Day: June 12, 2014

Grant for Big Toy denied

  By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Early on, one key grant was the target for the Big Toy play structure project at Keizer Rapids Park. On Thursday, city leaders learned their $150,000 application to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Local Government Grant program was denied. Nate Brown, the director of Community Development for Keizer who submitted the application and presented to OPRD officials last week, confirmed the project was denied. “We were denied funding,” Brown said Thursday morning. “We were ranked No. 12 out of 36 applications, with only the top nine getting funding. We had a good showing. There were lots of qualities that gave us points.” Brown acknowledged he had concerns following his presentation. “It was hard for me to read them,” he said of OPRD officials. “I was trying to read their body language. I read the body language and tone as being pretty critical. I was concerned. But you always get stressed when you make these presentations. It’s always stressful to make a sales pitch.” Marlene Quinn, the Keizer City Councilor who has been chairing the project, called it a “little maddening” to not get the funding, but pointed out other options are available. “They didn’t have as much money to give this year,” Quinn said Thursday. “We’re going to try for more grants. We’ve been getting sponsorships. We’re going to be OK.”...

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School board hunts for new funding sources

By HERB SWETT For the Keizertimes Ways to increase funding for schools were the main subjects of a work session of the state’s three largest school districts May 28 at the Local Government Center in Salem. Most of the school board members and a few administrators participated. The three largest districts are, in order, Portland Public Schools, the Salem-Keizer School District and the Beaverton School District. All the Salem-Keizer directors except Rick Kimball and Jeff Faville were there, as were Christy Perry, who will become superintendent July 1, and Mary Paulson, chief of staff. Among the topics were impacts on high-poverty areas, funding for preschools, criteria for measuring achievement, full-day kindergarten, physical education requirements, funding for career and technical education, and possible lobbying of Oregon’s congressional delegation. Jim Green, chair of the Salem-Keizer board, told the participants from the two other districts about Salem-Keizer’s policy governance system, which focuses on student achievement and holds the superintendent accountable for it. He also told them of the district’s strategic plan, on which the superintendent’s budget proposal is based. Nancy MacMorris-Adix, a Salem-Keizer director, asked whether legislators understand what money that is well spent on education does. Green replied, “It depends on which individual legislator you speak to.”  He suggested having legislators visit classrooms to learn what is going on. Green added that the Oregon School Boards Association is reinstituting its legislative...

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They’ve got the Write stuff

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes Amanda Warner was pretty giddy. So was her mom, Michelle. The hard part was figuring out who was more excited. Amanda, a senior at McNary High School, was with fellow The Write Club members May 29 when they opened the box containing hardback copies of the book The Paperside Gathering, filled with short pieces by club members. The club, formed three years ago by Keizertimes associate editor Eric Howald, allows students to explore their creative writing side. Pieces from throughout the school year are gathered and put into the book, unveiled at the end of the year. A $530 grant from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, plus additional funding from the newspaper, allowed everyone to get a hardcover copy of the book this year. “Actually having it in my hand, my hands are shaking,” said Amanda, who had six pieces in the book plus the back cover. “It’s so cool to see it altogether like this. The group was bigger last year. It was more intimate this year. It felt more like a family.” Michelle proudly read her daughter’s pieces and immediately started figuring out how many copies of the book to buy for family members. “I think it’s wonderful,” Michelle said. “She’s so excited. I want to buy a whole box of the books. This renews your faith in teenagers. It’s...

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