School district eyes changes to traffic around Whiteaker

Easing traffic around Whiteaker Middle School was the purpose of a property transaction proposal approved by the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday, March 12.

The project would be part of the city of Keizer’s Transportation Systems Plan and would add a dedicated right turn lane for westbound traffic on Lockhaven Drive to turn north onto 14th Avenue.

An additional right-of-way along the front of the campus is needed for the project, which would not reduce parking space or access to Lockhaven Drive. The city would pay all project costs.

Also approved for first reading was the proposed purchase of Auburn Park from Marion County. The park area, about 4.37 acres, would support the expansion of Auburn Elementary School. The appraised value is $360,000 and the district is prepared to pay up to $15,000 in additional appraisals that the county would need to find suitable replacement park lands.

In other business, the board accepted the overall positive evaluation of Superintendent Christy Perry’s performance for the 2017-18 school year. The board also approved three-year contracts, effective July 1, for John Beight, executive director, human resources; and Michael Wolfe, chief operating officer. Director Paul Kyllo was the only board member to vote against the contracts and declined to state his reasons.

The board accepted six grants, five of them through the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and four of the five involved federal programs. The largest grant of the four, which is $2,675,572, aims at helping students in schools with high percentages of poverty meet challenging state academic standards. The other three grants are $27,005, $459,076 and $54,009 respectively for the three phases of the District Engagement involving studies for improving education.

Also from ODE is $2,218 for support of students with disabilities. The grant not involving ODE is $152,000 from the Community Resource Trust for innovations and practices to improve student achievement at McKay and North Salem high schools.

The board designated April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

It approved contracts for hundreds of teachers and administrators in the district.