School board welcomes Aird, Wallin to the board
The Lake Oswego School Board held a brief meeting Tuesday, June 25, to certify the results of the May 21 election. Superintendent Lora de la Cruz and the members of the school board officially certified Kirsten Aird and John Wallin's positions on the board and the passage of the LO Learning Levy. Aird will hold Position 5, formerly held by Bob Barman. Incumbent John Wallin will return to Position 1, after receiving 6,582 of the votes against challenger Kelly Calabria's 4,063. Aird and Wallin will serve four-year terms.
Wallin, who works as director of technical communications for AppNexus, was first elected to the school board in 2015; since then he has served a year as board chair (from 2017 to 2018) and played a significant role in the passage of a $187 million school bond in 2017. He also helped the district recruit de la Cruz and said his proudest accomplishment was leading the effort to change secondary school start times in accordance with adolescent sleep patterns.
Aird is a board member of the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation and chair of the Palisades Neighborhood Association. A public health professional who currently works with the Oregon Health Authority, she also has prior experience working on the LOSD Elementary Task Force. Aird received 7,993 votes after running unopposed.
The school board also certified the results of the local option levy, known as the LO Learning Levy; it passed with 69.8% of voters saying yes to the tax increase.
The school district first approved the levy — which is a tax based on assessed property values — in 2000 as a response to changes in statewide education funding, and it was renewed in 2004, 2008 and 2013.
This year, the district asked voters to approve a $.25 cent increase in the levy, bringing it from $1.39 to to $1.64 per $1,000 in assessed property value. Officials said the new levy would not only preserve about 80 teaching, licensed and support positions, but also fund significant new investments in mental health supports, STEM/Innovation, reading, physical education and safety.
Outgoing board chair Bob Barman said he is grateful that he was able to witness the levy certified at his last meeting. "I'm proud of the voters who voted for it," he said. "As my last act on the board, I would like to make a motion that we certify these wonderful election results."
The levy funding will allow the district to add seven new mental health and social-emotional learning counselors — three in elementary schools and four in secondary schools. Eight new STEM/Innovation teachers (six in elementary and two in secondary) will be hired, as will one additional school resource officer. With early reading being perhaps the most significant emphasis in the levy campaign, the district promised to add three elementary support/learning specialists.
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