Candidate for Corbett School District School Board ( Incumbent )
About Mark Hyzer
I have lived here in Corbett for over 15 years. I truly love living in Corbett for many of the same reasons you do. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently working for a consulting firm in Portland as Engineering Manager.
It has been my pleasure to serve on the board for the last seven years. During this time, parents, educators and others have repeatedly recognized Corbett for its achievements both in and outside the classroom.
Is Corbett School District perfect? Certainly not, but I do believe our school is unique. There is something special happening here. The school regularly receives visits from districts throughout the Northwest, wanting to learn what we are doing that is creating such tremendous results, despite declining funding. Yes there are many things that Corbett does differently, but I believe our teachers and administration are what really make Corbett special. Programs and concepts can only go so far – it’s the teachers that ultimately are producing the results we are seeing.
We are a community of many different viewpoints, yet I believe we all share a common goal of providing the best possible education for our children. My voting record on the board reflects unwavering support for the best possible education and school experience for our children. I remain steadfast in my commitment to this.
I believe Corbett will continue to rise to the challenges that come our way. It is going to take innovation, creativity, and shared sacrifice to bring us through theses challenging economic conditions. I believe my experience on the school board combined with my problem solving skills, makes me a strong candidate to continue serving on the board.
Why are you running for the CSD school board?
* I want to contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy in our community. For me, this means serving in my community which has involved serving with the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, coaching soccer, Corbett’s community day of service, working on the Grade School Eco Project and serving on the school board.
* I am absolutely committed to the idea that education is the key that opens doors and enables our youth to pursue their dreams. School boards fulfill a critical function in establishing policies and oversight of the administration necessary for proper function of a school district.
* I have seen the benefits of the Corbett School District for my son (who graduated in 2010) as well as numerous other district graduates. We frequently receive letters and notes from graduates of the school district noting the impact their experience and development at Corbett is having on their lives beyond high school. These testimonials motivate me to want to continue to serve on the board.
* I am thrilled at the prospect that my daughter (currently in kindergarten) has the opportunity to go to a local public school with such incredible opportunity for learning and preparation for life. I believe that by serving on the board, I can be involved in helping to maintain the excellence in education that Corbett has become famous for.
What impact do you hope to have on the board?
* Work to see that Corbett School District remains vibrant and thriving despite funding inequities. State funding formulas have put great pressure on smaller districts like Corbett to consolidate with larger surrounding districts. There has been a lot of press recently related to the impact on small districts and how they are handling it. Some of these districts have talked to Corbett to learn from what we have been doing to address the funding issues.
* Rebuild Corbett’s reserves. Good practice is to have around 6% carry forward while we expect to only have around 1.5% for the 2011-2012 school year.
* Continue to work to improve communication and exchange of information and ideas with the community. Anyone that has been involved with the district over the last several years would have to agree that significant improvements have been made in this area. While much has been done to increase communication with the community, more can be done. If re-elected, I will work with the board and the administration to help develop a more focused communication plan, which I would like to see include community information nights like the ones we’ve had this last school year – (around 6 total).
What new ideas might you bring to the position you are applying for?
* We need to look at ways to improve transportation of out of district students to eliminate congestion and reduce safety concerns at the school. We should look into bus transportation options which I believe would go a long way toward improving this situation.
* We should continue to have community information nights or forums that give the community an opportunity to learn what issues the district is working on and to talk with board members and administration about issues or concerns they have. School Board meetings are business meetings and public comments can and should be made. Current policies follow the recommendations of the Oregon School Board Association (OSBA) and are not intended to limit public input but to keep the board meeting focused on the pre-posted meeting agenda. Discussion of items not posted on the agenda by the board and administration violates public meeting notification laws.
* Performing arts needs a place to happen in Corbett. Repurposing the Springdale School is something I believe we should consider as a possible option for this activity. Obviously some major questions and cost issues remain, but I believe that our community would support exploring options to provide a place for performing arts, provided it is well thought through and the community has an opportunity to provide input.
* We need to do a better job of communicating the successes that are happening all around us in the school. From SAT scores, to state test results, four year graduation rates, incomplete rates, AP test passing percentages, etc. At almost every board meeting, there is some information presented that shows that Corbett is really exceptional in it’s academic achievement. We need to do a better job of consistently sharing this information with the community so they can see how Corbett compares to other schools around the state.
What are the strengths you have to bring to this position?
* There is no substitute for experience – I have seven years of experience serving on the school board. It takes time to learn all of the things you need to know to be a competent and fully functioning board member. I’ve participated in numerous OSBA seminars on topics including Public Meetings Laws, Roberts Rules of Order, Ethics, Evaluation of Superintendent, to name a few.
* Having served on the board, I’ve seen numerous budget cycles and understand the ebb and flow of revenues and expenditures and how state funding adjustments roll down to Corbett. I also know the history of contract negotiations with the certified and classified staff. This knowledge will be extremely valuable in future contract negotiations.
* I work with budgets on a daily basis in my work. This experience translates well to school finance and understanding the budget process.
* My son Brandon graduated from Corbett in 2010 and my daughter Meagan is currently in Kindergarten. I’ve seen the impact that quality education and great teachers can have on my children and other kids in Corbett. I have a vested interest in seeing high quality public education continue in Corbett.
What do you feel are the challenges facing the CSD and school board today and what would you like to see happen to address them?
Ever since I started on the school board seven years ago, we have been forced to make cuts just about every year. Next year is no different. We are currently in the budget process for 2011-2012 and we are looking at possible ways to increase revenue as well as additional cuts that would allow the school to keep a full school year and not increase class sizes. We are looking at charging for full day kindergarten, pre-school, and increasing pay to play for sports to increase revenue.
Some in the community are clearly unhappy with decisions, perceived lack of communication, and openness of the board. While the board is made up of a diverse group, it needs to be perceived as being open and responsive to the concerns of the community. Much of the issues that appear to be so contentious are related to either lack of information or inadequate access to the information that would address concerns and questions. Developing a formal communications plan that includes responses to questions and concerns from the community should be a priority for the board in the coming year.
For those that want to see it, the success Corbett has experienced over the last ten years are plan to see. Just last Saturday (April 30) the Oregonian Community News insert reported graduation rates for east county high schools. Corbett’s 2010 four-year graduation rate was 89% while the next closest was Oregon Trail at 69% and Gresham-Barlow at 64%. This type of news regarding Corbett’s school has become common but it never get’s old. We really do have something special here. I for one want to see it continued and built on.
Each candidate has been invited to participate and share their personal statements and answers to five questions. If you would like to see the list of candidates invited to participate and that are running for the CSD schoool board, please select here.