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Schools chief pushes new leadership model

Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: TRACY LOEW Date: Dec 3, 2006 Start Page: A.1 Section: Page One Text Word Count: 1578 Document Text Statesman Journal The Salem-Keizer School Board is poised to adopt a radical new way of doing business. "Policy governance," pushed by new Superintendent Sandy Husk, will transfer most school board powers to the superintendent. Decisions such as hiring a principal or raising administrator salaries would be made by Husk instead of going before the board for approval. In theory, that would free the board to focus on setting goals and engaging the public. Husk used the model in her last school district, in Clarksville, Tenn., and said it was essential to her success in raising student achievement there. A majority of the school board supports the proposal. "I'm giddy about this new process," board chairwoman Krina Lemons said. "I think this is fabulous." But at least one board member is warning that the board is "going down a dangerous path." Hanten Day said he supports the concept of policy governance. But, he said, board leaders are pushing to adopt the system without open discussion and are glossing over provisions that would set specific goals for student achievement and hold the superintendent accountable for meeting those goals. Day said he thinks the superintendent is trying to manipulate the board into giving her a "blank check." "Sandy Husk is trying to push the board to take a hands-off approach," Day said. "I honestly believe it's a trick." Day stormed out of the middle of a work session Tuesday night, after vice chairman Bob Mink told him the board was finished talking about achievement goals. "I decided enough is enough," Day said Wednesday. All but one of the other school board members said they support the new model. Member Ron Jones said he doesn't care what governance process the board uses, as long as the result is improved achievement. Husk said she understands that a radically new process can be difficult for some people to readily accept. "When someone's new to this process, they can't see what they haven't experienced yet," she said. "We'll move forward at whatever pace the whole board is comfortable with." Policy governance Policy governance rests on the assumption that the board should focus on creating a vision and goals for the district while the superintendent decides how those goals are met. That means decisions such as contracting out transportation services, hiring a new principal or adopting new curriculum no longer would go before the board for approval. Already, major decisions such as the recently approved administrator raises are being introduced and discussed in informal work sessions, rather than board business meetings. "We're the policy-makers. The superintendent is the administrator," board member Steve Chambers said. That doesn't mean the public won't be involved, Chambers said. Although operating decisions won't be brought to the board for approval, the new system calls for more information to be provided to the board and the public, he said. "Sandy will let us know if she's planning to make major changes," Chambers said. "Any superintendent that's intelligent isn't going to be making those decisions without running them by people who have some of the public pulse." The new model also clarifies lines of communication, Chambers said.

Husk has directed board members to channel all requests for information through her, rather than ask staff or Cabinet members directly. A community member with a complaint or request for help also should be steered to Husk, the board agreed. For privacy reasons, the board member generally will not be told how the matter was resolved. Under the new model, board members also will spend more time trying to determine exactly what the community wants from its schools, as well as educating the public about the school system. Already, the board is planning: *A "School Talk Summit" in February that will gather community input through "keypad" technology that allows participants to answer questions about the district's direction and immediately see the results. *An additional school board meeting each month, called a "Listening-Learning Session" that will be used to set direction. Members of groups or organizations will be invited to sit in a circle with the board and answer questions about desired student outcomes. The sessions will begin in March or April, Lemons said. *Reinstatement of the Citizen Ambassadors for Public Schools (CAPS) program, which fell to budget cuts a few years ago. The program is designed to educate potential board members about the district through monthly, daylong classes and school tours. *School bus tours for community members. Participants would be invited to join a tour of district schools and facilities conducted by administrators, board members, staffers and students. The new model also defines how board members can work with one another and the superintendent. It designates the superintendent as the board's sole connection to the district. It also designates the board chairman as the sole spokesman for the group and encourages the board to speak with one voice and to become advocates for the district. In Husk's previous district, the model goes so far as to prohibit individual board members from saying anything negative about the superintendent or staff. Salem-Keizer board members have not considered a similar provision. Although many of its concepts already are taking effect, the new governance model will not formally be in place until the board votes to replace its existing policies with the new governance model policies it has been working on since October. Husk will present the board with a draft of those proposals in January, and board members expect to vote on them in March or April, Lemons said. Although it's not yet final, board member Day is objecting to one proposed policy that would replace the district's "strategic directions." The board spent last fall holding public forums and drafting the strategic directions, which set out specific, measurable achievement goals and was to be used to set budget priorities. Beginning in fall 2007, the strategic directions would be replaced with a more general statement that all students will meet or exceed district, state and federal standards and benchmarks. Husk admitted it's unlikely that goal can be met. But she said she wants to raise the bar. Day also objected to using such a general goal to measure Husk's performance during her annual job review. Husk said the board does not need to set specific, measurable goals to evaluate her job performance. "It's a relationship," Husk told the board Monday. "If you're not happy with me, it won't make any difference" what goals are being measured. Husk said that if the board does not think she has increased student achievement enough, she will voluntarily resign. The board has modeled many of its proposed policies on those used by the Fargo (N.D.) School District. Closer to home, the Bend-LaPine School District has used the system for about five years. Some districts using the model have shown an increase in student achievement. In others, the model is more controversial.

In Las Vegas, some school board candidates last month pledged to get rid of the policy-governance system, saying it deflects criticism and quiets valid dissension. In Beaufort County, S.C., community members blamed policy governance for lax oversight of a $120 million construction bond. Gail Cobb, the vice chairwoman of the Clarksville/ Montgomery County School Board, where Husk previously worked, said the governance model has worked well there. "I don't know if the community really understands it, but they're happy with what we're doing," Cobb said. Community reaction In Salem-Keizer, Husk's first five months of leadership is drawing mostly positive reviews. Salem Area Chamber of Commerce director Mike McLaran said the chamber has been impressed with Husk's leadership and supports the policy-governance model. "A school board of an organization that size needs to set very clear priorities and deal with the policy and direction of the district, then have faith and trust in the CEO to make that happen," McLaran said. Members of Victory Alliance, however, said they were disappointed with Husk's demeanor at a recent reception the group held for her. "The reaction of people around me was that she didn't want anything to do with Victory Alliance," said Nancy Keim, a founding member of the group, which advocates for disabled youths. Eduardo Angulo, the chairman of the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality, said he thinks Husk's leadership will bring the community together behind student achievement. "This is the school district where nobody's responsible for anything," Angulo said. "We are extremely excited that they are talking about being accountable and transparent. Those are our favorite words." Rick Costa, the president of the district's teachers union, said the new governance model has advantages for teachers. "Under previous administrations, we didn't know who was at the top. That can be an advantage because you can address issues with a specific person instead of a nebulous group of people," Costa said. Costa said the union is taking a wait-and-see attitude toward Husk's leadership. "She has the confidence of the community right now," Costa said. "They're giving her the opportunity to do the job she was hired for. Hopefully, she'll fulfill that." tloew@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6779 What's next The next work session about policy governance is scheduled for 1 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23. at the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial St. SE. The meeting is open to the public. In February, the school board will hold a "School Talk Summit" to gather feedback about the district's direction. In March or April, the school board plans to replace its policies with those setting out the new governance policy.
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Abstract (Document Summary) [...] he said, board leaders are pushing to adopt the system without open discussion and are glossing over provisions that would set specific goals for student achievement and hold the superintendent accountable for meeting those goals. [...] the board is planning: *A "School Talk Summit" in February that will gather community input through "keypad" technology that allows participants to answer questions about the district's direction and immediately see the results. *An additional school board meeting each month, called a "Listening-Learning Session" that will be used to set direction.
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School district to reorganize administration


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Mackenzie Ryan Date: Dec 6, 2008 Start Page: A.1 Section: Page One Text Word Count: 786 Document Text Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer Superintendent Sandy Husk will ask the school board Tuesday to reorganize top administrators in an effort to improve student achievement and state test scores and focus on implementing the $242 million school construction bond. School board members will be asked to approve a new position - assistant superintendent for research and development - hire state education department administrator Salam Noor and make additional organizational changes. "I think it's really great and probably a long time coming," board chairman Steve Chambers said. "... (Sandy Husk) has pretty much operated the administration based on the model that was there before she came; this is a final step in putting her own stamp on the way the administration is going to be operating." If the plan is approved, Noor's duties would include overseeing efforts to improve student achievement and state test scores through district testing and data analysis and developing vocational programs in area high schools, Husk said. Noor served as the assistant superintendent of educational improvement and innovation for Oregon Department of Education for the past six years. He has a doctorate from the University of Utah and teaches at Portland State University. "He's a fine educator with a great leadership background," Husk said. "He has a skill set that will complement our team beautifully." Salem-Keizer is implementing a formative assessment system in which students take a district test before state tests, allowing schools to better focus on what each student needs to learn and to track individual progress. "Right now, (teachers and principals) are using the data, but schools have to figure it out on their own," Husk said. "... We need somebody with the expertise and assignment to get the positive results." Noor will develop vocational programs so high school students can graduate with a certificate, or are on track to completing a certificate in their field at Chemeketa Community College, Husk said. The reorganization comes as the state reduced $5.1 million in funding this year, which will be absorbed by reserves in the district's general fund, and diminishing state revenue is expected next year. "I think it's a very good move; the fact that it'll be cost-neutral is a plus," Chambers said. Some district positions will be eliminated to fund the new assistant-superintendent position, which will cost nearly $88,000, and the cuts will reduce costs overall, Husk said. It will cost $93,900 to implement organizational changes, including a job reclassification. The district plans on not filling an open program- assistant position and an accountant position after a retirement, and changing the contract for background checks this year in order to fund Noor's position. That frees up $202,000 in funding. Next year a one-year central administrative position will be eliminated. The organizational changes are expected to save $111,200 this school year and $100,800 next school year.

Husk said the organizational changes reflect the district's need to be flexible and responsive to internal and external factors - such as the bond and the economy. If the plan is approved, Husk will directly oversee the facilities and planning department, which is planning for the construction bond and now overseen by Chief Operations Officer Rich Goward. "I want to know exactly what's going on," Husk said, especially in terms of public engagement and the citizen oversight committee, she added. Organizational changes will have Goward focus on the finances behind the bond, as well as the district budget and other fiscal responsibilities. Some departments Goward currently oversees, including transportation, risk management and security, will be overseen by different top administrators. "It's important to focus on selling the bond for the lowest possible amount; we want to structure it well and get the best deal for the taxpayers," Goward said. He also will oversee bond contracts, to ensure the district gets the best value for construction and repairs, he said, and oversee creating next year's budget. That includes minimizing "the impact on kids and the classroom," he said. On the agenda Also on Tuesday, the board is scheduled to: Approve $110,500 transfer from a contingency fund to buy software to use for the construction bond for bidding projects, which is expected to save 670 hours of work per year. To attend: The Salem-Keizer School Board will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Room 2 of the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial St. SE. To speak at the meeting: Sign the request sheet before the start of the meeting. For more information call (503) 3993001. To contact the board: Call Chairman Steve Chambers at (503) 364-5767; Vice Chairman Ron Jones at (503) 3712092; Richard Kimball at (503) 362-3674; Krina Lemons at (503) 363-1076; Hanten Day at (503) 390-9799; Chuck Lee at (503) 304-9135; and Bobby Mink at (503) 363-6024.
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Abstract (Document Summary) Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer Superintendent Sandy Husk will ask the school board Tuesday to reorganize top administrators in an effort to improve student achievement and state test scores and focus on implementing the $242 million school construction bond.
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Husk: Change way budgets are planned


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Tracy Loew Date: May 20, 2008 Start Page: C.1 Section: Mid-Valley Text Word Count: 505 Document Text Statesman Journal New spending Superintendent Sandy Husk is proposing adding $8.2 million in new positions and programs to the 2008-09 budget. Here's the breakdown: Reduce class size by an average of one student in kindergarten through third grade: $1,451,135 Expand the AVID college prep program to nine more schools: $330,700 Hire 18 additional instructional coaches: $1,176,380 Add three positions to the human-resources department, including a professional-development coordinator for classified staff: $190,910 Increase funding for the Ready to Learn/Ready to Work program, operated jointly with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce: $30,000 Provide in-house training for staff working with special education students: $541,136 Increase the budget for one-on-one instructional assistants to work with special education students: $2,370,000 Replace federal funding for school-based health assistants: $732,822 Hire eight additional maintenance workers: $546,099 Add eight custodians and increase all custodians' contracts to 12 months: $624,003 Cover a year's worth of payments for eight maintenance vehicles and a delivery van: $141,600 Hire a secretary for the transportation department and a half-time clerk for the mail room: $70,355 Pay for materials for an informational campaign for the proposed $242.2 million construction bond: $20,000 Salem-Keizer Schools Superintendent Sandy Husk wants to overhaul the school board's budget process, meeting monthly with budget committee members year-round to prepare them for her yearly spending proposal. "There are some things in our process that are flawed and need to be improved," she said during a budget committee meeting about her 2008-09 spending plan Monday night. "We've had it a little backwards. We come out with the budget message and then we back into providing all of the details and background information." Committee members did not discuss her recommendation.

Ten people spoke at a public hearing before the meeting. All are members of the Salem/Keizer Coalition for Equality. They told the budget committee they support the 18 "instructional coaches" Husk has proposed funding next year, at a cost of $1.2 million. "If we say we want the best schools but we don't prepare our teachers, it's not going to happen," coalition chairman Eduardo Angulo said. The coaches would help train educators in teaching techniques, especially targeting instruction to various levels of learners. "I think coaching's really important in a career regardless of how long you've been doing something," school board member Bob Mink said. The budget committee also heard staff presentations about projected revenue, reserves, special education, the proposed instructional coaches, and the AVID program, which helps low-performing students with study skills and college planning. The committee had a long discussion about changing the way reserves are budgeted, but did not come to a consensus. tloew@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6779 What's next The Salem-Keizer Budget Committee will continue hearings about the proposed budget today and Wednesday. It will hold deliberations May 27-29. The school board will conduct another public hearing and vote on the proposal June 10. All meetings begin at 6 p.m. at the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial St. SE. People wishing to speak should sign up before the meeting. For information, call (503) 399-3001.
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Abstract (Document Summary) Reduce class size by an average of one student in kindergarten through third grade: $1,451,135 Expand the AVID college prep program to nine more schools: $330,700 Hire 18 additional instructional coaches: $1,176,380 Add three positions to the human-resources department, including a professional-development coordinator for classified staff: $190,910 Increase funding for the Ready to Learn/Ready to Work program, operated jointly with the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce: $30,000 Provide in-house training for staff working with special education students: $541,136 Increase the budget for one-on-one instructional assistants to work with special education students: $2,370,000 Replace federal funding for school-based health assistants: $732,822 Hire eight additional maintenance workers: $546,099 Add eight custodians and increase all custodians' contracts to 12 months: $624,003 Cover a year's worth of payments for eight maintenance vehicles and a delivery van: $141,600 Hire a secretary for the transportation department and a half-time clerk for the mail room: $70,355 Pay for materials for an informational campaign for the proposed $242.2 million construction bond: $20,000 Salem-Keizer Schools Superintendent Sandy Husk wants to overhaul the school board's budget process, meeting monthly with budget committee members yearround to prepare them for her yearly spending proposal.
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Board's passivity poorly serves school district


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Dick Hughes Date: Jun 16, 2011 Start Page: C.6 Section: Opinion Text Word Count: 738 Document Text "I understand," school librarian Stacey Kline told the Salem-Keizer School Board on Tuesday, "that nothing I say tonight is going to change your minds at all." Kline spoke the truth. Residents are frustrated and discouraged that extensive public testimony apparently had no influence on the district budget committee, which endorsed Superintendent Sandy Husk's budget proposal for 2011-12. Now the school board seems primed to follow that same path. Husk's proposal might be the best that Salem-Keizer can do. But there's no way to tell; the budget committee and board have been unwilling to test it against other feasible alternatives. An architect and contractor who met with the Statesman Journal Editorial Board this week made a good case that Salem-Keizer is paying too much for its new schools, that planned schools in East and South Salem should not be built, and that small schools slated for closure could be made cost-effective. The contractor suggested canceling bond-funded construction projects and seeking voters' approval to spend that money on school operations. Meanwhile, parents have proposed a variety of ways to retain some elementary- and middle -school librarians, such as Kline, who served Englewood Elementary School. As best I can tell, more than 460 full- and part-time employees are losing their jobs. It's disheartening that the district wasn't more creative and flexible in trying to save every possible job. For example, Salem-Keizer is recruiting a district music coordinator -- an important position -- and maybe some assistant principals. Aren't there qualified teachers or librarians who could have been shifted into those roles for a year or two to avoid layoffs? The irony is that Salem-Keizer's board members are good, ethical, hard-working volunteers. I've known some for years and have deep respect for them as individuals. I've watched them serve as visionary leaders in other situations. But on the school board, they act as if they're cowed by Superintendent Sandy Husk, afraid to rock the boat. For reasons that elude me, school boards often -- and unfortunately -- are passive compared with city councils. It's not hard for a school superintendent to control board members: Immerse them in weighty, seemingly important policy discussions that have little to do with what transpires in the classroom. Discourage debate as counter-productive to the district's image. Have lots of fluffy, feel-good talks and presentations, which is how the Salem-Keizer board spent half its regular meeting Tuesday. And on the budget, classify all decisions as being the best for "student achievement." Ignore the fact that alternative actions -- such as preserving librarians and reducing overhead more -- might have served student achievement even better. Husk is Salem-Keizer's best superintendent in years, maybe decades. But as with all of us, she's a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. As wise as she is in some areas, she's blind to her shortcomings in others: She expects to control the outcome and takes criticism personally, which devalues the public's role. Under her leadership, Salem-Keizer has made some smart, difficult decisions about where and how to cut spending. But those smart actions don't excuse weak decision-making on other aspects of the budget. Tuesday's board meeting reflected that disconnect with the community.

Prior to the regular meeting, the board held an hourlong workshop about the budget. There was not one whit of discussion about budget alternatives. Instead, board members and administrators talked about how they had listened to the public and how Husk's proposal was built on community input. And they praised one another for their hard work and long hours. "I've been receiving a lot of compliments from the community -- an enormous number of compliments, quite frankly," Husk said. Husk went on to thank the budget committee for endorsing her budget proposal, saying it showed faith in her leadership. Maybe. But the budget committee also showed something else: no backbone. Dick Hughes, who toned down this column from his initial thoughts while watching Tuesday's board meeting, is editorial page editor of the Statesman Journal. His column appears on Thursdays. Contact him at dhughes@StatesmanJournal.com; P.O. Box 13009, Salem, OR 97309; or (503) 399-6727. Read his blog at StatesmanJournal.com/DickHughes or follow him on Facebook or at twitter.com/DickHughes. Have your say What do you think of the planned Salem-Keizer school budget for 2011-12? We're seeking readers' comments for publication on an upcoming Monday Opinion page. To add your response, click on the Polls & Forums link at StatesmanJournal.com/Opinion or go to StatesmanJournal.com/ LocalStand. ID_Code: J0201110106160334
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Abstract (Document Summary) Residents are frustrated and discouraged that extensive public testimony apparently had no influence on the district budget committee, which endorsed Superintendent Sandy Husk's budget proposal for 2011-12. The contractor suggested canceling bond-funded construction projects and seeking voters' approval to spend that money on school operations.
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District deteriorates with Husk at helm


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Date: Jun 24, 2011 Start Page: C.8 Section: Opinion Text Word Count: 166 Document Text Dick Hughes' column of June 16 prompted me to finally write the letter that I have been contemplating for over a year. After almost 12 years in the Salem-Keizer School District, I'm really glad the ordeal is almost over. My youngest daughter is now a senior in high school. It hasn't always been this bad, but since Sandy Husk and her cronies arrived, our schools have gotten increasingly worse. Communications between teachers and parents has become almost nonexistent because of Husk's "divide and conquer" methods. When I visit my daughter's high school, I feel the fear and anxiety. The truth is, people are worried about losing their jobs. The solution is simple. We hired Sandy Husk to work for us and our kids. It's time to demand her resignation and, if she refuses, fire her. I know there may be backlash from this letter, but I will not live in fear or intimidation. That's not how I raise my children. -- John Keener, Salem ID_Code: J0201110106240314
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Abstract (Document Summary) Communications between teachers and parents has become almost nonexistent because of Husk's "divide and conquer" methods.
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Husk taps consultants to overhaul district


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: TRACY LOEW Date: Dec 3, 2006 Start Page: A.5 Section: Local Text Word Count: 292 Document Text Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer Schools Superintendent Sandy Husk has hired several outside organizations to help her overhaul the school district: *Gene Huddle, of Marysville, Wash.-based Performance Solutions Inc., has been hired to help the district convert to a policy-governance model and to train staff in a quality-assurance process, meant to improve delivery of services. Husk said she has worked with Huddle for years and hired him because he is among a few consultants who specialize in both policy governance and quality assurance. The district is paying Huddle $1,500 per day and expects to spend at least $50,000 with the company. Huddle has a doctorate from Ohio State University in teacher education, curriculum and development. He has helped school districts including those in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev., Sacramento, Calif., and Wenatchee, Wash., implement policy governance. *Husk hired the National School Public Relations Association to conduct an audit of the effectiveness of the district's communications department. Auditors reviewed publications, reports, policies, news clippings and other materials, interviewed administrators and held 20 focus groups. The association will recommend that the district develop a comprehensive strategic plan; expand the involvement of non-English-speaking families; provide regular communications training for staff; and consider creating a business advisory council, according to a preliminary summary of the group's findings. The district paid $15,600 for the two-day audit, conducted Oct. 31-Nov. 1. *The Stupski Foundation spent four days in October conducting an "organizational assessment" of the district. Among its findings: Although the district collects large amounts of data, the data are not effectively used to drive decision-making. The nonprofit Stupski Foundation, based in Mill Valley, Calif., helps school districts with strategic planning. The foundation provided the work for free because it previously worked with Husk in the Clarksville/ Montgomery County district.
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Abstract (Document Summary) Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer Schools Superintendent Sandy Husk has hired several outside organizations to help her overhaul the school district: *Gene Huddle, of Marysville, Wash.-based Performance Solutions Inc., has been hired to help the district convert to a policy-governance model and to train staff in a quality-assurance process, meant to improve delivery of services.

Crowd calls for more transparency in S-K district


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Mackenzie Ryan Date: Oct 23, 2008 Start Page: A.1 Section: Page One Text Word Count: 743 Document Text Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer schools are doing a good job teaching students but need to be more open about problems in the district. That's the opinion of people who attended a meeting Wednesday. Salem-Keizer schools received a "B" grade from participants in Wednesday's School Talk Summit, up from a "C" grade in February, given during last school year's event. The poll was one aspect of the third annual districtwide summit at McKay High School, which gave parents and community members a chance to ask questions of Superintendent Sandy Husk and school board chairman Steve Chambers. The idea was to get a sense of what the community thinks about the district - although, it was a "friendly audience," Husk said. Of the people who participated in the unscientific poll, 112 work for the school district; 51 were parents and 14 were community members. About 100 people gave the district a "B" grade at the meeting; 50 said the district got a "C." Most participants said they "somewhat agree" that the district is making wise decisions about educating children and spending money. How transparent the district is about its problems, however, had a mixed response: although most said they "somewhat agree" that the district is transparent, a close second were those responding that they "somewhat disagree." At the beginning of the meeting, Husk talked about the district's student demographics and the rising number of those receiving free or reduced lunch. Husk said she expects the number of students participating in the programs to surpass 20,000 - nearly half of the 40,282 students in the district. About 19,700 students participated in the program last year, according to district data presented at the meeting. The number of students in poverty is critical information, more so than the district's rising minority populations, Husk said. Students from families earning up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for free lunches, and those from families earning up to 185 percent qualify for reduced-price lunches. Husk referenced a landmark 1995 study that showed how the financial background of a child's family can affect a student's academic achievement. The study found that how fast a child's vocabulary grows is influenced by how often their parents talk to them - and that children from lower income families hear significantly fewer words than their wealthier counterparts.

In a year, children of professionals hear 11 million words on average, while children of working-class families hear 6 million words, and children of families on public assistance hear 3 million words, the study found. And that difference can affect children years later. "It is not meant as an excuse," Husk said, in response to a question from the audience about her explanation of poverty and a child's readiness to learn when they enter kindergarten. "It's an observation that if you don't do dramatically different things in the school classroom, you're going to get the same results," she said. "It is a relentless focus." Last year, Salem-Keizer followed a statewide trend of improving elementary state test scores in reading and math but the same or declining scores in middle and high schools. At the meeting, Husk addressed school issues such as the inconsistent teaching methods in some classrooms and the rigor of talented and gifted programs and honors course work. Again and again, she said the district is working to create and improve systems in the district to improve student achievement. "That's the work we're doing," Husk said, responding to a question about inconsistent teaching methods. She referred to the district's literacy model, an effort schools are rolling out this year that aims to create consistency in the teaching strategies that are used in each school and grade level. Husk also answered questions at the meeting related to the proposed $242.1 million school bond and maintenance issues. One person asked if the district will consider moving to a split or double shift, where half of a school's students attend school from 6 a.m. to noon and the rest from noon to 6 p.m. Doing so could accommodate more students at existing schools. The district had such a schedule in the 1960s at North Salem High School, Chambers said. Moving to a split shift is typically an "emergency measure," and "it would not be productive for kids," Husk said. The topic has come up at the school board level from time to time, and Chambers said it's not something members have looked at favorably. maryann@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750
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Abstract (Document Summary) At the meeting, Husk addressed school issues such as the inconsistent teaching methods in some classrooms and the rigor of talented and gifted programs and honors course work.
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Board: Husk's strengths are clear


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Mackenzie Ryan Date: Jan 14, 2009 Start Page: C.1 Section: Mid-Valley Text Word Count: 814 Document Text Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer School Board members gave Superintendent Sandy Husk a standing ovation after her second evaluation as the leader of the school district Tuesday. Board members said that she has met their expectations and that her "strengths far outweigh her shortcomings," according to the evaluation document. "I've been in this district living here my entire life, and I can safely say that Dr. Husk is the most effective superintendent that we have had," board chairman Steve Chambers said. This year, Husk championed the passage of the $242 million school bond, adjusted the budget process to a yearlong one and restructured the top management of the school district, among other efforts. "The conventional wisdom was (that it was) going to be very tough to pass," board member Chuck Lee said of the bond. "... That was a tremendous vote of confidence." The board agreed that Husk used her authority properly and that progress is being made toward the board's goals of each student making academic progress and more students passing state tests in each subgroup tracked by the No Child Left Behind law. "You're the right person in the right job in the right district doing the right thing," board member Krina Lemons said. Board member Hanten Day said that although he agreed with Husk's evaluation, he thought that the district's goals on which Husk is evaluated - are "very vague, very unclear," he said. "I want to be part of working with the board to set up more clear, more measurable goals," Day said. "We can set a clear goal that in the next two or three years, we can reach the level of the state average (for state test scores). I think it's doable. It's not impossible at all." School board officials met in a closed meeting Tuesday to discuss Husk's evaluation. Although she is judged on overall student achievement and 12 executive limitations that outline the parameters of her job, the board did offer an informal assessment of her strengths and weaknesses. Board members agreed that Husk's strengths include communication, management, leadership skills and a tireless work ethic. They also felt she has developed relationships in the community and helped the district rebuild trust. But officials also said that Husk can appear defensive at board meetings when responding to their questions and that board members want to be more involved, as it can appear as if they are "in the dark" on some activities or initiatives. "It's very humbling to hear the praise, and I'm sure you know how appreciative I am of getting feedback," Husk said. "I'll accept the praise (because) it's an outstanding team all the way across the district and across the community." Husk met the board's expectations on monthly reports that outline progress on executive limitations that guide her work. Officials have given a "thumbs up" approval after each presentation. She was out of compliance on two issues:

-No report was given to the school board on the effectiveness of the staff evaluation system. That system still is being developed, said chief of staff Mary Paulson. -Four of 13,600 purchasing transactions failed to obtain required quotes. All four were transactions of $5,000 to $10,000. Paulson said this likely was due to human error and that the district corrects and trains staffers about the proper procedures after errors are found. Husk also is evaluated on student achievement, which improved last year. Overall, more Salem-Keizer students passed state tests last year in reading and math. Improved test scores, however, were not seen in all grades tested, and nearly all grades tested below the state average. In her nearly three years with the district, Husk has made governing and organizational changes. She signed a threeyear contract in March. This year, she's earning $189,666 plus $15,000 in a tax-deferred annuity. That's a 2.3 percent raise from last school year, when she earned $185,306. During her tenure, the school board has adopted the policy governance model, which shifts day-to-day control to the superintendent and uses a quality-assurance model and strategic plans, which focus and outline yearly steps the district will take toward goals. maryan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750 On the agenda Salem-Keizer officials also approved contracts for top district managers on Tuesday: Glenn Gelbrich, deputy superintendent, who earns $132,913 and has a $3,000 car allowance. That's 2.5 percent more than he earned last school year, $129,595. Mary Cadez, assistant superintendent for human resources, who earns $121,716 plus a $3,000 car allowance. That's 6.2 percent more than she earned last school year, $114,504, as her positioned changed under top management organization. Rich Goward, chief financial officer, who earns $126,585 plus a $3,000 car allowance. That's 2.5 percent more than he earned last school year, $123,424. Salam Noor, assistant superintendent for research and development, who earns $60,047 plus a $1,250 car allowance. This is less because he's starting with the school district mid-school year.
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Abstract (Document Summary) The board agreed that Husk used her authority properly and that progress is being made toward the board's goals of each student making academic progress and more students passing state tests in each subgroup tracked by the No Child Left Behind law. During her tenure, the school board has adopted the policy governance model, which shifts day-to-day control to the superintendent and uses a quality-assurance model and strategic plans, which focus and outline yearly steps the district will take toward goals. maryan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750 On the agenda Salem-Keizer officials also approved contracts for top district managers on Tuesday:
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Leader must be frank with Salem-Keizer district


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Date: Apr 2, 2006 Start Page: C.8 Section: Opinion Text Word Count: 422 Document Text Community deserves openness after board's habit of secrecy Sandra Husk will bring a glowing resume and string of educational successes to the Salem-Keizer School District. But what should be community joy is tempered by the realization that the next school superintendent already has misled the public. She said she wasn't a candidate for school executive jobs elsewhere when she was. This matters. Salem-Keizer needs a clean break from the disinformation and untruths that emanated from the current administration. The district misled the public about its finances, the new administration headquarters, events in the Joe Billera sex-abuse scandal and who knows what else. Even the current school board, which had taken a welcome turn toward openness when new members were elected last year, has reverted to its old ways. During the search process, the board declined to say how many people applied, whether board members had reviewed all the applications - and why one top candidate abruptly dropped out. The board hired Husk last week to succeed retiring Superintendent Kay Baker on July 1. Board members were so overjoyed to get Husk that they skipped what normally is an essential part of the referencechecking and hiring process: traveling to Tennessee to talk face-to-face with people in Clarksville/Montgomery County Schools, where she is superintendent. Husk made a strong impression during her one-day visit to Salem-Keizer. She has a record of community involvement and accountability. Maybe she just got caught up in the excitement of the situation and didn't know how to explain her multiple candidacies. In retrospect, though, she came across as speaking double talk at best and lying at worst. As reported in the Statesman Journal last week: "On Monday, the Tacoma School Board named Husk one of four finalists for its superintendent. "Husk said she told the Salem-Keizer community [on March 23] that she was not a candidate for any other job because she didn't have permission from search firm Ray and Associates - which is running both the Salem-Keizer and Tacoma searches - to state that she was a candidate elsewhere. "`I'm not a candidate until it's announced publicly. There was absolutely no intention to mislead,' she said." Oh, come on. Not a candidate until it's announced publicly? That sounds too much like an endorsement of secrecy or double talk - two traits the community has been trying to eradicate from the Salem-Keizer district. Husk may be a great match for Salem-Keizer. We hope she is. But she must recognize, and overcome, the problem she created for herself and the community.
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Abstract (Document Summary) Board members were so overjoyed to get Husk that they skipped what normally is an essential part of the referencechecking and hiring process: traveling to Tennessee to talk face-to-face with people in Clarksville/Montgomery County Schools, where she is superintendent.

S-K schools may reopen union talks


Statesman Journal - Salem, Or. Author: Mackenzie Ryan Date: Feb 10, 2009 Start Page: A.1 Section: Page One Text Word Count: 795 Document Text Statesman Journal Salem-Keizer officials want to renegotiate contracts with its two unions amid worries that budget cuts may have to be made this school year. Superintendent Sandy Husk gave letters Friday to leaders of the teachers and classified staff unions. Unions have 14 days to agree or decline to negotiate. "We think this request is premature," Jane Killefer, the president of the teachers union, said in a news release. "There are too many questions that remain unanswered. We know the state faces a revenue shortfall, but what we don't know yet is what the legislature intends to do about it." Husk called the letters "precautionary steps" that open the option to renegotiate if state funding cuts require the district to reduce expenses to balance this school year's budget. Husk did not comment on any specific issues the school district is looking to renegotiate in the contracts, saying that more information about state revenue is needed. She is expected to talk about the issue at today's school board meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. "We're close enough to the end of the school year that if we did have some really devastating bad news ... we would have this process up and conversations started in order to have a positive impact on the school year's budget," Husk said. Legislators may cut as much as $800 million from the current state budget. It's unclear how the cuts would affect school funding statewide or in Salem-Keizer. "There's a lot of questions," said Janet Sanders, the president of the classified staff union. "We don't know the impact of any (state funding) cuts yet." Salem-Keizer officials also are talking with the school administrators association, which is not a union and does not have a formal negotiating process, district spokesman Jay Remy said. "I think we will all be affected because of the economic reality of this situation," Remy said. "The expectation is that we will all share in whatever we need to do in terms of sacrifices." The district is approaching the administrators association, but as with the unions, no specifics were mentioned, said Bill Wittman, association president. "They gave us an opportunity to have some input, give thoughts, ideas and suggestions," he said. The district is looking at possibly reducing its personnel and related costs because those make up 84 percent of the district's $358 million general fund budget, which pays for most day-to-day expenses. "When the revenue shortfalls are extreme as they appear to be today, then we really only have a few options," Husk said. "We have to figure out an adjustment to the amount of money we were planning on spending to salaries and benefits."

Salem-Keizer already has absorbed a $5 million cut in revenue this year that will reduce reserves in the district's general fund. "I'm optimistic that we will work though this very difficult time with the least impact on (teachers union) membership," Killefer said. "The bottom line is if it impacts membership, it impacts kids." District employees are scheduled to receive cost-of-living increases next school year, including 2.5 percent for teachers and administrators. Classified staff will receive an increase based on a formula using a national consumer price index. The board of directors for the teachers union and the executive committee of the classified staff union will decide whether to agree to negotiate within 14 days. If they do, that will start discussions and open bargaining for 90 days. Any changes to union contracts must be approved by the majority of the memberships. "When you're in this kind of national and local crisis, you have to look at all the options," Husk said. "We don't want to have any negative impacts on students in the classroom." maryan@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 399-6750 On the agenda Also today, the board is scheduled to: -Approve local service plan from the Willamette Education Service District and enter into contracts and agreements with the district. -Approve hiring Lorelei Gilmore to be a secondary alternative school principal. Gilmore will take the position left open by the reassignment of Willese Everson, who was formerly principal of Early College High School. -Adopt facilities plan for the years 2008-2015, which include the $242 million construction bond. The last plan was adopted in 2001. To participate To attend: Salem-Keizer School Board will meet at 6 p.m. today in Room 2 of the Support Services Center, 2575 Commercial St. SE. To speak at the meeting: Sign the request sheet before the start of the meeting. For more information call (503) 3993001. To contact the board: Call Chairman Steve Chambers at (503) 364-5767; Vice Chairman Ron Jones at (503) 3712092; Richard Kimball at (503) 362-3674; Krina Lemons at (503) 363-1076; Hanten Day at (503) 390-9799; Chuck Lee at (503) 304-9135; and Bobby Mink at (503) 363-6024.
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Abstract (Document Summary) Husk called the letters "precautionary steps" that open the option to renegotiate if state funding cuts require the district to reduce expenses to balance this school year's budget.
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