New committee members will help keep bond on track
The Lake Oswego School Board approved the appointment of four new members to the district's Bond Accountability Committee: Tom Cole, Brian Doran, Victor Millan-Simpkins and Gregory Saliba.
The Bond Accountability Committee (BAC) was created by the school board and former Superintendent Heather Beck in August 2017, three months after the Lake Oswego community voted to approve an $187 million school bond to improve school technology, facilities and student safety. It is a citizen committee charged with monitoring the planning and progress of the bond program relative to the voter-approved work scope, schedule and budget objectives. The committee was created "in response to the need for public transparency and accountability regarding the District's effective use of capital construction bond funds," according to the committee charter.
The school board sought new members because the two- or three- year terms of some members (Jennifer Dale and Kirsten Day) are nearing expiration.
At Monday night's school board meeting, board members Kirsten Aird and Liz Hartman shared their recommendations for who to bring on the team.
"We had a really nice set of applicants from the community," Aird said. "It's evident that they have a real genuine interest to participate and give back. ...These folks absolutely 100 percent understood what their role would be as members of the committee: to speak really transparently about what they're seeing the school district do."
To ensure that all committee members don't vacate their seats at the same time, the school board has assigned one- and two-year terms. "I think we got the cream of the crop," Hartman said. "There is complete consensus."
Aird said she is happy that the new members are parents of young children, so they have a vested interest in the success of the district. "These are all parents of very young people, so their commitment and interest in the facilities is very real and very long term," she said.
Cole, Doran, Millan-Simpkins and Saliba will attend their first Bond Accountability Committee meeting Nov. 7.
Cole works as director of Data Systems and Data Science Platforms at Nike and will serve a two-year term on the committee. He has lived in Lake Oswego for eight years, and has children attending Lake Grove Elementary. Cole stated on his application for the position that he believes the implementation of the first school bond is critical to the success of the remaining two proposed bonds. "The community wants to make sure monies are spent as intended and the LOSD is getting value for the expenditures," he wrote. "I have significant experience in large capital projects at Nike, so I believe I have the knowledge required to fill this role."
Doran will serve a one-year term on the committee. He is the chief financial officer for Travel Portland, and is responsible for accounting practices, financial planning, treasury management, human resources, internal controls and information technology. Doran has children at Forest Hills Elementary, and has participated in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion meetings there. Doran said in his application that he believes his prior work experience will make him a valuable asset to the Bond Advisory Committee. "I am a big picture thinker but with an eye for numbers. In my capacity as CFO for a nonprofit funded by public money, I am comfortable balancing both sides of debates," he wrote.
Millan-Simpkins brings to his two-year term an abundance of experience in work very similar to that of Tony Vandenberg, the LOSD's executive director of project management. Millan-Simpkins served as the project manager for the Los Angeles School District Facilities Department, which included construction and improvements to facilities and security. His duties included design development, budgeting, contracting, construction administration and more. He now works as a designer in Portland for a company called the Silicon Brick. Millan-Simpkins said in his application that he would like to sit on the committee to "serve (his) community and its students with (his) knowledge and experience, and to participate in the civic process of transparency and accountability in our school facilities."
The final appointee is Saliba, who will serve a two-year term. Salina is the president and founder of Taurus Capital Management, and has also worked as a corporate banker, investment banker and advisor, and adjunct finance professor at Portland State and Willamette Universities. He has three children at River Grove Elementary, who inspired his application to the committee. "I would like to get more involved in the school district, financing objectives and assist where I can in the community," he wrote. "I have three young children in the school district and care deeply about the efficient use of resources to provide all children of Lake Oswego the best facilities possible."
For more information on the Bond Accountability Committee, visit www.losdschools.org/Page/2209. The next meeting will be held Nov. 7. from 4-6 p.m. at the bond office at Palisades Elementary.
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