Central Point School District #6

Air Quality Update–September 8, 2017

September 8th, 2017 by Samantha Steele

A shift in weather has allowed for some improvement in air quality; it’s a welcome change.  Principals and school staff will use the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index, aligned to the EPA’s Guide for Schools, to make decisions about student activity.  This means that outdoor activities may be possible today.  If you would like your student to remain indoors, please send a note or contact your child’s school–an indoor option is always available.  Should your child choose to remain indoors for any reason, he or she will be allowed to stay in.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact your building principal or you’re always welcome to contact me–Samantha Steele samantha.steele@district6.org, 541-494-6201 (office) 541-840-5644 (cell).

Air Quality Update and FAQ–September 6, 2017

September 6th, 2017 by Samantha Steele

While many parents are relieved that schools are up and running throughout the valley, we’ve had our share of concerns—many of those posted on the district and school FaceBook pages.  The following is a “Frequently Asked Questions” that may give some insight into our logic about keeping our schools open.

 The Air Quality Index is consistently poor—from “unhealthy” to “very unhealthy” and “hazardous”—why would schools remain open?

While the air quality is indeed terrible, we want to be sure that parents and families have a choice about sending kids to schools.  Some families, especially those with children who have medical issues or are sensitive to smoke, may choose to keep their children home.  Others simply feel more comfortable keeping their kids at home during this time.  And, some families view the smoky air as inescapable and find that our schools are no worse than the air quality in their homes and communities.  Closing schools for all students removes the choice for families and requires every student to stay home.  We respect and support the decisions of parents who choose to send their kids to school as well as parents who choose to keep their kids at home.

How are you monitoring air quality?

We’ve consistently used the DEQ’s website, www.deq.state.or.us and the data from the Medford Grant/Belmont station (this is the station closest to our district).    As the air quality shifts (we hope) over the next few weeks, we’ll use the Air Quality Index, along with the EPA Guidelines for Schools, the Oregon Health Department Guidelines for Student Activity and the OSSA Guidelines to make decisions about outdoor student activity.  If you’ve been on-line, you know that the DEQ site has experienced some difficulties because of high traffic—we continue to “refresh” the page and have been able (so far) to get data virtually every hour.  Also, we can use the 5-3-1 Visibility Index and would use the more conservative of the two.

What about my student missing class, assignments and instruction?

Schools and staff will do everything possible to provide assignments and support for students who do not attend.  Should you choose to keep your child at home, contact your school to discuss options that would best support you and your child.  Getting assignments and homework is one option.  For those who would like to reduce the number of hours their child is in school, talk with your principal about a partial day schedule.  These are extraordinary circumstances—our school staff recognizes that and we have nothing but respect for our parents’ choices for their own children.

What about classrooms and schools without air conditioning?

There is no doubt that air-conditioning assists with making classrooms more comfortable and it does assist with some air filtering.  However, in schools and classrooms, students entering and exiting (opening doors throughout the day) mitigates much of air filtering benefit of the air conditioning.  Additionally, many of our buildings are designed so that each classroom opens to the outside (no interior hall ways), so students are outside between classes, going to the cafeteria or library, etc.  Classrooms without air conditioning have had to manage both heat and air quality—definitely a difficult situation and one that we’re monitoring.

Why have there been windows and doors open at my child’s school?

Ideally, the weather outside would be mild and keeping doors and windows closed as much as possible would be the rule of thumb.  However, teachers and other staff will make decisions as conditions evolve—they are likely trying to strike a balance between heat and smoky air.  Our maintenance department is working closely with principals to identify the best strategies for individual buildings and classrooms.  Truly, teachers and staff are making every effort to provide the safest and most comfortable learning environment given the circumstances.

Why are some students outside during the school day?

School staff rely on the DEQ hourly index to make decisions about student activity, aligned with the Oregon Health Department Guidelines and the EPA Guidelines for Schools.  Please know that parents may request that their child not be outside—contact your school.  And, any student may request an “indoor” option, even when the air quality allows for light outdoor activity.

What about adding window or portable air-conditioners to classrooms that don’t have central air?

A few folks have stepped forward and offered to donate portable air conditioners (many thanks!).  District staff will respond to these requests and suggestions by evaluating the space intended for the portable A/C and determine whether or not adding that appliance will exceed the electoral load for the circuit.   Unfortunately, in our older buildings (the one’s without A/C) the electrical system may not be equipped to handle multiple A/C units, technology, and all of the other things we plug in that didn’t exist when the building was built.   We’ll work with our Maintenance Department to further problem solve this issue on a case by case basis.

What can I do if I still have questions or concerns?

For questions specific to your child and school, the building principal is the best option.  If you have questions about our district procedures during this time, or have some great ideas for helping us navigate this, please contact me samantha.steele@district6.org, 541-494-6201 (office), 541-840-5644 (cell).  We certainly don’t have all of the answers, but I know the D6 community—parents, kids, and staff—can work together during this difficult time to keep our kids safe and healthy.


Air quality and outdoor student activity, school closure or delay

September 3rd, 2017 by admin

Currently, schools in District 6 will open on Tuesday, as scheduled. School closures or delays resulting from air quality issues will be handled like severe weather delays and closures. School officials will monitor the Air Quality Index and weather to consider school closure or delay should conditions be deemed unsafe. Any decisions about closure or delay will be made by 6:00 am on school days (at the very latest) and posted on the District 6 website and Facebook page. Staff will be notified via email.

The Department of Environmental Quality has consistently categorized the air quality in the Rogue Valley as “unhealthy” (although there have been a few, brief windows of relief) and today the Air Quality Index has reached “Very Unhealthy” levels for much of the valley. The proximity, intensity and size of surrounding wildfires, combined with our typical summer weather conditions, suggest that the valley will face smoky conditions for at least a few weeks.

All children are designated “sensitive populations” and during “Unhealthy” and worse conditions, should limit activity in smoky conditions. School officials are closely monitoring the air quality conditions and use the DEQ’s index to make decisions about outdoor activity, along with specific guidance from the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) for secondary athletics and activities, and the Oregon Health Department for outdoor school activities (recess, PE and other activities).

Use the following links for specific information: http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/, Oregon Health Department Guidelines, OSAA Guidance, EPA Guidelines for Schools.

While it’s easy to limit outdoor activities, conditions indoors also pose some risk to children and adults. The majority of our buildings are quite old and not equipped with air conditioning. However, even air-conditioned spaces provide little protection from the outdoor air quality. Air handlers utilize outside air for cooling and the filtration system in typical air conditioning systems does not filter out all hazardous particles. Only chambered entrances combined with air purification systems (found in buildings like hospitals and some homes) offer significant insulation from poor outdoor air quality. Further, simply opening and closing exterior doors (something that happens consistently through the school day) exposes interior, air-conditioned spaces directly to outdoor air conditions.

Any student who is sensitive to outdoor air conditions will be allowed to remain indoors for recess, PE or other activities. School staff, including principals, teachers, and classified staff are aware that some students may be extra sensitive to the smoke.

Finally, parents will ultimately make decisions about their child’s exposure to smoky outdoor air. If your child is particularly sensitive to the smoky air or has a medical condition that requires limited exposure, you may choose not to send your child to school. If this is the case, please contact your school; arrangements can be made for your child to receive assignments at home.

Even as the smoky air poses a challenge for opening week, District 6 schools and staff are prepared and excited to welcome your children to the 2017-18 school year.

June 12th, 2017 by admin

2017-18 Budget Message

May 4th, 2017 by amy.shipley@district6.org

After a one year reprieve from using cash carry-over to close the gap between revenue and expenditures, Central Point School District 6 returns to a budget that will require access to cash reserves to avoid cuts and ensure that we staff our schools to meet the needs of a growing enrollment. While the focus of our annual budget message is our school district, this year it is also important to consider why the state school fund is lacking while the Oregon economy is booming.

Oregonians see signs of a robust state economy everywhere they look – there are “help wanted” signs in the window of local businesses. Further, unemployment rates are the lowest on Oregon record, income is increasing and the housing market is growing at a rapid pace. Many of us find it hard to believe that our schools could be underfunded during this economic boom. However, the state school fund is predicted to fall significantly short of what will be required to maintain services and programs for most school districts in Oregon.

An April 9th editorial in the Oregonian summarizes the state budget issue – Oregon’s economic growth and resulting state revenue simply cannot keep up with its spending. The expansion of Medicaid and other health insurance increases, the unfunded PERS liability and the $357 million dollars in unfunded ballot measures approved by voters in November, are each a major contributor to a growing gap between Oregon’s revenue and spending.


The 2017-18 school year is the first year in the biennium and revenue from the state school fund is currently a moving target; we may not have a final figure until July (after statute requires an approved budget for the district). So far, it looks as though getting to that number will be a wild ride. The governor’s budget put the state school fund at about $8 billion, with the caveat that the state must have a plan to increase revenue. The co-chairs’ of Oregon’s legislative joint Ways and Means produced an “existing resources budget framework” that put the state school fund at around $7.8 billion. For some perspective on those numbers, COSA (the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators) and OSBA (Oregon School Boards’ Association) have identified $8.0 billion as “cuts” level funding for most districts and $8.4 billion as “the minimum” required to maintain programs and services.

However, the Central Point School District is in the fortunate minority – the combination of a strong beginning fund balance and steady enrollment increases will allow the district to avoid cuts and provide the staffing required to meet growing enrollment. We’ve built the 2017-18 budget on an anticipated $7.9 billion-dollar state school fund (our conservative best guess).

Our projected beginning fund balance is about $5 million and our projected general fund revenue is at $48.2 million (this includes beginning fund balance, state school fund and property tax revenue). Our general fund revenue projection is also based on a slight enrollment increase.


The proposed 2017-18 budget will maintain services and programs and provide the additional staff required to meet enrollment increases.

Additions to the budget include 32.5 FTE (both classified and certified). While that number is astounding, the funding for most of these positions will be off-set by decreased program costs through SOESD. New positions funded to address program, services and enrollment include: 6.0 FTE at elementary, and 6.0 FTE at middle school and 2.0 FTE in additional programs and services. Further, we’ve budgeted for new classroom set-ups, a professional development fund, a technology investment fund and funding for additional facilities.

While we’re fortunate to avoid cuts, it’s important to note that many of the programs and services on the chopping block in other districts, are programs and services that District 6 was not able to “add back” following the last recession. On average, revenue for District 6 remains lower than other local districts (the combination of general fund revenue and federal fund revenue). Further, we’re committed to attracting and retaining the best possible staff by offering competitive compensation packages that are above average. Because of fewer dollars in revenue and more dollars in expenditures, our class sizes are higher than average and programs such as elementary music and some activities and athletics are not yet at pre-recession levels.

Challenges and Opportunities

Many of the challenges and opportunities identified last year, remain this year.

  • Special Education costs continue to increase. We are assessing the value of services offered through SOESD and where it is both cost effective and best for our students, we will transition to in-district services. For the 2017-18 school year, the STEPS program (which is already housed in district and is comprised of primarily District 6 students) and some specialists (autism and psychologists) will transition from SOESD programs to District 6 programs.
  • Class sizes continue to be above average for both Oregon and the region. However, open enrollment has allowed for additional teachers at three elementary schools and both middle schools – we expect class sizes to decrease in 2017-18.
  • Our facilities continue to be a challenge: heating and cooling issues; school safety; universal design for student access; classroom space in our in-town schools; and many other issues that emerge from well-worn and well-loved facilities. This year, we’ll not only invest in tackling some deferred maintenance, but will use a $1.5 million-dollar grant for seismic retro-fit at Mae Richardson Elementary. Finally, the district is considering how to best utilize our existing facilities, and add additional classroom space where needed.

District 6 remains committed to our communities. Our goal in the 2017-18 budget is to provide the best possible educational experience for our students while remaining good stewards of our public funds. Our strategy includes identifying efficiencies and making investments in the programs and services with the most significant impact on our kids.


District 6 is dedicated to helping each student reach his or her full potential. The outcomes identified in our strategic planning process in 2014 remain our focus: Core Knowledge; Creative Problem Solving; Collaboration; Transition; Communication and Character. Our 2017-18 budget reflects the programs and talented staff that we know will make a difference in every child’s success.

Samantha Steele


2015-16 Special Education Report Card

May 4th, 2017 by amy.shipley@district6.org

District Special Education Report Card in English

District Special Education Report Card in Spanish

Updates to test results for lead levels in D6 schools

April 20th, 2017 by matt.price@district6.org

April 20, 2017

Results of our follow up tests for faucets which exceeded EPA limits during our 2nd round of testing in December are listed below. These tests, along with future tests, are part of the District’s protocol to locate the sources of lead. Remedies to correct lead levels which exceed EPA limits may include replacement of fixtures, the addition of filters, and/or other plumbing projects.  Alternative sources of water may be supplied if plumbing work cannot be completed in time for school.  This process represents our commitment to provide our students and staff with water which meet standards set by the EPA.

Test Results_3rd Round_Jewett Elementary

Test Results_3rd Round_Mae Richardson Elementary

Test Results_3rd Round_Patrick Elementary

Test Results_3rd Round_Scenic Middle School

Test Results_3rd Round_District Office

Test Results_3rd Round_Central Point Elementary

Updates to test results for lead levels in D6 schools

December 21st, 2016 by matt.price@district6.org

December 21, 2016

Results of our follow up tests for faucets which exceeded EPA limits during our testing in November are listed below.  These tests, along with future tests, are part of the District’s protocol to locate the sources of lead.  Remedies to correct lead levels which exceed EPA limits may include replacement of fixtures, the addition of filters, and/or other plumbing projects.  Alternative sources of water may be supplied if plumbing work cannot be completed in time for school.  This process represents our commitment to provide our students and staff with water which meet standards set by the EPA.

Thank you.

Test Results_2nd Round_Hanby_Sams Valley_Patrick

Test Results_2nd Round_Jewett Elementary School

Test Results_2nd Round_Sams Valley Elementary

Test Results_2nd Round_Scenic Middle School

Test Results_2nd Round_Crater High School

Test Results_2nd Round_Hanby Middle School

Test Results_2nd Round_District Office

Updated information and test results for lead levels in D6 schools

December 12th, 2016 by amy.shipley@district6.org

December 11, 2016

I want to update you about lead testing in our schools’ water sources.  Following the news from Portland Public that revealed levels of lead that exceeded EPA standards in a few of their aging school buildings last spring, we opted to begin testing for lead in our buildings.  In June of 2016 random water samples were collected from every district facility and tested for lead—none of the random samples collected in June exceeded EPA standards for lead. Copies of the results were provided to the Mail Tribune and links to the actual reports, by building, were posted on the District’s website and FaceBook.

Under current law, all of our school buildings, with the exception of Sams Valley Elementary, are exempt from mandatory water testing because they are served by city water systems.  The laws are based on the fact that municipal water systems test the water prior to distribution to the community, including the schools.  In Sams Valley, where water is from a well, water samples are analyzed weekly for chlorine and every three years for lead.

In the last few months, the Oregon Legislature and the Oregon Health Authority have released recommendations for lead testing of water systems.  One of these recommendations suggests that in order to identify sources of lead, schools should test all taps used in schools for drinking or food preparation.  While this was only a recommendation, and our initial, random, tests revealed no issues with lead, I felt that a voluntary test of all taps used in our schools for drinking, food preparation, and potential consumption was again, a good idea (our buildings, including the plumbing, are aging). Therefore, our maintenance staff collected samples from 790 water sources in our buildings.

Results of this second-round of testing are now in and are posted by building, below.  Results continue to demonstrate that overall, our drinking water is safe.  However, results also revelaed that 6% of water sources within the district have lead levels which exceed the EPA limits.  Only one of those sources was a drinking fountain—the majority were restroom faucets.   These taps, if used for drinking or food preparation, were shut off immediately.  Taps where shutoff is not possible have tagged clearly with an explanation that they are not to be used for drinking or food preparation.  Remedies to correct this issue may include replacement of fixtures, the addition of filters, and/or other plumbing projects. Alternative sources of water may be supplied if plumbing work cannot be completed in time for school.

Our commitment is that no person will be allowed to drink or prepare food with water from fixtures that are found to exceed EPA standards or are unsafe.  I will continue to keep you updated as we work to correct the few sources within the district which require attention.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns related to this issue.


Samantha Steele

Central Point Elementary

Jewett Elementary

Mae Richardson Elementary

Patrick Elementary

Sams Valley Elementary

Hanby Middle School

Scenic Middle School

Crater High School

District Office


Test results for all District 6 schools indicate lead levels below EPA standards

June 16th, 2016 by amy.shipley@district6.org

Like many of you, we were concerned about drinking water after seeing news about unhealthy levels of lead in some elementary schools in Portland.  Currently, Oregon law does not require schools to test drinking water, however, District 6 collected water samples, on June 2, 2016, from all district facilities (except Sams Valley—that facility was tested in September of 2015 as part of routine required testing for well water)  to test for lead and copper.  Although some samples contained small amounts of lead, all samples were below EPA standards.  Samples were taken from a variety of sources in each building and collected according to the protocols established by Neilson Research.  Neilson also conducted the analysis of each sample and their reports, by building, are linked below.

Central Point Elementary

Jewett Elementary

Mae Richardson Elementary

Patrick Elementary

Hanby Middle School

Scenic Middle School

Crater High School

District Office