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Board adopts gun storage resolution, approves bond sale and looks ahead to pool decision

The Lake Oswego School Board approved a resolution on safe gun storage Monday Feb. 24. The action was timely, with the district's first annual safety symposium just around the corner.

"This action about gun safety storage, this resolution, is to recognize a safety issue and increase awareness and to increase safety for our students," Superintendent Lora de la Cruz said.

The draft, created by parents in the community in conjunction with LOSD officials, contains three actions: that the superintendent and staff update the district website to include information about the secure storage of firearms; that the district make parents and guardians aware of the importance of secure storage to protect minors from accessing irresponsibly stored guns; and that the board and the superintendent continue to work with local law enforcement agencies, health agencies and nonprofits to help spread the message about storage.

De la Cruz invited the parents who drafted the resolution to speak on the topic.

"I'm here today as a parent to say we need to really normalize this conversation. We need to make it easier for our parents to ask the question because we do have guns in our community," said Megan Busbee, who has two daughters at Westridge Elementary School and is a member of Moms Demand Action, an advocacy organization for public safety measure that protect against gun violence.

Cheri Partain, another parent in the district, said they came there that evening not with their Moms Demand Action hats on but with their "Be SMART" hats on. Be SMART is a campaign of Moms Demand Action that advocates for responsible gun storage.

"It's really important that the district take a bigger stance on this," she said.

"I gotta say I love this and I think it's long overdue. I know Lakeridge last year had an incident where there was a gun on campus. It never left the car but … students are now aware that there are guns in Lake Oswego and that they come to school whether we want them to or not," student school board member Eli Counce said.

School board member Kirsten Aird thanked the parents for bringing the resolution forward.

"I'm here today as a parent to say we need to really normalize this conversation. We need to make it easier for our parents to ask the question because we do have guns in our community."

— Megan Busbee

"Something like this is on the right side of history. We have got to start having these conversations," Aird said.

A gun storage law, HB 4005 (2020), has been proposed at the 2020 Oregon Legislature. A similar effort failed in 2019.

"I hope that LOSD will be a place that you can point to in terms of getting that flywheel going and taking the momentum that we have from this resolution into other districts," Lake Oswego School Board Chair Rob Wagner said. "Without the advocacy on behalf of our children we wouldn't have seen nearly the progress that we're going to make ... So with that I thank you so much."

When Wagner approved the action, the sound of the gavel was immediately followed by cheer and applause from the audience.

Board updated on bond sale, pool planning

Other actions Monday night included a resolution to sell the remaining $27 million of the 2017 capital bond. Due to federal spend-down rules, the whole of a bond cannot be issued all at once. The district is advised to sell the remainder as early as this April.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Stuart Ketzler presented a resolution for the sale of the remainder of the 2017 capital bond. Ketzler shared that the market is favorable for bonds right now. When the wider market isn't doing as well, people often flock closer to home for investments. With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, that's exactly what's happening right now.

The board received an update on the planning process of the district pool and the proposed partnership with the City that would include a recreation center. LOSD Director of Communication Mary Kay Larson and Executive Director of Project Management Tony Vandenberg updated the board on information gathered user group sessions and, most recently, the pool open house Feb.12.

A meeting with the City to determine whether to move forward in a partnership and approve the proposed plans is slated for mid-March.

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