Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, March 25, 2015, Image 15

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    Polk County Itemizer-Observer • March 25, 2015 15A
Polk County Schools/Education
SB 322 foes state their case Should WOU ban
campus smoking?
Proposal would
halt fifth-year
programs in
high schools
Student group is pitching idea
By Emily Mentzer
The Itemizer-Observer
By Jolene Guzman
The Itemizer-Observer
SALEM — More than 100
students, school administra-
tors and parents gathered at
the state capitol Thursday to
express concern over a bill
that would kill fifth-year
programs in high schools
Of those who testified at a
public hearing on the pro-
posed legislation — and
there were many — the ma-
jority of them urged the Ore-
gon Senate Education Com-
mittee to kill the bill instead.
Senate Bill 322 as amend-
ed Thursday would phase
out what are called fifth-year
programs operating in 26
school districts across the
state, including ones in Dal-
las, Central and Falls City.
The phase out would require
school districts to decrease
by half the number of stu-
dents participating in pro-
grams starting next year.
Fifth-year — and sixth-
year in Dallas’ case — pro-
grams have students defer
receiving a standard high
school diploma in order to
pursue an advanced diplo-
ma and attend classes at a
community college. Because
they are still a high school
student, the State School
Fund pays for the courses.
Among those urging the
committee to give the bill a
second thought was one cur-
rent student of Dallas High’s
Extended Campus and a for-
mer student who used the
opportunity to complete
Chemeketa Community Col-
lege’s medical assistant pro-
RaeAnna Shaffer, a 2012
graduate of Dallas High
School, said she is the first in
her family to earn a college
degree, and Extended Cam-
pus made that accomplish-
ment easier.
“It helped me cross that
bridge and made it really un-
derstandable,” she said.
Nick Bradford, the current
Extended Campus student,
told a similar story, saying Ex-
tended Campus has provided
an education he otherwise
didn’t think was possible.
“I would like this program
to keep going so that other
people … can follow the
path that I have followed,”
he said.
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
Brian Green, assistant DHS principal, left, talks with Nick Bradford and RaeAnna Shaffer
before testifying at public hearing on Senate Bill 322 in Salem on Thursday.
JOLENE GUZMAN/ Itemizer-Observer
Sen. Mark Hass, center, asks a question during Thursday’s
public hearing on a bill that would end “fifth-year” pro-
grams in high schools. He is one of the bill’s sponsors.
Brian Green, the Dallas
High assistant principal who
has overseen the program
since it began in 2005-06,
also testified Thursday.
He said the program pro-
vides a smooth transition to
college and a higher reten-
tion rate than traditional av-
enues to college — about 80
“The impact of disman-
tling the fifth-year program
would be devastating to Dal-
las High School. We would
not be able to compete with
our neighbors, West Salem
and McMinnville, for the pro-
grams those students have
because we just don’t have
them,” Green said. “I would
urge the committee to recon-
sider and to join us, those
who have a proven program,
so that we can work for a col-
lective solution. I’m confident
there is a better solution.”
Green wasn’t alone in ask-
ing for compromise. School
officials and students from
Albany, Lebanon, Corvallis,
Scio and Gervais lined up to
testify against the bill.
Bill proponents say the
use of funding designated
for K-12 education is “not fi-
nancially sustainable” and
Se n . Ma r k Ha s s ( D -
Beaverton), the bill’s spon-
sor, said districts are using a
loophole in Oregon statutes
24 hour
intended to pay for students
to finish high school to offer
the programs.
“If more districts take ad-
vantage of that loophole, the
system will fail,” Hass said.
Hilda Rosselli, the college
and career readiness director
for the Oregon Education In-
vestment Board, said the
program would cost the
State School Fund at least
$19 million over a two-year
period with just the 26 dis-
tricts currently participating,
according to Oregon Depart-
ment of Education figures.
“In short, many district
leaders report liking what
the fifth-year program does,
but feel that it is unethical to
use the State School Fund in
ways it was not intended to
be used,” Rosselli said.
School officials took ex-
ception to the use of the
word “unethical” to describe
the programs.
Lebanon Superintendent
Rob Hess said what the 26
district are offering students
is legal and above board.
“If we are doing what is
right for kids, it’s not unethi-
cal,” he said.
Pick up &
Drop Off
dents in the Community
and Family Health Organi-
zation club at Western Ore-
gon University are asking:
Should WOU be smoke- or
Right now, smoking is al-
lowed in designated areas
on campus, but, according
to polls conducted by stu-
dents, 80 percent of stu-
dents, staff and faculty are
in favor of eliminating
smoking, or of getting rid of
tobacco use on campus al-
together, said Matthew
Stevens, Polk County’s to-
bacco prevention and edu-
said it is
exciting to
see stu-
than ad-
ministrators, shaping future
smoking policies on cam-
“In the end, it’s the stu-
dents’ call,” he said. “They’re
canvassing, asking for sig-
natures from students, staff
and faculty. They’re taking
those results to campus gov-
ernmental bodies and doing
presentations on why they
believe it would be impor-
tant to have a tobacco-free
Oregon State University
in nearby Corvallis became
a nonsmoking campus in
2012. The University of Ore-
gon is also a smoke-free
Stevens said many stu-
dents who live on campus,
as well as professors who
work there, do smoke, but
all employees have tobacco
prevention services in their
health plans.
“We’re trying to be friend-
ly,” he said. People who want
to quit — and studies show
75 percent of people who
smoke do want to quit,
Stevens said — will get “quit
care packages,” Stevens said.
If the campus does go
smoke- or tobacco-free, the
next step would be going to
the Monmouth City Council
to try and work out smoking
in nearby neighborhoods.
“We don’t want smokers
lining up to smoke in front
of residences,” Stevens said.
“We want to be respectful of
our neighbors.”
At first, any policy would
be informative and encour-
aging, not punishing, he
“There would be time to
adjust to this,” Stevens said.
But with three-quarters of
smokers saying they want to
quit, he said adding more
places to the list of “no
smoking allowed” encour-
ages those smokers to make
the commitment to stop.
“The more places there’s
no tobacco allowed, the
more it helps them,” he
said. “Smoking is nearly as
addictive as heroin. We’re
trying to find people the
right opportunity to quit,
where they won’t find temp-
tation or triggers, and make
sure people have an envi-
ronment where it is con-
ducive to quitting.”
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