School board gets updates on district special projects

Progress in several Salem-Keizer Public Schools matters was reported to the school board in a work session Tuesday, Jan. 28.

Administrators discussed the Office of Behavioral Learning, food services, Division 22 assurances and the Public Employees Retirement System.

Office of Behavioral Learning:

This office works with at-risk students in preventive and proactive ways, its director, David Fender, told the board. It involves counselors, psychologists, mental health therapists, social works and behavior specialists.

OBL has created tiered behavioral systems of support in all schools. It has embedded social-emotional learning within classroom instruction and measured student outcomes. It has developed a continuum of services that meet the varying needs of all students while supporting district staff.

Tier 3 is the 1-5% of students who need the most intervention, tier 2 is the 5-15% in the middle level, and tier 1 is the remaining 80-90%. Fender showed charts indicating progress in moving to lower tiers.

Food services:

Michael Wolfe, chief operating officer of the district, said the program, which is part of the National School Lunch Program, serves about 23,000 meals on any given school day. He told the board that the food service fund must stay in the black so the schools can keep all the facilities.

“We track those that don’t pay and are not on free or reduced lunch,” he said.

Wolfe distributed copies of charts showing the kinds of food the district must serve that meet or exceed the nutrition requirements set by the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) and the US Department of Agriculture. Charts also showed the meal patterns set for students at the K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade levels.

Division 22

Division 22, named for the middle digits in the 10-digit code of state administrative rules that guide elementary and secondary education in the state, consists of 54 rules. Assistant Superintendent Kraig Sproles gave as examples diploma requirements, district curricula and programs, state assessments, mandatory reporting, school sports, emergency plans and building safety and teacher and administrator evaluation.

The rules are periodically updated, Wolfe said. He added that occasionally school districts are not compliant with certain rules and must submit to ODE plans to reach compliance. For the 2018-19 submission, he said, Salem-Keizer was out of compliance with the elementary social studies curriculum and the elementary physical education and health standards. He noted that ODE has approved the district’s plan to reach compliance.


Wolfe said the significance of PERS costs to the budget is that they are the largest single benefit cost. The 2020-21 PERS rates did not change from 2019-20, he said, because the PERS board always sets them for the biennium.