Posts made in January, 2014

Last night’s Lowell School Board meeting

Posted by on Jan 28, 2014 in Blog

I attended Lowell’s board meeting last night and was once again impressed by the new direction they are taking. Here are some of the items they are moving forward with:

  • Replacing the roof on the west wing of Lundy.
  • Residing and painting Lundy and the high school.
  • Replacing all of the windows in Lundy and the high school.
  • Having 1 teacher per grade next year at Lundy.
  • Working towards a ratio of 20 students per teacher for grades K-6.

They used the word “marketing our school” multiple times. I think this is great, and that they are positioning themselves to be a very competitive school for not only resident students, but also nonresident students.

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Lowell presenting the contract to their board

Posted by on Jan 25, 2014 in Blog

I’ve received word from Lowell’s attorney that in order to give the parties time to work out the remaining details, Walt won’t be bringing the contract to the board on Jan. 27th; instead, they anticipate scheduling a special board meeting when both the contract and the lease are ready for board approval.

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Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Blog

The first time we met with Lowell’s attorney, she mentioned that we could apply for a waiver to ensure that the children of founders are excluded from the lottery. I emailed our ODE contact asking for information on the waiver process. Here is their response:

— begin —


Please review this:

The waiver you are interested in asking for typically is worded as the students get additional priority or preference in the lottery, not excluded from. Additionally, we do not support students of board members having this priority since it can easily be seen as an ethical issue since it is a benefit for the non-profit board director.

If you would like to include founders in the waiver request, it is best to list the actual names of the founds in the request and include how many children could benefit. Indicate the overall percentage of children would benefiting from this waiver. Federal guidance and State Board practice indicates offering waivers like these are best if they do not impact a significant portion of the school population. In other words, it should not be much more than 5% of students.

Here is an example of a request:

After you review the process document and example above, let me know if you have questions.

— end —

After reading waiver process I don’t think this is something that would be worth the effort in pursuing.

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Communications with the ODE

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Blog

I emailed Kate Pattison with the ODE asking her if we can email her a copy of our written notice of approval from Lowell. She said that would work and to also include the timeline for projected opening. I also asked her the following.



We are getting ready to enter into contract negotiations with the Lowell School District. I’ve read through the May 2013 released version of the Charter School Handbook and ORS 338, but I’m having trouble figuring out what exactly is negotiable from the sponsors perspective. For example the proposal sets the contracted payment at 95%, can the sponsor attempt to change this after the proposal has been approved?

The main question I have is what does it mean that they agreed to our proposal? Does this commit them to the items listed in it? Or does it mean that they have agreed to start contract negotiations?



Here is her response:



Good questions. Generally when a board approves a charter proposal they are stating a certain level agreement to details within the proposal. However, everything can be negotiated. Nothing is final until signed.

The law states a minimum, so the district cannot pay less. But they don’t have to pay more. You probably have a stronger case for what you proposed if the board is not on the record with any concerns or questions about financial stability at a lower rate. However, the negotiations will determine the outcome.

If you don’t have a knowledgeable charter school lawyer, I highly recommend that you get one for this process. The initial charter contract will set the trajectory and tone for the future of the charter school. There are a few that have a lot of experience and will help guide you through the process. Two that come to mind are Matt Lowe or Deborah Dyson.


This means that the proposal is basically just a proposal, and approval of the proposal means that the school district is agreeing to enter into contract negotiations with you. Either side can negotiate changes in the proposal during contract negotiations.

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