March 2019 Principal Chat.... REVEALED: It's Gonna Hurt

Sadly, it appears that each progressive principal chat brings us more dire news surrounding the impending budget cuts.  It’s round three and the latest forecast has Janet sharing some tough news.

“It’s gonna hurt.”

How badly?  And where? And why? Let’s dive in.

March BSD Budget Video: The Cliff Notes

BSD recently shared a video of Dan Grotting, Beaverton School District superintendent, discussing the latest budget landscape.  If you’ve been keeping up previously, there isn’t a lot of new info. But if this budget shortfall is somehow news to you, it’s worth 12 minutes of your time.

Oh fine.  Don’t watch. Here’s all the info.

Budget Based on Governor’s Projection

BSD will base their 2019-20 budget off Gov. Kate Brown’s projected $8.97 billion allocation for K-12 education. You can read what the critics are saying regarding that number HERE. Even though this is an 8.1% increase overall, it will not fund schools at the current service level.

This projected state number equals a $35million deficit for BSD going into 2019-20.  This is BEFORE the certified staff contract negotiations, meaning that doesn’t include any rollup cost or cost of living increase for our certified staff.

The Perfect Storm: Causes of Budget Deficit

Half of the budget deficit can be attributed to PERS.  One third of every state educational dollar goes to supporting the increase in PERS.  Also, only 40% of PERS recipients are school employees. The rest are city, county, and state government workers.

PERS reform has already been taken through the Oregon Supreme court, where PERS benefits were ruled a contract between the state and its employees and cannot be changed retroactively. These increases will be felt for the next THREE biennium budgets (six years). Yes, you read that right.  SIX YEARS.

Another significant portion of the deficit is attributed to Oregon’s Equal Pay Act, which went into effect on Jan 1. Salaries in BSD are being adjusted accordingly.

Finally, rising house prices and cost of living increases are pushing our students of poverty further and further out of Beaverton, equaling less money from the state.

Beaverton Investments UNSUSTAINABLE

In the past several years, Beaverton has invested in our students in various ways– largest number of school days (184), development of early childhood education programs in elementaries, additional career and tech education in the high schools, and funding for additional resources for the socio/emotional needs on the rise in students.  

However, BSD will be unable to sustain these investments.  As Mr. Grotting put it, ”None of these cuts are good for kids.”

(sigh)

No Quick Fix

The timing of all this is not ideal.  BSD must have their budget finalized and ready by June 30th, when the Oregon legislative session doesn’t start until the first of June.  Therefore, any tax package or reform created during that summer session wouldn’t be presented to voters until November, so IF the legislature agrees on changes, and IF those reforms are approved by voters, the relief wouldn’t be felt until spring 2020.

Lovely.

The Bright Side

Even with this impending armageddon, BSD still has some pros that will help it retains its position as a top Oregon school district, including:

  • Competitive salary schedule to attract top teachers

  • Early childhood education to manage the learning gap before it’s too large

  • The recent local option levy that supports acceptable class sizes

  • Recent bond that funds BSD’s infrastructure (meaning very little of our budget is used on improving current buildings and can be used for sheer education)

  • Option programs that give students and families a choice in middle and high schools

  • Career and tech programs

  • Dual credit, AP, & IB in our high schools

“We’re gonna feel it.”

Janet didn’t mince words as she prepped us with what to expect.  While all specifics are not known or publicly available, we can reasonably expect fewer support staff and a shortened school year, and the very real possibility of losing our PYP funding.  Class sizes will go up.

Teacher layoffs are also on the horizon for newly hired positions, who will be impacted first. While it won’t be as disruptive as the 2012 debacle, there may very well be a shift in staffing as teachers/staff are moved throughout the district at all levels. And we won’t know any of this until late summer.  JOY.

Plot Twist

And to make this year even MORE dramatic, contract negotiations are happening this spring between our teachers union and the District.  No decision on teacher movement will be made until these contracts are finalized. And remember, this current deficit number doesn’t include any rollup cost or cost of living increase for our certified staff.

The new contract must be approved by the BSD School Board and then is voted on by members, which should take place this June.

Phew! After all that, let’s move on to some less depressing topics…

Volunteering In the Classroom:  What’s Normal?

Bonny Slope does not have an overall, umbrella policy when it comes to the frequency of volunteer opportunities within the classroom.  Volunteer opportunities are driven by each individual teacher, and while some welcome any and all parents for many exciting, heart-pumping projects, others are more compact and controlled in what they need and expect from parents.

However, in general, volunteering does change as your child gets older.  Younger grades generally need more help with more intense art/production needs, while everything becomes more streamlined within the higher grades.  The general consensus in the room was that as your child ages, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities within the classroom working one-on-one with students.

Class List Modus Operandi

Always a hot topic among parents.  How EXACTLY are these class rosters created?  Well, it follows this basic model:

  • At the end of the year, all teachers from one grade collaborate to create equal sections for next year.  For example, the first grade teachers get together and discuss/review their students and put them into lists for next year’s second grade.

  • The lists should be as balanced as possible, meaning each should have an equal amount of girl/boy ratios, special ed students, ELL students, etc.

  • Once created, the lists are then given to the specialists, counselor and school psychologist to ensure a proper balance and that known personality conflicts are avoided.

  • Lists are not finalized until the week before school begins as new students are added.

Other Juicy Tidbits:

  • Art Lit’s culture lesson this year is Mexico!  Students can get excited for a lot of fun activities in April, including a Mariachi band, a taco tasting, and Mexican-themed art lit projects.

  • Parents looking for specific units of PYP can head over to the bulletin board outside the cafeteria and gym doors.

  • Our very own vice principal, Ali Montelongo, has been named principal of Cooper Mountain Elementary!

And that’s a wrap! Join us for our April Principal Chat on Friday, 4/26 at 2pm, with Cedar Park principal, Shannon Anderson.

BSCO Board Meeting Snapshot & Treasurer’s Report: April 8, 2019

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In an effort to maintain transparency between the BSCO Board and the BSE community, a monthly snapshot will be published of the various topics discussed at the Board's monthly meetings.  These are not official minutes or a detailed description, but rather a window into the discussion and voting results of the Board

April Meeting-- 4/8/2019

Cruising into the final months of the school year, the board spent time preparing for the 2019/20 school year.  This includes drafting the budget, discussing the calendar, identifying committee lead needs and preparing for board leadership transitions.  Feedback and plans were shared from the community listening sessions held early in the month.

Ellen Rothery, VP of Fundraising, shared some of the final details coming together for this year's auction on April 14th at Top Golf.  To date, 132 tickets have been sold. Some additional sales are expected after final email reminders go out this week and an invite goes out to incoming kindergarten families at the Kindergarten Round up on Wednesday.  Over 85 teacher experiences (for all K-4 students) have already been purchased. One of the biggest and most exciting new features for this year's event is online bidding enabled via mobile devices. Auction attendees will be able to set auto-bid thresholds and see real time bidding from their device.  In order to help community members get acquainted with the interface, the live auction site will be emailed to ticketed attendees in advance of Sunday evening's event. In addition to an amazing collection of grade-level art pieces, there are over 70 packages for bid and a extensive dine and dash offering where you can't lose.  Auction attendees will also be able to sign up for any of the always popular, new and returning adult sign-up parties. This year's event will spotlight fundraising for BSE's STEM enrichment programs. These donations are 100% tax deductible and progress to the $5k goal will be visible throughout the event.

Ashish Gupta, President, reported on the drafted 2019-20 budget, which will go up for community vote during the final BSCO community meeting on May 21st.  The various student enrichment, programs and events supported by the current budget are expected to appear on next year's budget. Community feedback from the recent listening sessions was supportive of the extensive list of committees supported by BSCO dollars and led by our community members.  There is a proposal to increase the budget for teacher grants, which are dollars getting spent and going straight to classroom support needs, student field trips and other enrichment items. Although the impact of BSD budget cuts won't be known until the end of the year, the BSCO board has proactively reached out to Janet and staff for funding ideas and needs.

Director of Volunteers, Stephanie Wilson and Michelle Mulholland, are preparing for the last classroom parties of the year.  Because classes have traditionally enjoyed using outdoor space for the final party of the year, the different fields and undercover areas have to be reserved and shared across the different grades.  The carnival is also quickly approaching and more information will be coming to the BSCO bulletin board soon. Once again and in collaboration with Mr. Vaughn, the Community Outreach committee is looking to give volunteer support to this year's Barnes Elementary JAT/Field day event in May.  Looking ahead to next year, there are a number of opportunities for those in the community looking to contribute in a very meaningful way, including several committee lead and co-lead positions. BSCO's extensive list of committees support a number of programs which set BSE apart from other schools, but they do need help from the community.

The 2019-20 BSCO board slate is taking shape.  Aside from Member at Large, there are candidates for all positions currently filled by individuals who will transition off the board after serving 2 years.  The full slate will be voted on at the May community meeting and communicated in advance.

Josh Resch, Director of Communications, has made steady progress on the permanent installation of BSE's water barrels.  The lockable shed which was purchased to store the 5 barrels will need to be elevated off the pavement in order to avoid build up of run off.  This is expected to be the final step before the barrels are filled, treated and stored.

BSCO Board Meeting Snapshot & Treasurer’s Report: March 4, 2019

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In an effort to maintain transparency between the BSCO Board and the BSE community, a monthly snapshot will be published of the various topics discussed at the Board's monthly meetings.  These are not official minutes or a detailed description, but rather a window into the discussion and voting results of the Board.

March Meeting-- 3/4/2019

Cruising into spring and the final months of the school year, the board has begun to prepare for the 2019-20 school year.  This includes discussing changes to the budget, identifying committee lead needs and preparing for board leadership transitions.  Both principal, Janet Maza, and assistant principal, Ali Montelongo, were present and offered feedback on the BSCO budget and gave some insight on the BSD budget challenges, likely to translate to some changes in the 2019-20 school year.  They were excited to share the outstanding final report BSE received from the IB committee. After a thorough assessment of PYP at BSE, including dialogue with community members, students and staff, the IB team applauded BSE's implementation of the International Baccalaureate elementary years education.  No "matters" were identified.

Initial discussions and inputs have started on the 2019-20 BSCO budget which will eventually go up for community vote during the final BSCO community meeting on May 21st.  President, Ashish Gupta, had the opportunity to collect input from teachers/staff members in a mid-year check-in last month. Community listening sessions planned for 4/3. The budget size for 5th grade science school will likely be scaled back, given the new non-overnight format.  The first group enjoyed their experience, attending an off-site 2-day program led by Trackers. Entirely outdoors, the 5th graders studied and witnessed beaver habitats and behaviors, as well as worked in teams to design, build and test their own structures. The board discussed funding options, including STEM related projects, technology refresh needs, library updates and emergency preparedness expansion.  The board also discussed increase to the budget for teacher grants, which often fund supplies and student enrichment which directly touch our students.

Director of Committees, Katie Kammer, shared various committee lead openings.  There are a number of opportunities for those in the community looking to contribute in a very meaningful way, including OBOB, Bobcat Trail club, Carnival and 5th grade Activities/Pancake Breakfast.  In addition to the committee lead opportunities, candidates for several board positions are needed. There are 6 members transitioning, including President, VP of Fundraising, Member at Large, Secretary, Treasurer and Director of Communications.  In order to prepare for the ballot vote at the May 21st community meeting, online applications need to be submitted by 4/5. All board members may be contacted directly regarding any questions from interested candidates.

Ellen Rothery, VP of Fundraising, shared the excellent progress being made in preparation for this year's auction on April 14th.  The auction site is live. Community members can purchase tickets and grade level student/teacher experiences, as well as make donations.  The wine tasting and donation event is Friday, March 8th, at Erin's Wine Cellar.

And believe it or not, the time is near for planning end of the year classroom parties.  Directors of Volunteers, Michelle Mulholland and Stephanie Wilson, will begin space planning for grade level parties.  As in years past, many grades opt for outdoor parties, using the various grassy fields and covered areas on school grounds.  

February 2019 Principal Chat... REVEALED: The Budget Bleeding Continues

Thought last month’s budget doomsday chat was no fun?  Here’s round two!

BSD Budget = Brink of Armageddon

Since our last principal chat, the projected shortfall for 2019-20 has ballooned to $35 million.  So no, parents, you are not allowed to stick your head in the sand for this one. ALL SCHOOLS will feel the pain next year.  The only question is-- how bad will it hurt?

Let’s take a look at some specifics and possible outcomes so we can all prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario:

Ballooning Deficit

Why is this shortfall getting bigger? Well, the state legislature work sessions and Beaverton School District calendars don’t quite line up.  The state won’t have their budget finalized until the summer, while Beaverton School District needs its budget completed by April.

So…. that means BSD is making its best guess on what the state contribution will be and they are erroring on this side of total epic chaos.

Class Size Increase

Bonny Slope already has some of the highest average classrooms in the district, but those could climb higher. The district has predicted 20 more students at BSE next year, but the true test will be how those numbers will be applied to each grade.

Parents should prepare themselves for the real possibility that our grades may go over 30 students per classroom. We’ve lived through that before and while not optimal, our teachers, staff, and parents have always battened down the hatches and made it work. Because that’s what educational heroes do.

However, class numbers will not be available until after contract negotiations are finalized and the state releases their budget. So… could be late summer before the picture clears.

Lose of Vice Principals

Yes, all elementary schools may lose their vice principals next year.  While a total and complete shame, Janet has previously handled being the lone administrator at Bonny Slope.

Loss of PYP

Yes, all PYP programs may get the ax.  That would eliminate both the PYP coordinator (.5 employee) and the Spanish teacher (1.0 employee), plus the additional PYP trainings needed for our teachers. Janet and all the other PYP principals have pleaded their case to the budget committee, but time will tell how the chips fall.

Is all lost? Well, not necessarily.  Other schools across the country have managed to make it work, even through these types of cuts, but it will be different and most likely, difficult, to retain our IB certification.

BSD’s STEAM programs (like Bethany Elementary) and expeditionary learning programs (like Springville) are also on the chopping block.

Change in Calendar

Nothing is off limits-- change of start date and/or end date, loss of conferences, loss of early release… We just don’t know and we won’t know for awhile.

Other Juicy Tidbits:

  • The new middle school boundaries are still up in the air.  No one, not even Janet, knows how those will shake out.

  • International Home Language Day was a huge success thanks to Jen Oordt, our PYP coordinator, and the team of dedicated parents from our Cultural Awareness Committee.  Various items and rooms are labeled throughout the building in 12 languages so check it out! International speakers and community members visited the classrooms to make it a truly inspired day.

  • March 2 is Dr. Seuss Read Across America and of course, our former secretary, Laurie Bishop, will be back to speed read Green Eggs & Ham.  And this time, it’ll be read in Spanish as well.  Side note: this already happened and while Ms. Bishop didn’t break her record, it was still a hoot.

  • Staff Appreciation boosted morale with their February smoothie deliveries.  Jamba!

And that’s a wrap!  See on you Friday, 3/22 at 2pm for the next exciting Principal Chat.  



BSCO Board Meeting Snapshot & Treasurer’s Report: February 4, 2019

In an effort to maintain transparency between the BSCO Board and the BSE community, a monthly snapshot will be published of the various topics discussed at the Board's monthly meetings.  These are not official minutes or a detailed description, but rather a window into the discussion and voting results of the Board.

February Meeting--2/4/2019

Notwithstanding the freezing temperatures and first snowflakes of the season, the board met Monday evening to discuss initial plans for the next school year, auction preparation, upcoming board member vacancies and a number of other areas of business.  A lot of great progress continues on building out BSE's water storage plan for emergency preparedness. After selecting and purchasing 5 water storage barrels, there is now a floored shed and location approved for the barrel storage. The capacity of the shed will accommodate 4 additional barrels which could be something the Board proposes to fund in the coming year.

President, Ashish Gupta, facilitated some initial discussion around budget and project planning for the upcoming calendar year.  In addition to existing committee/program support and continued free admission to Monster Mash and Carnival, other funding opportunities such as increased teacher grants, continued makers space build out, improved cell coverage inside of the school, and other capital updates/improvements were discussed.  Exact plans are pending final fundraising results.

Five BSCO board member positions are slated for re-election prior to the start of the 2019/20 school year.  These include President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Member at Large. The time is now to get the word out on these opportunities.  All roles are open to any interested community members and they offer meaningful and exciting ways to be a voice and contributor in the BSCO programs at BSE, as well as team with fellow board members.  More communications are planned. Application form and full description of the positions are accessible at the BSCO website under business. New board members will be voted on during the final 2018-19 community meeting on May 21.

The auction planning is in full swing.  Ellen Rothery, Vice President of Fundraising, reported the current focus of the committee is on securing sponsorship.  The committee is also constantly looking for more donations of restaurant certificates, event tickets and other silent auction package items.  Along with a new venue for this year, the team is also planning to enable a mobile online bidding application for the first time. Save the date communications went home with students last month.

Katie Kammer, Director of Committees, shared plans for BSE's annual Science Night on Friday, Mar 15th.  Similar to last year, the event will feature an impressive number of science demos and booths from local vendors and organizations, as well as makers spaces for hands-on creating, inventing and learning.  The call for student exhibits is open and project entries should be submitted online.  It’s a fun and unique experience for any age participant.  Katie also shared committee lead vacancies for the coming school year, including Carnival, Walk to School and Coder in Residence.

The community is invited to view the current financials here.

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

Attendance:
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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Approved minutes from 9/25/2018 community meeting

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT, Janet Maza

  • $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

PRESIDENT'S REPORT, Ashish Gupta

  • 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.


VICE PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING REPORT, Ellen Rothery

  • 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.”

DIRECTOR OF COMMITTEES REPORT, Katie Kammer

  • 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

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, Josh Resch

  • 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.

ADJOURNMENT :  8:10pm


Winter Community Meeting Slides

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 $22 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 $22M 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. Confused about lockouts versus lockdowns? Here’s some handy info.

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

  • 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.



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

Attendance:
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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Approved minutes from 9/25/2018 community meeting

PRINCIPAL’S REPORT, Janet Maza

  • $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

PRESIDENT'S REPORT, Ashish Gupta

  • 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.


VICE PRESIDENT OF FUNDRAISING REPORT, Ellen Rothery

  • 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.”

DIRECTOR OF COMMITTEES REPORT, Katie Kammer

  • 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

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, Josh Resch

  • 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.

ADJOURNMENT :  8:10pm


Winter Community Meeting Slides

October 2018 Principal Chat.... REVEALED

October’s Principal Chat was a cozy affair with all the usual suspects.  Let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

Early Release Police

We are in year two of the glorious Early Release Wednesdays.  Wondering what teachers are REALLY doing every Wednesday afternoon?  Well, Janet’s here to give us a glimpse of what really happens when all the minions have left the building.  

First, let’s talk schedules.  Each Wednesday’s focus is designated by the District.

  • 1st Wednesday– Admin-Directed, meaning Janet & Ali facilitate and manage this Wednesday training for the staff.  These first Wednesdays this school year have included the state-mandated curriculum for Erin’s Law, which requires all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program.

  • 2nd Wednesday– Team Collaboration, meaning grade level teams meet to go over specific curriculum, projects, students, methods, or anything else that better creates a cohesive team and grade.

  • 3rd WednesdayProfessional Development by the District.  These trainings are held throughout different schools and teachers can sign up for whichever ones they need.

  • 4th WednesdayIndividual Team Collaboration

  • 5th Wednesday (the Blue Moon)– Teachers are on their own to decide.

Different teams focus on the specific needs of their grade.  Some examples this year have been strengthening parent relationships through goal setting, strategies to promote math fluency, and the “three act tasks,” where teachers record student methods to better learn the child’s brain method.

Informative FAQ regarding Early Release

Rocked Reauthorization

The IB bigwigs came to town and LOVED what they were seeing at Bonny Slope.  Every five years, IB schools are reauthorized, meaning IB central comes out to verify that the school is applying the IB methods correctly.  The high level of inquiry instruction found at BSE was impressive and we walked away with some minor feedback and lots of kudos.

Other Juicy Tidbits

  • Bonny Slope’s recent community outreach initiative, the Backpack Project, has been a huge success.  Tons of canned food came in over conferences and the school’s food pantry is already full, ready to be sent home via backpack to families that need a boost.

  • No Outdoor School for BSE fifth graders this year, per BSD’s new no overnight rule for elementary students.  The school is looking into doing Science School (like last year), but it would just be a day trip.

  • Our state & districts funding woes are not over IN THE SLIGHTEST, folks. Beaverton SD is again facing some serious decisions for next year, as every district in the state will again be facing a budget shortfall.


And that’s a wrap, America! Join us on Friday, 11/16 at 2pm for our next exciting adventure with Janet and Ali.

BSCO Board Meeting Snapshot - October 2018

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BSCO Board Meeting Snapshot & Treasurer’s Report: October 1, 2018

In an effort to maintain transparency between the BSCO Board and the BSE community, a monthly snapshot will be published of the various topics discussed at the Board's monthly meetings.  These are not official minutes or a detailed description, but rather a window into the discussion and voting results of the Board

October Meeting-- 10/1/2018

With the new school year now in full swing, the board met on the first of October to recap the first community meeting of the year and discuss a number of topics.  Melissa Gatchell, BSCO Treasurer, was unable to attend.

Ashish Gupta, President, shared updates on a number of projects in the 2018-19 budget.  For STEM in residence, Saturday Academy is slated to deliver multiple coding sessions to 3rd-5th grade students.  This vendor is experienced in providing coding instruction in other local elementary schools and received very positive feedback from our own BSE students last year.  Plans for grades K-2 are still being formulated. Additionally, Thermo Fisher Scientific awarded BSCO with a grant of $2,000 to support development of a maker space and science enrichment at BSE.

In response to the funds budgeted for emergency preparedness, board member, Josh Resch, guided the board through his research of water storage drum options.  The board agreed with his recommendation to procure 5 55-gallon drums along with water treatments and a couple of siphon kits. While there is a location identified for the drums, securing the drums will require some additional planning.  Additionally, in the coming weeks, each classroom and specials room will be supplied 2 gallons of water.

In an effort to organize materials/supplies across the various committees and enable more re-use year over year, there are organization efforts planned for the volunteer room.  While a long lead time FIP would delay installation of cabinets, gorilla rack/totes can offer immediate improvement.

BSCO's first and largest fundraiser of the year, Jog-a-thon, continued to gain momentum over the last several weeks.  Per Ellen Rothery, VP of Fundraising, and as of October 1st, several classrooms were well on their way to reaching 80% participation and pledges exceeded $25k.  This impressive result is ahead of where last year's JAT was at a similar time relative to the event date and fares well for meeting the fundraiser's goal of $40k.  In only a week’s time, these dollar results have nearly doubled! [Latest update is here.]  Another family movie night is calendared for Friday, Nov 30th.  This event celebrates the community funded gym projector and features a family friendly PG/G-rated title TBD.  Doors are expected to open at 6:30 and the movie rolls at 7pm.

Michelle Mulholland and Stephanie Wilson, Directors of Volunteers, reported 100% of the classroom coordinator roles are already filled and training was provided.  There is some good progress on filling party coordinator roles but there is more work to do in the coming weeks.

Director of Committees, Katie Kammer, recognized the work of numerous committee leads and volunteers preparing for several upcoming events, including the first Parent Ed night on 10/9, Walk to School day on 10/10, BSE's first author visit on 10/10, Scholastic Book Fair and the popular school-wide Monster Mash party on 10/19.  An evening event, open and free to all students and their families, the Monster Mash is a large undertaking. The community's help is critical to putting on an event of this size. A push for volunteers will continue in the coming weeks.

Thanks to Josh Resch, Director of Communications, the BSCO site now features a more modern and sophisticated google search capability.  Compared to the prior search, this search engine is much improved and search results are ordered by most recent date.

The current financials are available to review here.