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A request to get a discussion of a “land trade” on the Hillsboro School Board agenda appeared to take several board members by surprise during a work session Tuesday night.


Glenn MillerBoard member Glenn Miller broached the topic with other board members during the session, which preceded the regular board meeting. He said he’d met with Ed Bartholemy, who owns land in the south Cooper Mountain area, to talk over the possibility of a land trade between the Beaverton and Hillsboro school districts.

The “trade” would make a small area of south Cooper Mountain part of the Beaverton School District and an area in the southeast part of the planned South Hillsboro development part of the Hillsboro School District.

Board member Monte Akers and Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck also attended the recent meeting with Bartholemy.

Andy DuyckThe news didn’t sit well with several of Miller’s colleagues, who indicated they were upset by its apparently covert nature.

School board member Janeen Sollman said she was “completely taken by surprise” at Miller’s request and had concerns that Miller did not follow “proper, professional” procedures.

“I question board members meeting with land owners [and] having these discussions without the knowledge of the school board chair,” she told fellow board members Tuesday night.

“I’m concerned about a private meeting,” said school board chairwoman Kim Strelchun. “We agreed it shouldn’t be a couple of people in a room.”

Strelchun said she first heard about the issue from a Beaverton School Board member.

“Enough of a conversation has already started [and] enough people are already involved. It needs to become an agenda item,” she added.

Miller indicated he believed the meeting was simply a constituent meeting with elected officials to discuss possibilities. He said he had spoken with “a couple of Beaverton School Board members.”

“It’s got some legs,” Miller said of the land trade idea.

For his part, Duyck took a political approach to the issue.

“I’m interested in what kind of legislation might be proposed,” Duyck said Wednesday morning. “From the county perspective there’s a transportation issue. Busing kids clear across the county simply does not make sense. I would like to see the issue resolved.”

The boundary issue dates back to 2010, when Bartholemy asked for 1,600 acres in the south Cooper Mountain area that sits within the Hillsboro School District boundary to be transferred inside Beaverton School District boundaries. Students in part of the south Cooper Mountain area attend Hillsboro’s Groner Elementary School. The boundary adjustment was on the ballot in 2010 for voters to decide, but was pulled due to improper filing of paperwork by people on both sides of the issue.

In 2012, Bartholemy led another charge to gather signatures for a boundary change — this time 235 acres along Southwest Scholls Ferry Road, west of Roy Rogers Road.

The state Legislature got involved during the 2013 session when Senate Bill 600 passed, directing both school districts to mediate the boundary dispute.

“The mediation didn’t go very far,” said Hillsboro School District communications director Beth Graser, explaining that neither district had a boundary quarrel with the other.

“It appears that there are no disputes between the districts along their lengthy boundary,” reads a report summary on mediation conducted by the two districts as directed by SB 600. “Each district recognizes that with any boundary there always will be some areas that are more challenging to serve than others, but the current boundary is manageable as [it] currently exists.”

Sollman was skeptical about Bartholemy’s motives.

“This is a case of a guy not getting what he wants, so he’s back, trying a new direction,” she said.

Schools Superintendent Mike Scott also expressed concern about the boundary issue unexpectedly coming up again.

“All kinds of community members weighed in on this last time,” Scott said. “They’re not going to be happy we haven’t done our communication part.”


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