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Board Meeting Summary: Aug. 5, 2020

Aug. 5, 2020

School Board Regular Meeting

On Wednesday, Aug. 5, the school board held its first meeting of the new school year.

In an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 and in compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s Executive Orders 20-12 (Stay Home, Save Lives) and 20-16 (Keep Government Working), the meeting was held virtually. The meeting was open to the public via live radio broadcast on KRVM 1280-AM and via the internet at www.4j.lane.edu/stream. Public comment was received via email.

Regular Meeting

Introductory Comments

Interim Superintendent Cydney Vandercar opened the first meeting of the new school year noting that it will continue to be an exceptionally challenging time for the district and community and that the new school year will be unlike any other before. She said the district is deep in planning before K–12 education resumes on Sept. 14 with comprehensive distance learning, with hopes of later bringing students back to school buildings when public health conditions allow.

Board Chair Mary Walston said that to say that the nation is in an unprecedented time is an understatement at best, and she mourns the loss of educational opportunities for students. She said that failure is not an option and the community and district must work with what it has to navigate through these challenging times.

Items for Information (no board action is expected to be taken)

• Received an update on the district plan for returning to learning: Superintendent Vandercar and district staff outlined in detail 4J’s ongoing planning to resume K–12 education this fall in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, a comprehensive strategy to protect the safety and welfare of students, staff and community members, while continuing to provide quality, flexible learning and needed supports. Teachers will provide comprehensive distance learning to students online through at least Dec. 7, the end of the academic year’s first trimester, before potentially resuming learning in school buildings with a “hybrid” model of alternating groups of students learning on-site. Board members asked a range of questions about the current plan, including students’ academic schedules, equity, grading and credit, and the future of Student Success Act funding. (overview) (presentation slides)

Items for Future Action (board action is expected at a later meeting)

• None

Items for Action

•  Approved changes to the 2020–21 school year calendar: The board approved revised school calendars changing the first day of school of the 2020–21 school year for elementary, middle and high schools to Sept. 14, to provide additional time for teachers to prepare for comprehensive distance learning. The vote was unanimous.

Approved solicitation for superintendent search firms: The board authorized an Informal Request for Proposals for a search firm to lead the recruitment for a permanent superintendent who would start work on July 1, 2021. The board is scheduled to select the search firm in October. The vote was unanimous.

• Approved items on the consent agenda: The board authorized the purchase of 4,500 iPads and cases to replace aging devices for K–2 students to access online learning; approved awards for two bond-funded projects: replacement of the North Eugene High School softball complex, including its turf field, and the award for the architect and CM/GC contractor for the Gilham Elementary School expansion project; signed off on an amended resolution related to the refunding of general obligation bonds; and approved the official minutes from the May 20, May 27, June 3, and June 24 board meetings. The vote was unanimous.

Approved purchase of expanded licenses for DreamBox supplemental online math curriculum:  The board pulled this item from the consent agenda for discussion at board member Gordon Lafer’s request. After discussion, the board approved the purchase of licenses for use of the DreamBox supplemental online math curriculum by middle schoolers and special education students. The supplemental curriculum software already is provided for use by 4J elementary schools and has been separately purchased by several of the district’s middle schools. The district purchase of expanded licenses will make the online software available as an option for teachers and students in all 4J middle schools, and for up to 100 high school students receiving special education services, without continuing to expend school-level or grant funds. The vote was 5–2, with board members Gordon Lafer and Martina Shabram voting no. 

Public Input

Public comment was submitted via email to board@4j.lane.edu. The board received about 300 comments, mostly regarding the district’s developing plans for the new school year. The board read, reviewed and took into consideration all comments submitted by email by 12 p.m. the day of the meeting.

Agenda and Materials

Aug. 5 agenda and materials
Aug. 5 board meeting recording


NOTE:  This is a quick summary of the topics and actions at a meeting of the school board. This document is NOT the official minutes of the school board. Official minutes are posted after they are drafted, reviewed and approved by the board. Recordings of meetings are posted within two days after the meeting. 

School Board Meeting Schedule & Information

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