WL-WV administration provides safety, security updates
West Linn-Wilsonville School District administrators provided updates on the district's work to bolster emergency preparedness, environmental health and digital safety during an Oct. 22 work session.
"At the district level, student and community safety is a broad topic. It's a layer over everything we do," said Director of Operations Tim Woodley. "Is there more work to do? Yep. But we have a great start on this."
Years ago, the school district formed crisis management plans in case of a school emergency. But it was outdated.
Over the summer, the district formed comprehensive emergency safety guides that will be printed for every employee — so far about 1,000 copies are printed. The guide provides information on how to respond to a variety of emergencies — earthquake, student walkout/demonstrations, bomb threats and more.
"It's crisp and distinct," Woodley said, adding that there are enough guides to hang in every classroom and learning area in the school. There will also be safety guides printed in Spanish at each school.
Curtis Nelson, director of the WL-WV Department of Information Services, said intercom announcements will address how to deal with precarious events. Everytime there is a lockdown or lockout, 911 is called or the fire alarm goes off, the school district team is immediately notified.
"Then there's internal conversation about what it is," Woodley said. "Lots of times the fire alarm will go off and we won't know but then there's almost immediate communication back to us."
The new radio system in place at every school also lets staff communicate quickly.
This summer, district administration met with each school's leadership team to identify school evacuation sites, and have radios and video cameras installed. New Go Kits that include phone chargers, tape, extension cords, flashlights, first aid kits, among other items, have been given to each school as well.
This fall, the school district is developing staff and substitute safety webinars that will be added to their annual training.
Also updated this summer were primary and secondary tech use guidelines for internet safety.
"Don't think that what you're doing at school is private because it's not," Nelson said.
District will try organic alternative for reducing weeds
Woodley also updated the school board on the district's Integrated Pest Management Plan, which uses Oregon State University's list of low-impact pesticides including both herbicides for weeds and insecticides for garden pests.
Woodley said the school district has ordered a durable material that can fit under fences and reduce the need for chemical removal methods for weeds. In spring, the district is going to practice using a steam weeding machine to test its effectiveness in ridding smaller weeds.
PERS obligations increase
Also during the Monday evening work session, Son Le Hughes, the district's chief financial officer, talked about Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) — a pension fund designed to help public employees in their retirement — increases and obligations for the 2019-21 biennium.
Currently, the WL-WV school district has 298 employees in Tier One and Tier Two, and 653 employees in the Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP) — employees who've never worked for another PERS employer and were hired after Aug. 9, 2003 and before July 4, 2004.
Son Le said with PERS rates increasing by about 5.69 percent for Tier One and Tier Two employees and 5.57 percent for OPSRP employees, an approximate $3 million increase in PERS obligations will be seen each year in the next biennium. Currently the district's PERS reserve fund has about $3.8 million.
School board members wondered how PERS would play out over time for employers like the district.
Son Le said forecasting PERS is difficult but recommended that someone from the Oregon Department of Education present to the board three scenarios — from best case to worst case — as the district thinks about how to manage PERS in the coming years.