January 2019 Principal Chat... REVEALED: Doomsday Approaches

Our long hiatus is over.  Yes, Bonny Slope, the Principal Chat recaps are back! Just in time to discover that...

Doomsday approaches.

Last January’s Principal Chat had one singular focus-- discussing the the $22 million shortfall that Beaverton School District is facing next school year.  Talk about a buzzkill.

Here are some questions (and answers!) that you, Beaverton taxpayer, parent and everyday warrior, may have.

How does school funding work?

Public schools are funded by a combination of federal, state, and local taxes. Every $100 million in the state’s school fund translates to approx. $3.5 million for Beaverton School District.

So... What led to the budget gap that had to be hastily filled last December?

Several factors.  A January 16th OPB article recently shed light on the mitigating factors that led to the $12 million shortfall for 2018-19.  Here’s an excerpt:

Specifically, district officials pointed to five factors in Beaverton’s $10 to $12 million gap:

  • Estimates were too high for English Language Learner enrollment and students in need of specialized classroom environments (both student groups that bring additional funding to the district) — ELL student numbers were off by 400, the special education enrollment figure was over by 100 students.

  • Overall enrollment growth was flat, though Beaverton officials “anticipated continued student enrollment growth.”

  • There was a decrease of “students in poverty throughout Beaverton,” which “reduces our State School Fund allocation” — a drop of about $1.2 million based on enrolling 155 fewer students than forecast.

  • “[F]ewer teachers left the high end of the salary schedule and were not replaced by teachers on the lower end of the salary schedule.”

  • Beaverton’s costs under Oregon’s new Pay Equity law, designed to prohibit discrimination against women, “could not have been estimated when the budget was adopted,” but officials now say that law is costing the district $1.1 million.  

Read the full story HERE: https://www.opb.org/news/article/beaverton-oregon-school-budget-cuts/

In a nutshell, when they wrote this budget last spring, BSD overestimated the number of special ed students, new students, and low-income students for this school year.  Each of those groups provide money to a school district, and as they flatline, so does the money. As our demographics change, BSD receives less state and federal money.

Are there other factors at play here?

Absolutely.  State and local funding are impacted by PERS increase, contractual obligations to staff, health insurance increases, and non-salary increases like utilities.

How did this current shortfall affect Bonny Slope?

Last December, Janet and all school principals had to return 20% of their operating budget given to them in September.  That translated to about $15,000 less for Janet to work with this school year. Good news? Renee Conduff, our principal’s secretary, is a budget ace and has continued to keep us on track and out of the red.

And now to the real story. What does this mean for NEXT school year?

Budget cuts to the tune of $23 million.

(low whistle)

Okay. Dare we ask what is being cut?

Nothing has been decided yet, but everything is on the table, including:

  • Increased class size in all schools

  • Eliminating PYP & STEAM programs

  • Reducing multilingual teaching and support staff

  • Reducing custodial staff

  • Reducing campus supervisors and crossing guard positions

  • Shortening the school year

  • Eliminating conferences (or other non-student work days)

The district actually provided attendees with a list of 52 options with varying degrees of savings.

What BSD can’t cut?

  • Transportation

  • Special Education (maintenance and effort as required by federal law)

  • Utilities & gasoline

  • Contracted expenses for employees (Did we mention that teachers will begin contract negotiations later this year?  Oh how the plot thickens.)

But… but… we just passed that levy!  Why can’t we use some of that money?

Funny thing about taxpayer initiatives.  They have to be used for exactly what they were advertised for.  The levy will be used for teacher salaries in order to retain approx. 300 teacher positions and maintain smaller class sizes.

So… even though Beaverton passed the levy last spring, there will STILL be a $20M shortfall.

Yes.  If the levy HADN’T passed, Beaverton would be looking at even larger cuts.

But then why is Beaverton School District still building new schools?

The new schools are paid for by a bond in 2014.  Again, bonds are ballot-initiatives, meaning they are for a specific purpose and cannot be diverted.  The 2014 bond had very specific elements-- check them all out here.

Wait-- Bonny Slope just got all this new technology.  Why is BSD paying for all these devices when there’s a “budget shortfall?”  

Again, the influx of technology to BSD schools in the past several years is a result of the 2014 bond.  You can read their complete list of projects or just peek at the technology portion.

What can Bonny Slope brace itself for?

Well, sadly, Bonny Slope already has some pretty high class sizes, meaning we probably won’t see THAT much of a hike in the classroom.  However, depending on what the district decides, it could be anything from losing our PYP coordinator & Spanish teacher, to a shorter school year with no conferences.

Can BSCO help?

Our PTO provides an awesome amount of in-class supplies, teacher resources and student enrichment which is gonna come in handy through these dark ages.  However, BSD does not allow parent organizations to provide funds for additional staff.

Note: This is not the case for Portland Public, who are allowed to use PTO dollars to provide additional staff support.  However, affluent Portland PTOs must also share their fundraising totals with lower-income schools.

So… what you’re saying is that this situation is pretty serious.

Yes.  And it’s not going away anytime soon. Lovely.

Are there additional resources besides state or local taxes?

You know, attendees bounced a few ideas around, such as a Nike grant or (gulp) PERS reform.  So while yes, in theory there are other ways, right now we have no clear alternative pathway to shore up this funding.

Do parents/taxpayers have any say in how these cuts are applied?

Hmmm… you could:

Long story short— buckle up, Bonny Slope. The next few years could be a bumpy ride.

December Revealed

Better late than never!  Here’s a quick summary of Dec’s chat:

  • Even though BSD has put the kibosh on elementary overnight trips, Bonny Slope fifth graders will still enjoy two days of outdoor exploration through Trackers Earth Portland.

  • Stoller’s lockdown was a learning moment for BSD as well for the Washington County sheriff.  The district teaches protocols based on the best information out there, but there’s always room to improve and reevaluate.  One thing to know? When the WA County sheriff takes over, BSD and its employees must follow their lead.

  • Bonny Slope will be receiving the second round of devices this spring, funded by the 2014 bond.

  • BSCO is helping make BSE earthquake ready!  Emergency water barrels have arrived. Each classroom has a bucket with the essentials-- two gallons water, emergency bucket with pee/poop buckets (buddy classrooms), flashlights, solar blankets, first aid kits, and a list of emergency contacts for the class.  BSE is also increasing the number of radios on hand, since in the case of an emergency, cell phones may be down.

  • Our backpack program is alive and well!  Bonny Slope is always taking food and cash donations to help fund our pantry.

    And that’s a wrap!  Join us for our next Principal Chat on Friday, 2/22 @ 2pm.

Submit your Science Project entry by Sunday, 2/24!

Science Night is only 3 weekends away and we need your Science Projects!  All entries received by Sunday, 2/24 will be included in grade level raffles for Fiber Optic Lights.  Do not delay!  Visit http://www.bonnyslopebsco.org/science for more information and to submit an entry form.


You can also purchase a science tri-fold board for $3 online and have your student pick it up in the office.  Please log on here: https://www.beaverton.k12.or.us/depts/business/Pages/Online-Payment-System.aspx.  Choose your student's name then school items and clubs to purchase.  You may alternately send $3 (exact change) in with your student to purchase in the office.

Questions?  Please contact the BSCO Science Night Team sciencenight@bonnyslopebsco.org

Translations Needed for Mother Language Day

As a celebration of Mother Language Day (February 21st), the Cultural Richness committee is working on translating the signs around the school in several languages.

So far we have translations in Chinese, Bengali, Arabic, German, Dutch, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, and Gujarati.

If you would like to contribute translating another language, please send an email to cultural@bonnyslopebsco.org with the translation of the words and sentences below.


Thank you,
Mara da Silva
Cultural Richness Committee

Assistant Principal
Small Group
Conference Room
Volunteer Work Room
Work Room
Staff Room
English Language Development
PE (Physical Education)
Girls Restroom
Book Storage
Custodial 1A
Lost and Found
Bus Entrance

Swing into Spring with the Bonny Slope Auction at Top Golf on April 14th!

With the excitement of the snow this week it’s easy to look towards warmer weather.  Mark your calendars for Sunday, April 14th as you are invited to join us at the Bonny Slope Spring Auction! Our auction and game play will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Top Golf in Hillsboro.  

Tickets on sale February 22nd!

This year we are very excited to host our annual auction on a new day and at a new location.  The primary focus of the auction is to raise funds to support our BSCO programs, our BSE classrooms and our students.  With that in mind we want to ensure that funds raised by YOU go towards the programs for YOUR students. As in the past, the evening will allow for the community to gather and to connect as we help to support our BSCO programs.  

So come and take a few swings in the golf bays, bid to win one of the many silent auction packages, and make some new friends over dinner and drinks.  It is sure to be an evening you won’t fore-get!

Things to know:

golf logo for website.jpg

Q. Will the fundraiser still feature a silent auction?

A. Yes. We will have a prize-filled silent auction like in previous years. The live auction will not be included as all items will be featured in the silent auction. We’re also trying out new technology for easy bidding while you play your round of golf.  

Q. Is this still a community-building event?

A. Yes. The golf theme and backdrop is just the location for the auction.  We will have plenty of space to mingle and connect with other members of our wonderful BSE community. No golfing experience necessary for the TopGolf game play activities.

Q. Can I bring my kids?

A. No. While Top Golf is a fun family activity, the auction event is an adults-only night. Come check out the location and book a tee-time for another family outing.

Q. Is this a theme party?

A. Yes and No! We know our community loves a theme so if you feel like it fairway attire is encouraged. Of course dressing up is always optional.  The photo booth will have fun golf themed props for you no matter how you arrive.

Q. What if I can’t attend?

A. There are many ways for you to support BSCO programs outside of attending the auction. There will also be raffle tickets and teacher experiences available to purchase on the auction website in the coming weeks.  You can also offer your support by volunteering or donating items.

Q. Want to sponsor the event, donate items for the silent auction, or help with the event planning?

A. We need you!  Send an e-mail to auction@bonnyslopebsco.org  

More questions?  E-mail auction@bonnyslopebsco.org

The Roving Desk and How Your Funds Revolutionize Teaching

As Bonny Slope prepares for their annual auction, it is natural for families to wonder what has been done with the monies gathered from previous years.  Our family movie nights are due to the amazing projector in the gymnasium, instruments for students’ music classes, iPads and headphones also for the students.  And, now, we have two teachers who have “roving desks”.  Both Mrs. Parks in First grade and Mrs. Tanner in Kindergarten, have been able to ditch their name sitting table desks for ones that allow for more flexible – both figuratively and literally – when it comes to doing lessons and teaching their students.


Mrs. Melinda Tanner was the first teacher to get the fancy set up.  She likes being on the forefront of technology, utilizing it for the possibilities it can give her; and she knows that sitting isn’t as healthy for her as it is to stand.  Thus, her desire to create a working desk station that is cord free, wifi compatible (thanks to the Apple TV donation, also from BSCO), and standing only. In 2018, Mrs. Tanner went to BSCO with her “wish list item” and was quickly given the new set up.

Mrs. Bitsy Parks took notice of Mrs. Tanner’s new desk, and realized she wanted one too.  She liked that the new desk would allow her to give her a better dynamic to move around the room.  And, as a petite woman, it also worked better for her height.  It also eliminated the need for an actual desk.  As she said, “Having the permanent desk in the corner was like a barricade between you and the students.  Now I have more freedom and flexibility.”

Both teachers repeatedly mentioned the freedom and flexibility that has come with their new “roving desks.”  Instead of having to have a desk in one spot, they can go wherever.  All of the cords and plugs are gone, so they don’t have to worry about blocking their students’ views when utilizing the in-class projectors or Internet.  Everything is connected to the desk, which includes: an iPad, with a camera and projector, Apple TV, and then wifi built in.  There is also freedom of movement.  The teachers both noted, they have been given more space, “more real estate” in their classroom and when a teacher is using every possible inch, even going vertical, taking away a bulky desk is a game changer.  They also have reduced their need for “stuff” which is important to both Mrs. Parks and Mrs. Tanner, and Bonny Slope Elementary.  The desire to reduce your carbon footprint is something all students and staff work towards, and these computers allow them to do this as well.

As Mrs. Tanner put it, having this new set up is just like a “delicious day”, it just tastes better now.  Delicious indeed.


Pancake Breakfast Hits the Spot!

Bonny Slope Elementary’s fifth grade class hosted its annual Pancake Breakfast this past Saturday. Over 600 people ate pancakes, sausages, and oranges, and washed it all down with juice and coffee. The fifth grade raised more than $5,500 to help with this year’s science school, to be held February 28th and March 1st.


Our fifth graders, parent volunteers and Bonny Slope staff did a great job selling tickets, hosting, cooking, and serving. Thank you to everyone who helped!

A special thank you to Jenny Johnson, Walmart, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and Bale’s Thriftway, and Costco for all of their generous support!  

Take a look at some pictures…

Winter Community Meeting Minutes, Slides and Video Posted

The Winter Community Meeting of the Bonny Slope Community Organization was held Wednesday, January 30. A recording of the event as well as the slides are posted below.

BSCO Community Meeting

Date:  1.30.2019
Location:  BSE Library and Via Facebook Livestream
Archived Video: https://youtu.be/IQRRRFzJPR8

Jessica Canessa, Hannah Donohue, Jenna Dornblaser, Elia Freedman, Melissa Gatchell, Ashish Gupta, Julie Gupta, Katie Kammer, Taylor Kash, Kelly Kinzer, Allison Mair, Janet Maza, Ali Montelongo, Michelle Mulholland, Bitsy Parks, Sara Peters, Meagan Pham, Karen Rasor-Cohen, Josh Resch, Ellen Rothery, Carin Ruiz, Tiffany Sidwell, Tracy Siegel, Julie Stewart, Andrea Steyskal, Holly VanderPloeg, Jacob Whitehead, Stephanie Wilson

Call to Order At:  7:01pm


Approved minutes from 9/25/2018 community meeting


  • $22M, 20% reduction in operating budget is being managed well at BSE

  • 5th grade science school will not be overnight, per BSD policy.  However, an enriching 2 day science field trip is planned. The pancake breakfast fundraiser is 2/2

  • Immunization deadline.  After 2/20, students who are not current or with exemption on file cannot come to school

  • Winter highlights - 2nd grade field trip, 4-5th grade choir concert, various Community Outreach events including backpack program

  • Thank you from staff for ongoing BSCO staff appreciation events/treats


  • BSCO Survey Results

    • 30 responses -- thank you!

    • Requests to add STEM enrichment programs.  ThermoFisher grant will fund expansion of BSE makers space

    • Requests for weekend community meet ups

    • Acknowledged feedback in areas outside of BSCO's scope, such as adding aides in Kinder classrooms, dairy free lunches

  • '18-19 Budget Update: Teacher Grants, Matching Funds, Maker Space

    • Mature grant (funded 2 year in row):  5th grade newbery club, zoo transportation, nature mobile (K, living things unit(1)

    • Teacher funds:  7k out of 16.5k claimed by teachers

    • Teacher grants:  3k spent towards Oregon trail field trip costs, Headphones, Oregon Children's Theater tickets for 2nd grade

    • 2019-20 Board Applications

    • Several opportunities exist for upcoming school year as several board members will roll off their 2 year term.  All community members are eligible to apply. Applications due Apr 5.

SPECIAL GUEST, Tiffany Sidwell

  • Shared tips for how to talk to your student about the safety drills held at school, such as being available when your students wants to talk about it, identifying adults students can talk to, validating students' feelings

  • Janet spoke about the BSE staff's training, school features and things not even publicly disclosed, all of which are intended to keep students safe in real situations.  Local law enforcement officers have visited the campus to lead drills with the staff.

  • Ali and staff are attentive to rumors which may spread and quickly try to address rumors right away

  • At BSE during December's district wide lockout, staff tried to maintain routine within the classroom while following all the lockout procedures

SPECIAL GUEST, Bitsy Parks, BSE 1st Grade Teacher

  • Live demo of table and iPad stand and how it is used in the classroom.  The equipment was funded by BSCO teacher grant $

  • The set-up has positively changed the dynamic of her Bitsy's classroom - supporting her one on one and group interaction with the students, opening up the front space of the classroom and making her completely mobile/cordless within her classroom

SPECIAL GUEST, Julie Gupta, Matching Funds Report

  • Special Guest, Julie Gupta, Committee lead for BSCO Matching Funds, shared actual matching dollars YTD is at over $20k (against goal of $10k).  This already exceeds the amount reported at the end of the '17-18 school year. Significant impact to BSCO and matching contributions are starting to come in from new companies, such as Apple and MSFT.  Donations and volunteer hours are eligible for matching. See BSCO website for help resources for requesting match from your employer. Intel released some new guidelines for this calendar year.


  • Mark calendar for Auction, Sunday Apr 14, 5pm (scheduled to end before GOT season premier).  Fundraising goal is $25k. Committee welcomes any leads on donations for vacation rentals, hotels, season ticket holders, ect.  Still in need of 2nd and 4th grade auction art leads

  • JAT raised over $60k.  Trending to not need “Bridge the Gap.”


  • Upcoming Events:  Artist in Residence, Science Night 3/15, 5th Grade Pancake Breakfast 2/2

  • Ongoing Events:  Art Lit, Geo Club and Bobcat Trail Club

    • Geo club:  Next check day 1/31 - all grade levels

    • Art lit:   Mexican Folk art is up next

    • Community outreach committee:  BSE student/community participation in several great service activities throughout the winter.  More opportunities to come.

  • Special Guest, Josh Madrid, BSCO Artist in Residence Lead, (Ashish covered)

    • This year's Artist in Residence project will be led by Scrap PDX.  Resulting student art expected to line the wall above the circulation desk in the school library

    • Josh’s video here: https://youtu.be/5sohkiupBgU

    • Science Night, 3/15

    • Holly Vanderploeg shared plans for this year's Science Night on Fri, Mar 15.  Open to both student exhibitors and entire community.  Several vendors expected to attend event and feature makers' space tables, demos and other science inspired information.  $3 display boards for sale in office

DIRECTORS OF VOLUNTEERS REPORT, Stephanie Wilson and Michelle Mulholland

  • Current Volunteer Needs:

    • Pancake Breakfast 2/2,

    • Clothes Closet 2/20 9:15-4:30,

    • Hearing Screening 2/14 8:30-11,

    • OBOB through 2/21

  • Ongoing Needs:  Library, Geography Club

  • Library looking for help M, T, Th, Fr 8:30-3


  • Show and tell of one of the 5 Water Barrels purchased by BSCO for emergency preparedness

    • In a natural disaster, students/staff may lose access to clean water.  The water storage barrel (including siphon and water treatment kit) stores water up to 5 years and will be filled and stored in a locked shed on the school grounds.


Winter Community Meeting Slides

Bobcat Explorers Never Stop Exploring

By now you must have seen our Beautiful Bobcat Explorers Wall, next to the volunteer room. We received many great pictures and stories after the summer, but we want to continue receiving them.

Exploring the worlds various cultures, either from your hometown by visiting cultural festivals or by traveling the world, enriches us. With this project and wall, we want to share the fun experience of expanding your horizon. We want to awake and enthuse the Bobcat Explorer in all of us.

Think about the photo opportunity when visiting a monument or location, eating exotic food at a local food cart, or enjoying a folklore performance.  You might be discovering something or somewhere new, or a place with great historical importance. Think about a fun fact too, like how food is prepared or how people greet each other in a different manner. Of course you can be in the photograph, but don’t have to be.

Download the Bobcat Explorer Card For Your Photo here

Send your photograph to cultural@bonnyslopebsco.org. Add your name, the place where you took the photograph, together with your fun fact or what you have seen or learnt.  During this school year we continuously will share them on our Explorer Wall.

The Cultural Enrichment Bobcat Explorers team
Mara, Barbara & Marieke

Volunteers Needed for Beaverton Clothes Closet 2/20

Clothes Closet Volunteer.jpg

Come join fellow Bonny Slope Parents and Staff and volunteer at the Beaverton Clothes Closet.  The Clothes Closet is operated by volunteers from the School District's parent groups and Beaverton community to provide free clothing for students in grades K-12 from families with limited income. It's a truly wonderful experience to help children and families in our own community.  Shifts are for 2 hours and run from 9:15AM-4:30PM on Wednesday, Feb 20th.

Sign up here- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c4bafab2ba1fc1-2019

BSCO Board Seeks New Officers for 2019-20, Applications due Apr 5

Greetings amazing BSE community.  The BSCO Board is looking to fill several leadership positions for the 2019-20 BSCO Board, as officers roll off their term.

While every position is up for re-election, the confirmed openings are as follows:

  • President

  • Vice President

  • Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Director of Communications

  • Member at Large

While board members are encouraged to serve two years in a position, all positions are elected on an annual basis.  As restricted in our bylaws, no member can serve more than two consecutive years in a position. Given the large number of board members transitioning out of their role this year, the board is considering having a current board member stay one additional year in a different role in order to equal out the number of transitions each year.  The chart below outlines the responsibilities of each role.

If you are interested in the long-term vision and general attitude, atmosphere and culture of our parent organization, serving on BSCO’s board allows for an incredible amount of input.  Specifically, serving on the board allows you to:

  • Approve/deny all teacher grants

  • Approve/deny budget requests under $1,000

  • Direct input into writing BSCO’s annual budget

  • Direct input into special projects that exceed the annual budget

  • Direct input into scheduling BSCO’s Dates to Remember

  • Contribution to the overall goals of the Board – such as this year’s goals of building the volunteer pipeline, smarter giving and increased STEM oriented programs

The time commitment varies between positions, but the minimum requirements are:

  • Monthly Board meetings (averaging about 2 hrs each)

  • Three community meetings

  • Setting-up/picking-up at one Parent Education night per year

  • Participation in at least one August playdate or Back to School Night to meet new and returning families

All positions can be done by a working parent.  The bulk of all the positions (aside from the meetings) takes place online or via email.  Additionally, several of the current members rolling off this Board will still be parents at BSE next year, allowing for an ease of transition where new members can have veteran support to answer questions.

If you are interested in serving on the Board, please complete the online BSCO Board Application Form no later than Friday, April 5, 2019.  The 2019-20 ballot slate will be voted on during the final community meeting on Tuesday, May 21.  If you have any questions, please email Ashish Gupta, BSCO President, or this year’s nominating committee lead, Andrea Steyskal or any of the current board members.



  • Preside at all BSCO community meetings and at all BSCO Board meetings.  The president shall be an informal member of all committees.
  • Prepare and distribute the agenda for BSCO community meetings
  • Act as a liaison between BSCO and the Principal of BSE, with at least one private meeting annually.  The President serves as the representative for BSCO to the Administration of BSE.
  • Ensure representation of BSCO at all regular meetings of the District parent group officers’ meetings.
  • Monitor BSCO funds with the Treasurer to ensure appropriate transactions


  • Perform duties of the President in his/her absence
  • Act as a liaison between the fundraising committee leads and the Board
  • Ensure proper acknowledgements to all sponsors


  • Keep accurate record of official business transacted at each Board meeting and community meetings
  • Have on-hand at each meeting a copy of the Bylaws, minutes of previous meetings and a list of the committees and their chairs
  • Post the recorded meeting minutes for each community meeting within 2 weeks of the meeting date
  • File the annual report with the Oregon Secretary of State.  Renew yearly insurance coverage.
  • Oversee the election and ensure that each election is conducted in a fair manner.  Create the ballot used by BSCO to vote for officers


  • Receive all monies of BSCO, keep an accurate record of receipts and expenditures, and pay out funds in accordance with the approved budget
  • Present a financial statement at every Board and community meeting
  • Responsible for ensuring the filing of annual reports to the Internal Revenue Service
  • Maintain financial and audit records


  • Responsible for the BSCO website, updating current information and managing, soliciting and publishing content including blog posts
  • Administer email accounts assigned to BSCO Board members and Committee Leads
  • Serve as administrator of all official BSCO social media
  • Act as liaison with the BSE administration and front office for all community communication needs


  • Serve in a supportive role to the duties of the President and Board of Directors
  • Organize and/or provide support for any Board projects that further the mission of BSCO, based on the needs of the current year.  Examples include, but are not limited to community surveys, facility improvement projects and additional community outreach.
  • Remains vacant until all the other Director offices are filled.

Online applications can be found at:


DUE APRIL 5, 2019