The Local School Advisory Committees should provide the machinery for communication between the public and the School Board and need to be involved in the budget-making process. The school administration needs to assure public participation early in the budget process.
All school programs need periodic and systematic evaluation to insure cost-effectiveness.
The League favors increasing state support to 50%, if accomplished by adequate property tax relief.
The League supports legislative efforts to stabilize Oregon public school finance and local control to assure accountability.
1. Increased funding for building needs of Salem/Keizer School District 24J;
2. The neighborhood concept of elementary and middle schools, and the adjoining park arrangement whenever possible;
3. Buildings should have a flexibility to serve present and future program needs.
4. Site selection procedures that include:
a. consistency with Comprehensive Plans, with attention to preserving the inner city area
b. site accessibility, including consideration of transportation modes, barriers, hazards, and coordination with transportation plans
c. specific siting criteria for elementary, middle and high schools
d. site availability (both vacant and redevelopable plots)
e. direct and indirect costs
f. attention to population diversity
g. public design review process
When attendance figures for community school activities are compiled, a standard for obtaining an unduplicated headcount should be used. The attendance statistics at community school programs (e.g., slimnastics, quilting) should be separated from attendance figures for functions which would occur even if there were no community schools (e.g., parents club, music concerts).
Grade reorganization and a changed school calendar may relieve crowding and provide other educational benefits as well. Grade reorganization, such as shifting sixth grade to middle school, is acceptable if proper adjustments to the social environment are made. A multi-track calendar is acceptable in elementary and middle schools. Split shifting may be a short-term solution in secondary schools, where the wide variety of courses makes a multi-track calendar difficult to implement.
There should be public hearings and other opportunities for input from all members of the community before major calendar changes are made. Such changes should first be piloted in a few schools and carefully evaluated for several years. Assessment should involve control groups and pre- and post-testing. Student and parent/guardian satisfaction and attitudes should also be measured. Elements of successful pilot projects should be retained even in times of financial hardship.
Since shortening the summer vacation and lengthening other vacations (year-round school) appears to result in greater learning retention for young children, there is value in piloting such a calendar. The results would be helpful in planning the implementation of HB 3565  or of a multi-track year-round calendar. Some of the time between the regular sessions of a year-round calendar should be used for remedial learning and enrichment.
Adolescents have a different sleep pattern than young children and adults. These patterns are affected by biological changes adolescents undergo during puberty, which make them fall asleep later at night and sleep later in the morning. Sleepiness is induced by the hormone melatonin, which, in the teen body is secreted about 11 p.m. and remains in the system until about 8 a.m. It is difficult, therefore, for teens to fall asleep before 11 p.m. Teens consistently need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep per night. Without adequate rest due to early school start times, adolescents are subject to early morning drowsiness, which affects their performance and behavior in school.
Scientific literature contains much research showing the advantages to adolescents getting adequate sleep. Besides having an effect on learning, adequate sleep also positively influences attendance and productivity in the first two class periods and reduces after-school idle time. Experience in school districts which have moved to later start times for middle and high school students indicates this change alone provides for more sleep for adolescents.
The LWVMPC acknowledges that, along with the many advantages to a later school start time for middle and high school students, there are other considerations that need to be addressed. These include student transportation, family schedules, and after-school activities. The LWVMPC feels that the benefits to a later school start time for middle and high school students outweigh the detriments.
Recognizing that changing to a later school start time for middle and high school students may result in an earlier school start time for elementary school students, LWVMPC encourages the Salem-Keizer School District to study in more detail a later school start time for middle and high school students. Such study must involve parents at all levels, students, school district representatives and community groups, including the League of Women Voters.
Specifically, the School Board should:
1. Be involved in direct, regular, cooperative planning effort among city/county governments, especially in the early stages of planning;
2. Address both under-enrollment and over-enrollment, planning for them before they occur;
3. Review at least annually student population trends;
4. Work with developers and city/county planners to develop a policy addressing school site identification;
5. Send a representative to testify during the subdivision approval process regarding impact on schools (or earlier, in order to have effective input);
6. Ensure public input in the development of growth policies;
7. Establish standards and procedures that are firmly and consistently enforced.
Members of the League find these alternatives acceptable for dealing with the pressures of growth (the alternatives are not listed in order of preference):
1. On a long range basis:
The League supports a greater emphasis on intramural sports, with a goal of 100% participation. In order to open up more opportunities for student participation, intramurals should receive a higher priority than interscholastic athletics. The League feels there is a definite place for athletics, but not at the expense of intramurals.
The League supports a greater emphasis on individual sports, providing a balance with team sports.
We support the need for more P.E. facilities, particularly at the elementary level, and the need to equalize use of the present facilities at the secondary level.
We support and encourage the District's compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination requirements.