Tillamook School District Board Meeting Feb. 14th attended by over 130 community members

By Andrea Goss, for the Tillamook County Pioneer
The Tillamook School District Board meeting last night, February 14th, was attended by over 130 people virtually as well as a full meeting room. The calmest TSD board meeting I’ve attended so far. There was very little viciousness, and I never felt unsafe. Those are all positives. There are other positives: three of the board members were wearing masks; of the 12 community members that stood up to talk, there was a more balanced community representation.

One really positive aspect was that school board member Kris Lachenmeier stood up to the other four board members with her thoughts on two issues: equity, and what that means; and the resolution for local control. She cited that she voted against the resolution because of input she has gotten from the community. A community letter garnered over 500 signatures that detailed concerns about the motive behind the Local Control resolution, as well as arming teachers and the district’s review of the state-mandated equity and diversity policy.

Another positive was that the Chair, Matt Petty, said he wants to involve parents and the community in discussions when creating or changing policies. The decision on the District’s equity policy was tabled until May, and to gather community input.

And, speaking of community input, a number of board members said that they have gotten a lot of emails and calls regarding some of the issues of concern and that they have read them. Some board members thanked the community for input. So, I say to each of you…keep those comments coming!

One board member apologized for the sarcasm he used during the January meeting.

The resolution for returning local control to the local board passed by a vote of 4 to 1. This means that they will ask the State to return control to them. That doesn’t mean that the State will do so. The issue that brought them to create this resolution was masks, and that will be a moot point soon. But, there will undoubtedly be other issues that come up for which they will prefer local control.

The board unanimously passed the policy to prohibit firearms in schools without raising the issue of arming school employees with guns but it was brought up during community comments.

I look forward to reporting on future board meetings, and I hope that they continue to be mostly positive and continue to have more community representation and participation.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On a social media page, a similar summary of the school board meeting included comments from a a former school board member that during their tenure on the board there were rarely a handful of people in attendance, and was surprised by the turnout. The comments from several others explained the engagement, “We didn’t need that many to attend while you were on the board because it was a board without the personal agenda or politics. You were also a board that absolutely took the time to … find out where more needed to be done. Trauma informed best practices, … more awareness and professional development … So much positivity shared by certain board members tonight but still lacking the true grit of actually working for ALL Students.”

Here is a link to the Local Controls Resolution – “>TSD#9Resolution 2022-02, Resolution for Local Control