SKPS board approves $1.2 billion budget

Final budget approval and the promotions of two administrators to assistant superintendent were the highlights of one of the more eventful Salem-Keizer School Board meetings on Tuesday night.

The total budget of $1,205,712,966 calls for a property tax at the rate of $4.521 per $1,000 assessed value. The assistant superintendents are Linda Myers of Keizer, who remains the district’s director of strategic development, and Kraig Sproles of Corvallis, who keeps his position of director of academic achievement.

Only four board members were in attendance, but chairperson Kathy Goss and director Chuck Lee communicated by telephone. Director Jim Green was unavailable.

Director Paul Kyllo cast the only vote against final budget passage, saying there had not been enough communication with board members. He also cast the only negative vote on approving the assistant superintendent appointments, saying he had nothing against Myers or Sproles but complaining of lack of transparency there as well.

Final passage also came on providing tax exemptions, at the request of the city of Salem, for multiple-unit housing in Salem. Negative votes came from Kyllo and director Jesse Lippold, both of whom said the money would not go toward education. Vice chairperson Sheronne Blasi, presiding in Goss’s absence, said it was a matter of addressing urban blight and an opportunity for the district to support livable spaces.

The board granted a permanent easement for the Keizer Water District to use a water well and a pump station on the McNary High School grounds for the city’s drinking water supply.

Also approved for final action were support of a continuum of care to provide federal funds for the homeless, and the results of the recent School Board election. Director Marty Heyen was re-elected from Zone 2, Satya Chandragiri won the Zone 4 seat for which Green did not seek re-election, and Danielle Bethell defeated Lee’s re-election bid in the Keizer area’s Zone 6.

The board accepted grants of $166,816 from the U.S. Department of Education for various needs of American Indian/Alaskan Native students, $30,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation for similar purposes, and $3,100 from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund for a Pow Wow presentation for selected fourth-grade classes.

Of the personnel actions approved by the board, the following involve the McNary attendance area:

• Temporary full-time status for Christiana Rauch, Weddle Elementary School; Laura Spisla, Claggett Creek Middle School; and Brice Watterud, McNary.

• First-year probation full-time status for Joseph-Daniel Boyd and Jessica Rist, McNary; and Cierra LaBounty, Claggett Creek.

• Second-year probation full-time status for Britney Griffith, Keizer Elementary School; Kevan Johnson, Claggett Creek; Kyla Moeller, Whiteaker Middle School; and Julie Morgan, McNary.

• Resignations of Franklin Gauntz and Jason Heimerdinger, McNary.

The board designated June as LGBTQ Pride Month. It was the first time a proclamation of its kind was passed in SKPS. Members of the McNary High Gay-Straight Alliance and the Salem Chapter of PFLAG were on hand to accept the proclamation.

In the Spotlight on Success portion of the meeting, Mary Lou Boderman, coordinator of district music and drama school education, recognized the McNary band for winning second place in state competition.