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By the numbers: SFSD $138 million bond measure rejected by the voters

By Stephen Floyd More than 7,700 ballots were cast and $23,000 donated for Measure 24-486 on the ballot in the Nov. 7 election. Had it passed, the measure would have raised more than $138 million for facility improvements throughout the Silver Falls School District (SFSD). According to election results published Nov. 17, the measure was failing by 55.71% out of […]

A look inside the new Sheltering Silverton facility at the city shops on McClaine Street. A grand opening celebration was held Nov. 21 at the site. James Day

Compassionate space – Sheltering Silverton opens new facility

By James Day Sheltering Silverton has hit a milestone in its serving of the homeless in town with the opening of its new warming shelter and cabins outside the parking lot of the city shops complex on McClaine Street. “It’s not the end, but it’s a new chapter,” said board president Mary Jane Schaffer, one of the speakers at an […]

Silver Falls School District

Holding steady – No big surprises in SFSD scores

By Stephen Floyd Student data for the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) was mostly status quo in the ’22-’23 school year compared to ’21-’22, as the district works to improve test scores. In the state’s At-A-Glance reports, published in October, the district saw little change in standardized test scores including 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math. The rate of […]

Bond fails – Silver Falls School District discusses next steps

By Stephen Floyd A $138 million bond measure for the Silver Falls School District failed by a wide margin in the Nov. 7 election. Results published Nov. 8 by the Oregon Secretary of State showed Measure 24-486 failing by 55.37% out of 6,782 ballots cast by voters in Marion and Clackamas counties. The SFSD bond would have funded improvements to […]

Tree of Giving season opens

The annual Tree of Giving program sponsored by the Silverton Zenith Women’s Club starts Nov. 1. Community members can help families during the holiday season by purchasing new clothes for children. Families wishing to sign up for the gifts can do so at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 303 N.  Church St. on Nov. 1, 4-6 p.m.; Nov. 2, 6-8 p.m.; Nov. […]

Update: Silverton High – Teachers link modern design to student success

By Stephen Floyd When Silverton High School (SHS) was completed in 2009, the campus benefited from modern design and tailor-made classrooms. Students could learn to cook in a commercial kitchen, learn the basics of firefighting in full gear, and learn car maintenance in a multi-bay auto shop. SHS teachers interviewed by Our Town said a custom learning space helps students […]

Gervais schools talk dissolution into neighboring districts

By Stephen Floyd School officials in Gervais have discussed possibly dissolving their district if a facilities bond fails next year, which could lead to schools in Silverton and Mt. Angel absorbing Gervais students. Bond proposals for the Gervais School District suffered landslide defeats in 2022 and 2023, and the district’s board is considering a third attempt for May of 2024. […]

Update: Bid to replace Middle School hopes to aim higher than ‘good enough’

By Stephen Floyd There aren’t a lot of mild opinions about plans to rebuild Silverton Middle School through a proposed facilities bond for the Silver Falls School District. Supporters of the $138 million bond describe the 1938 wing of the middle school as beyond saving and say it could have collapsed in on itself years ago. Opponents argue the $75 […]

Update: Failing pieces – Unexpected repairs impact budget, emergencies threaten safety

Editor’s note: Our Town is presenting a school-by-school review of the facility challenges at each building covered by the Silver Falls School District bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot. For previous stories go to ourtownlive.com.  By Stephen Floyd Mark Twain and Robert Frost elementary schools both recently had extreme examples of building failures during the start of a school […]

Letter to the Editor: Neighbors in support of SFSD school bond

Dear Editor: We are three moms in the Silver Falls School District. As we are getting our kids – 10 between us – ready for school this fall, chief on our “School Supplies List” is a big YES for the Silver Falls School District Bond on the November 2023 ballot! Like many families in our district, we send our beloved […]

Needs assessment – Prioritizing space, safety for Butte Creek, Scotts Mills

Editor’s note:  Our Town has been providing a school-by-school review of the facility challenges at each building covered by the Silver Falls School District bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot. Missed one? Stories are available at ourtownlive.com.  By Stephen Floyd Butte Creek and Scotts Mills schools are in a unique place in the Silver Falls School District’s plan for […]

Oversight SFSD board to announce bond committee prior to vote

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District Board will appoint a Bond Oversight Committee ahead of the Nov. 7 bond measure vote so participants will be known before votes are cast. The $138 million bond would impact all 11 schools in the district, and the committee would include at least one representative from within each school’s boundaries. There would […]

Aging out – 1947 HVAC systems, plumbing, cement failing schools, students

Editor’s note: Our Town is presenting a school-by-school review of the facility challenges at buildings covered by the Silver Falls School District bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot.  By Stephen Floyd A number of schools in the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) are relics of the baby boom, including Silver Crest, Evergreen and Victor Point schools all constructed in […]

Silver Falls School District

New contract – SFSD reaches agreement with non-teacher union

By Stephen Floyd Non-teacher employees have reached an agreement with the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) after four months of negotiations that largely centered on compensation, discipline and grievance procedures. On July 28, the district reached a tentative agreement with the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) for a three-year contract that would retroactively go into effect July 1. The contract […]

Bond plans – Central Howell, Pratum face water inundation, air quality woes

Editor’s note: Over the next several issues Our Town will present a school-by-school review of the facility challenges at each building covered by the Silver Falls School District bond proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot.  By Stephen Floyd Central Howell and Pratum schools are old enough to predate the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) itself. Both have roots in pioneer […]

Silver Falls School District

Bargaining – Non-teacher employees at the table

By Stephen Floyd Bargaining with non-teacher employees in the Silver Falls School District is nearing its third month, well before a 150-day official deadline. The previous contract expired July 1. SFSD began negotiating with the Oregon School Employees Association (OSEA) May 18. As of press time, slightly more than half of outstanding articles were resolved. Remaining issues include salaries, discipline, […]

Legal Matters: Charge, trial, sentence – Community service for vandalism spree

A Silverton man has pleaded guilty to vandalism after a graffiti spree last winter that saw thousands of dollars in damage to local public and private buildings. Roman L. Cunningham, 23, pleaded guilty June 29 to a felony charge of first-degree criminal mischief in Marion County Circuit Court. He is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 11 and, if he complies with […]

Bond backers – Political action committee forming to support SFSD bond

By Stephen Floyd Supporters of a $138 million facilities bond for the Silver Falls School District are forming a Political Action Committee (PAC) to engage in voter outreach ahead of the Nov. 7 election. While as of the Our Town press deadline the PAC had yet to be registered with the state, former members of the district’s Bond Advisory Committee […]

Governor Tina Kotek inspects the interior of one of Sheltering Silverton’s new “pallet shelters”. JAMES DAY

Homeless summit – Governor in Silverton for ‘listening’ sessions

By James Day Oregon Governor Tina Kotek visited Silverton on June 22, making two stops. One was to discuss homelessness and housing issues; the other to engage with agricultural and natural resource officials in a luncheon at The Oregon Garden. Our Town attended the homeless session. Media were not allowed at The Oregon Garden session. Kotek, 57, a first-term Democrat […]

Bond to the ballot

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District (SFSD) Board has approved a $138 million bond measure for the Nov. 7 ballot, concluding months of planning and ushering in months of rigorous outreach. The board’s June 20 decision was unanimous  and followed a recommendation from the district’s Bond Advisory Committee.  If the bond passes, revenue would address deferred maintenance and […]

SFSD withdraws appeal of violation

By Stephen Floyd The Silver Falls School District has dropped an appeal against a finding that it negotiated in bad faith with non-teacher employees over PERS benefits in 2020. The district was found in violation of labor laws Aug. 4, 2022, by the Oregon Employment Relations Board for negotiations in late 2020 with the Oregon School Employees Association. Parties were […]

Silver Falls School District math teacher Stacy Barker participates in a breakaway roping competition at a rodeo. Submitted Photo

Rodeo, teaching star – Stacy Barker proves expert in two paths

By Naiya Brown Stacy Barker is the math teacher at Sequoia Falls Academy in Silverton, but she has other strong interests, as well as a second career in rodeo. Barker, who grew up in Oregon City and graduated from Canby High, has been breakaway roping for 32 years and competing for 30 of them after initially enrolling at the University […]

Community Roots cuts middle school program

By Stephen Floyd Community Roots School is discontinuing its middle school program due to low enrollment and will change to a K-6 format beginning this fall. During an April meeting of the Silver Falls School District Board, School Administrator Christen Kelly said enrollment in 7th and 8th grades had experienced “considerable decline.” The district’s class size dashboard said ten students […]

SACA check-in – Connected past, demanding present, optimistic future

By Melissa Wagoner Silverton Area Community Aid – or SACA, as it’s affectionately known – has always operated with the same goal, to provide food for those in the Silverton area who need it. But that doesn’t mean it’s always looked the way it does today. “It started as a much smaller organization,” Executive Assistant Erin Wilson said. In fact, […]

Election review

Here is an overview of local candidates and measures on the May 16 ballot. To have your vote count, ballots must be submitted to an official site by 8 p.m. For a list of locations go to: co.marion.or.us/CO/elections/ and click on Ballot Drop Sites. Mt. Angel School District Position 1: Irene Novichihin, a retired educator with 31 years of experience […]