to schools, and how. "Our donor audience was big on parent donations, and now it includes many other segments of the community."
Eugene's foundation, which hopes to raise $500,000 this year, once received donations earmarked for certain schools or projects. Donors now frequently ask that money go to districtwide programs, such as science, math and transportation.
Eugene will be host to the second Oregon Schools Foundation conference at Willagillespie Elementary School Oct. 2. The conference is free, and those involved or interested in forming a foundation are welcome to attend.
About a dozen foundations support schools in the Portland area, including Lake Oswego, West Linn-Wilsonville, Gresham-Barlow, Centennial and Sherwood. Most are formed by parent groups and teachers, but in Hillsboro, a group of young Hilhi graduates started the Hillsboro Visionary Foundation after hearing how many extracurricular activities the district was losing.
"As our control has slowly been taken away, we see that there is a large number of people that we can look to as a support mechanism for our schools," said Jennifer Brown, the school district liaison for the
Tigard-Tualatin Schools Foundation, which formed in 1991. The foundation helps pay for student programs including an anti-smoking group and school transition programs Link Crew and Web, and maintains five scholarships for graduating seniors.
Most foundations raise money through private donations. The Tigard-Tualatin Schools Foundation is unique in that its spending budget is generated from interest gained through $150,000 in mutual funds. Last year, the foundation spent about $12,000.
"When we first started, we'd spend everything we made that year," Brown said. "Now we're sitting comfortable -- you can't hang on too long knocking on doors every year with your hand out."
Beaverton will begin its first big drive next week, as students carry home fliers handed out in all the schools. They will ask people to give the foundation their tax kickers, the rebates the state returns at the
end of the year when income tax collections exceed budget projections.The campaign will continue through October, and another fund-raising drive is planned for the spring.
"I don't know that new Beaverton parents have a total grasp of what all we have lost," Hogue said. "They don't know we once had an elementary band, elementary school counselors and French, Spanish and German taught in the middle schools. Now we're trying to get the word out to every family of every student."
RETIRING TEACHERS CREATE SCHOOL SURPLUS
October 28, 2004 ANITHA REDDY - The Oregonian
The Beaverton School District ended up with $12.1 million more than it expected last school year because six times more teachers than usual retired, and the district failed to factor that into its estimate of benefits costs.
The extra money, discovered in late August, led to the School Board's decision not to collect the second year of the local option levy."I wish we could have figured this out in June," Superintendent Jerry Colonna said last week of the miscalculation. "That's when it would have been helpful."
Bruce Griswold, the associate superintendent for fiscal affairs, said it is difficult to predict health care costs, because the district pays only an estimate of those costs every month. It doesn't know its exact
bill until after the end of the fiscal year June 30. However, during the 2002-03 school year, 219 employees retired, compared with 30 to 35 in a typical year, district officials said. The spike was driven by several factors, including changes to Oregon's Public Employee Retirement System and talk of ending the district's early retirement program.
The large number of retirements resulted in lower-than-expected costs for salaries and benefits. The $8.7 million in savings accounts for more than two-thirds of the $12.1 million.
District financial projections do not appear to take the high number of retirements into account. Despite the exit of hundreds of older teachers, the district forecast a $2 million rise in benefits costs for the 2003-04 school year, basing its number on a $3 million rise the year before.
Instead, the costs dropped by $3.9 million to $46.2 million, according to the district's latest unaudited figures.
Griswold said the higher projection made sense at the time, because health care costs had risen four years in a row. In addition, he said, the district agreed to raise the cap on monthly employee health care expenses at the end of 2003, making it more likely that costs would go up.
That guess turned out to be wrong, because most employees switched to lower-cost health plans in 2004. Johanna Vaandering, acting president of the Beaverton teachers union, said younger employees tended to choose lower-cost plans, and at least some of the more than 200 new hires were likely to cost less than the retiring teachers.
Linda Borquist, associate superintendent for human resources, said it was impossible to know in advance how much the new employee benefits were going to cost the district.
Both Colonna and Griswold emphasized that the $12.1 million was only a tiny part of a nearly $250 million annual budget. Colonna said, however, the discrepancy was unfortunate because it was nearly as much as the levy.
Moreover, the $12.1 million is almost 5 percent of last year's $248.7 million general fund -- the percentage the board is required to retain as a contingency.Colonna said the incident had spurred him to be more involved in the budget, but that he was happy with the board's decision not to collect the levy. "The ability to pass future levies would have been at stake," he said, referring to a bond for school construction expected to be needed within two years. Given the situation, he said, the board's decision was "pretty obvious."
Is district cleaning up Katz litter?
By RICK CASEY Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
ONE shoe has dropped in the mystery of why Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Yvonne Katz resigned on three days' notice last month, leaving behind nearly three years on a $250,000-a-year contract.
District officials announced that one of her top assistants, Mike Maloney, has resigned after he and two of his subordinates were put on administrative leave with pay.
Officials said the district was conducting an investigation, but they declined to give details until it is complete.
Maloney was associate superintendent for facilities, transportation and support. He was brought to Spring Branch by Katz from Beaverton, Ore., a Portland suburb where she had been superintendent and he was facilities manager at the school district.
The boys from Beaverton
The two others suspended were Vlad Voytilla, executive manager for facilities management, and Kermit Richards, chief facilities engineer.
Voytilla had also come from Beaverton, where he was a school district project manager.
Spring Branch officials say district police are "coordinating an investigation" based on allegations made by a district employee.
Presumably associate superintendents and their employees don't get suspended based on secret allegations that haven't been found to have some merit.
Just as, presumably, superintendents don't resign for no reason several weeks into the school year with three-quarters of a million dollars left on their contract.
The first question is whether the matter concerns a controversial contract the district signed, at Katz's urging, with a Wichita Falls outfit called Energy Education Inc.The company promises to lower school districts' utility bills, and gets paid hefty fees based on its results.
Katz had neglected to tell the board that for years she had worked a side deal with the company. She would talk other superintendents into listening to their sales pitch, and get $500 a pop.
It was an amazing omission by an executive at that level. A board can't be wondering every time a superintendent recommends a non-competitive contract such as the Energy Education deal whether she is being paid by the company.
And as I pointed out in an earlier column, if they read the details of the lengthy contract, they might have thought she was underpaid by the company. Among other issues, it had the company play a major role in calculating its own hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees without a provision for an audit.
But I think what's at work here goes beyond that controversy. For one thing, Katz had already been publicly reprimanded by the board for her failure to disclose the relationship. It doesn't make sense that the board would issue a solid slap on the wrist, then change its mind and exile her to Elba.
Secondly, there's no evidence that all three of those suspended were involved in the Energy Education deal.
Maloney was already under suspicion by some district employees. When I wrote about Katz's departure, I received a number of phone calls and e-mails from employees raising questions about certain contracts with which he was involved.
I haven't confirmed any of the deals they mentioned, and now that an official investigation is under way, it is likely to be difficult to do so.
But board President Wayne Schaper assures me that the facts will be made public when the investigation is complete.
"I'm going to push them to get it done promptly," he said. "I don't want it hanging out there."
If the district does offer a full accounting, it will come out much better than it did after Katz's mysterious departure.
When something as shocking as her sudden resignation happens without explanation, it leaves faculty, staff, parents and taxpayers harboring unhealthy suspicions.
Energy contract spells trouble for former school superintendent Katz
08/05/04 Victoria Blake Beaverton Valley-Times
Former Beaverton School Superintendent Yvonne Katz got into hot water last week because of her business relationship with a Texas energy company.
Katz received a $500 consulting fee from Energy Education for each meeting she arranged between company representatives and Spring Branch, Texas, School District decision makers.
Katz began working for Energy Education while superintendent for the Beaverton School District.
The Spring Branch district signed on as an Energy Education client at Katz’ recommendation, without knowing Katz received checks from the company.
“The board is extremely disappointed in Dr. Katz,” according to a statement by the Spring Branch School Board released Tuesday. “We consider this action to have been a serious lapse of judgment.”
The Spring Branch board, however, did not take any other action in the case.
The Beaverton district signed a four-year contract with Energy Education in 1993, while Katz was superintendent.
The company promised to reduce Beaverton’s energy costs by changing district employee attitudes toward energy use.
The amount Beaverton paid the company depended on how much the district saved in energy costs, but could have been anywhere between $2 million and $3 million.
After the Beaverton district signed on, the company approached Katz to ask “if I wouldn’t be able to tell our story to other districts,” Katz said from her Texas office.
Katz agreed and, for a fee, she took that story to other districts in the state.
There was nothing in Katz’ Beaverton contract that prevented her from doing it, said Beaverton spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler, adding that it was “obvious” that any outside work had to be first approved by the school board.
Beaverton district representatives said they do not remember Katz informing them of her consulting work for Energy Education.
“We were trying to help other people see how they could save some precious dollars,” Katz said.
Katz said she didn’t remember how many districts she approached, or how many meetings she brokered since starting with the company in 1995 or 1996.
Company representatives said Katz might have started as a consultant as late as 1998.
Energy Education has about 620 clients nationwide, company executive John Bernard said.
Like a Tupperware party, the company asks retired superintendents to help introduce the company to potential clients, Bernard said.
Katz is one of “only a few” acting superintendents the company uses, he said.
Katz also did not consider her relationship with Energy Education in Spring Branch or Beaverton to be a conflict of interest.
Katz left her position as Beaverton superintendent in June 2002 to accept the position in Spring Branch, a Houston suburb.
Katz’ problems are no longer relevant to business in Beaverton, said Beaverton School Board Chairman Mike Osborne.
“What happens in Texas happens in Texas,” he said.
However, he added, a school district’s success “all revolves around credibility.”
Former Beaverton School District Adminstrator Charged
By: Norm Rowland, Staff 10/28/2004 ©Houston Community Newspapers Online 2004
Former Spring Branch ISD administrator Mike Maloney has been charged with tampering with a government document, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of a year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Assistant District Attorney Julian Ramirez said the charge alleges that Maloney, who is believed to be out of the state, falsified information on his employment application to Spring Branch ISD, claiming to have a degree from a university that Ramirez described as "basically a diploma mill."
On his application, Maloney indicated he had obtained a bachelor's and a master's degree from "Cal. So., Antigua, WI."
Antigua and Barbuda is a small island state in the Caribbean Sea's West Indies about 300 miles southeast of Puerto Rico. Until gaining independence in 1981, the island was a British colony.
The Spring Branch ISD Police Department presented information to the District Attorney's Office on Oct. 4, according to a district spokesman.
The District Attorney's Office reviewed the information and filed charges on Oct. 19.
On Oct. 5, SBISD Interim Superintendent Duncan Klussmann placed Maloney and two other employees of the SBISD Facilities Department on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of an investigation.
Maloney, who was associate superintendent for facilities and transportation, submitted his resignation on Oct. 5 after being placed on administrative leave. He had been employed in SBISD since January of 2003.
Also placed on administrative leave were Vlad Voytilla, Executive Manager for Facilities Management, and Kermit Richards, Chief Facilities Engineer.
Existing management staff is temporarily coordinating staff job responsibilities.
The school district began an investigation after a district employee made allegations to the SBISD Police Department. However, district officials would comment on the exact nature of those allegations.
Capt. John Cortelyou, a member of the investigating team that includes Chief Chuck Brawner, Capt. Gary Silver, Sgt. Steve Lawson and an auditor, said the discovery of the questionable entry on Maloney's application was routine.
"The first thing you do in an investigation is check personnel records," he said, confirming that the investigation was not launched because of suspicion that employment applications might have errors in them.
"We are looking at a lot of areas," Cortelyou said. "This thing is not over by a long shot."
The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) January 10, 2005 ANITHA REDDY
BEAVERTON SCHOOL DISTRICT SETTLES RACIAL BIAS SUIT
Summary: In the $120,000 deal, the district admits a custodian was called a racial slur but denies other allegations
The Beaverton School District has agreed to pay $120,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit by an African American former custodian, after admitting in a court filing that a co-worker called the man a racial epithet.
District administrators agreed in December to pay nearly $80,000, including $10,000 in gross back wages, to James Sanders and $40,000 in fees to his lawyer, Thomas Steenson. As part of the settlement, the district denied Sanders' allegations against three other co-workers.
The settlement, drawn from the district's $1.55 million insurance reserve fund, did not require school board approval, said Linda Borquist, an assistant superintendent.
Board member Ann Jacks said Tuesday evening that district lawyers had briefed the board on the case but had never discussed possible settlement amounts.
"It's not an insignificant sum or an insignificant issue," Jacks said. "I'd like, in the future, to be a little more active in this."
Board approval is necessary only if the settlement amount exhausts the reserve fund, which is set aside during the budget process and requires a transfer from the general fund, said Janice Essenberg, district administrator for budget services.
Because the district's insurance policy covers liability claims greater than $500,000, board approval would be required only in rare cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Large settlements can be entered into without board approval, unlike contracts, which require a board vote if they are worth more than $50,000.
In neighboring Portland, the school board must approve all settlements greater than $25,000.
Sanders, who was fired in October 2003, sued the district in June, saying his boss, Ron Strasser, Aloha High School's head custodian, had used racially derogatory terms and threatened him. Sanders cited other instances of harassment, but did not name the co-workers involved or describe the offenses in his lawsuit.
Sanders met twice with Anthony Rosilez, then the district administrator overseeing custodians, and submitted two written complaints describing the harassment between November 2002 and August 2003, according to court filings by Sanders and the school district.
In a June 29 court filing, the district denied all of Sanders' accusations except one. The district admitted that a co-worker called Sanders a "spear chucker" in August 2003. In the same filing, the district denied workers used other racially insensitive terms.
Borquist declined to identify the co-worker accused of using the term. She said the employee, who was disciplined for the incident, no longer works for the district.
The district initially responded to Sanders' complaints by giving him the cell and home phone numbers of Rosilez so he could report any further harassment immediately, Borquist said.
The district also offered Sanders a place on its "Diversity Committee," an employee group that supports and embraces a diverse work force, she said.
"We take any report of harassment or discrimination very seriously," Borquist said.
At Sanders' request, the district held a training session in January 2003 for custodial staff to review anti-discrimination policies and reporting procedures.
Sanders' suit names as defendants Mark Moser, the district's administrator for classified personnel, Art Heckel, a former Aloha High School vice principal, and Strasser, Sanders' direct supervisor.
The district investigated Sanders' allegations against the three men and found no wrongdoing, Borquist said.
Heckel, now a vice principal at Westview High School, and Moser still work for the district.
Strasser retired in September. District officials said his retirement was unrelated to the lawsuit.
Anitha Reddy: 503-294-5954; firstname.lastname@example.org
Beaverton education fund leader will leave Friday, May 12, 2006 AMY HSUAN Oregonian
Janet Hogue, the Beaverton Education Foundation's longtime executive director, will leave the organization that raises money for Beaverton classroom programs as of June 30.
Hogue, who has led the foundation since 1999, has been the nonprofit group's only executive director.
Hogue's departure comes as Beaverton Education Foundation members are focused on supporting the Beaverton School District's $195 million construction bond.
Beaverton schools hire consultant to monitor loss of employee info
Timesheets for 1,600 workers reported missing in July from district facility
BY RAY PITZ The Beaverton Valley Times, Aug 21, 2006
The Beaverton School District has hired a national security and risk management consulting company to make sure employees of the Beaverton School District aren’t victims of identity theft.
The district has hired Kroll ID TheftSmart to monitor the records of 1,600 employees whose timesheets were taken in July from a district storage facility.
“We have no indication whatsoever there’s been any I.D. theft,” said Robertson.
However, she said the district is concerned because the sheets included employee names, Social Security numbers and work sites.
Copyright 2009 Pamplin Media Group, 6605 S.E. Lake Road, Portland, OR 97222 • 503-226-6397
'Rife with cronyism'
Letters to the Editor The Oregonian
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Coverage of the Beaverton School Board's appointment of Tom Quillin cited board members' desire to appoint someone who was collegial and a collaborator. I think they forgot a "C" word: crony. This district and board are rife with cronyism.
A few recent examples: the June 2005 appointment of Jeff Hicks, husband of a math cadre member pushing for adoption of the controversial new math curriculum, over Budget Committee chair and longtime volunteer Christi Feldewerth; the July 2006 hiring of Janet Hogue who has not worked as a teacher for over a decade, as teacher on special assignment, charged with coordinating the district's option programs; and the appointment of Tom Quillin, Mike Osborne's next-door neighbor, to fill the position vacated by Osborne's death.
I think I hear George W. Bush saying, "You're doing a heck of a job, Beaverton!"
Mark Gross, Cedar Mill
Consulting plus school adds up to inquiry
Math - The Beaverton district looks at the circumstances of a curriculum change
Thursday, November 23, 2006 AMY HSUAN The Oregonian
A former Beaverton School District employee received tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from a nonprofit education group after helping lead Beaverton's adoption of a controversial math curriculum.
School administrators said Wednesday that they will launch an outside investigation into Kathy Pfaendler's ties to the organization that was hired to train district teachers following the 2004 curriculum change.
Pfaendler, who retired in June, is a founder and board member of the nonprofit Teachers Development Group, which promotes the new curriculum and was later hired to do staff training to implement it.
According to tax records obtained by The Oregonian, Pfaendler earned $37,500 doing contract work for the teachers group in other districts during the 2004-05 fiscal year.
Pfaendler, a math specialist and former high school math teacher, lead the district's switch to the Interactive Math Program and other education reforms, which continue to spur parent opposition because of their emphasis on group work rather than memorization.
Beaverton school leaders are asking an outside law firm to examine whether district employees had a conflict of interest in the curriculum's approval. The district also is looking into whether Beaverton students are being used as research subjects in testing the new math curriculum, which has not been shown to improve test scores.
The case has broader statewide implications because it raises questions about the Oregon Mathematics Leadership Institute, a five-year, $6 million partnership between the teachers group, Portland State University and Oregon State University. The institute, funded through the National Science Foundation and the Oregon Department of Education, promotes reformed math and involves training teachers from 10 school districts across the state, including Beaverton.
Superintendent Jerry Colonna said Wednesday that the case has forced the district to scrutinize its procedures for adopting instructional materials. He also said any employee found to have a conflict of interest will face consequences.
"I feel we ought to expose this thing," Colonna said. "I see this as an important opportunity to own up to the problems and do something about them."
Pfaendler started working for the district in 1977 as a math teacher at Mountain View Middle School. She later taught at Westview and Southridge high schools before moving into administration in 2003. She helped to found the Teachers Development Group in 1998 with the help of another district employee, Susan Albright, who is still working in the district's math instruction department. Pfaendler and Albright were principal investors in the teachers group, giving $3,000 each in startup costs.
Consulting plus school adds up to inquiry
As the district's math specialist, Pfaendler oversaw research into K-12 math curriculum options in the 2004-05 school year. The Beaverton School District, like the state, reviews instructional materials every seven years.