Quick Guide: Hillsboro School Board Position 3

Issue Monte Akers Martin Granum
Budget & Funding Supports pursuing additional funding through the proposed bond, future levy, and lobbying the state.

Thinks the school district budget could be more efficient

Supports pursuing additional funding through the proposed bond, future levy, and lobbying the state.

Thinks the school district budget is very efficient.

Contraceptives at school-based health clinics Voted No

Supports contraceptives with parental notification

Would revisit, vote yes

Supports equitable access to healthcare for male and female students.

Strategies for increasing graduation rate Accountability: Goal of increasing the graduation rate by 1% each year is tied to the Superintendent’s evaluation and the district’s Strategic plan. Emphasis on the Quality Education Model, particularly early literacy, attendance, dual language programs, and dual credit programs.  Says these programs require “stable and adequate” funding.
Student Activity Fees Introduced a proposal to eliminate all student activity fees (approximately  $400,000 annually) to provide access to extracurricular activities for all students. Supports existing income-based waivers of student activity fees for those who qualify, but says it is “irresponsible” to reduce revenue without proposing a replacement.

Learn more about the candidates’ positions on these issues below.

On Budgeting

Granum is a member of the Bond Advisory Committee, and is viewed as an enthusiastic supporter of the proposed bond.  He speaks frequently about the need for stable and adequate funding for public education.  He has lobbied in Salem for additional funding from the state, and  would support asking voters for an operating levy as well.

Granum proposes looking into the history of the district’s 5% reserve fund. He said that the school district is relatively stable and that it might be possible to keep a smaller percentage of the operating budget in reserves. This money could then returned to the operating budget next year.

Akers also says that the Hillsboro School District is underfunded, and has lobbied in Salem for additional funds. He’d like to see the state school fund receive a higher percentage of the Oregon state budget again.  “It’s going to take a real groundswell to go to Salem and make sure they understand what they’re doing to us,” he said.

Akers said he has suggested increasing rates on income taxes for everyone, rather than something like Measure 97 where the money would have been, “coming from one part of the population.”Additionally, he supports the proposed bond and would also support asking Hillsboro voters for an operating levy in the future.

Granum said 90% of the district’s budget is going directly to serve students.  He believes the organization is already very efficient and compares favorably with metrics used to evaluate charitable organizations.

Akers is an advocate of zero-based budgeting, where you start from scratch rather than the previous year’s budget. “Not everything we’ve done in the past was efficient,” he said.


On Contraceptives in School-Based Health Clinics

Akers was on the School board when Virginia Garcia requested permission to provide contraceptives at the school-based health clinic at Century High School.  Akers voted no, although he supported a measure that would have allowed the clinic to provide contraceptives if they also notified parents. “I have nothing against contraceptives as long as parents are involved,” Akers said. He claimed to have difficulty understanding his opponent’s position that this is about equity, “that somehow we have a war against women, which is why we voted the way we did.”

When asked about contraceptives at the March 20 candidate forum, Granum said. “I would have voted differently.” In a follow-up interview, he said “I believe all students deserve the opportunity to thrive in our system. The fact is, we don’t have equity between our male and female students until our female students have full access to contraceptives. I support that access at our school-based health center and will work to make that a reality.” He noted that there are no restrictions on the services that can be provided for male students.


On Increasing the Graduation Rate

When asked about graduation rate, Granum focused on the Quality Education Model report from 2016. He emphasized key indicators like achieving early reading literacy and students’ attendance throughout their time in the district.  At Poynter Middle School, he said, the principal and vice principal make phone calls anytime a student is absent. Those are administrators who “get it,” in his opinion.

He also talked about the importance and effectiveness of dual language programs in elementary school and dual credit programs in high school.

Granum would like to see additional career and technical education (CTE) opportunities, and robust course offerings that students are “jazzed about.”  To do these things, he says “we need stable and adequate funding.”

Akers’ “claim to fame” from his time on the school board is that the graduation rate has gone up 6% in six years.  He believes this is because of accountability; it’s a component of the superintendent’s evaluation each year. It’s also in the Hillsboro School District’s strategic plan that the graduation rate will increase by 1% each year.  “You set the expectations high and people will reach them,” he said.

Student Activity Fees

One large component of Akers’ platform is an initiative that would eliminate all student activity fees, the fees paid by students to participate in after school activities like sports or band.  He said that students can already get these fees waived if they’re below the poverty line, but not all families want to ask for this waiver.  There are also some families who are just over that line and don’t quality for the waiver but still have difficulty affording the fee. He believes that extracurricular activities are where students learn soft skills like teamwork, and wants to remove this barrier to participation.

According to Akers, eliminating the activity fees would cost the district about $400,000. He doesn’t see this as a very high price tag, and believes that the money could be found by eliminating inefficiencies in the budget.

Granum supports waivers for students who quality, but believes it is irresponsible to lobby for a revenue cut without proposing a replacement at this time.