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Boundary Adjustment Process Discussion

February 24, 2015

There are two scenarios that may trigger a boundary adjustment discussion.

Scenario 1 - Voluntary adjustment of boundaries between districts. This could be either a patron asking to have a piece of property moved from one district to another or an agreement between two districts to trade property.

  1. The school boards of the two districts need to adopt a joint resolution, petitioning for the adjustment of boundaries between the districts. The statutes specify the necessary contents of the resolution / petition. The school boards can amplify on their reasons, if they wish. Each school board can act at its discretion, and neither of them is required to agree to anything, meaning that the process must be truly mutual. A specific description of the areas of each district to be adjusted should be identified, probably through a survey-level legal description.
  2. Upon each district’s adoption, the joint resolution / petition is then submitted to the District Boundary Board which is the Board of County Commissioners of all impacted counties.
  3. The resolution / petition must be submitted to the county with the largest portion of property. The Washington County Board of Commissioners must act on the resolution / petition within 100 days after submission. The other counties have an additional 60 days to act. There is nothing in the statutes that prevents all the counties from acting well before the 100 day / 60 day deadlines.
  4. Before the Boards of Commissioners can act, they must publish two public notices of the intended date they will adopt the order adjusting the boundaries. The first notice period must be no sooner than 25 days nor later than 15 days preceding the Board meeting, and the second notice, no sooner than 14 days nor later than 8 days preceding the Board meeting.
  5. There is no public hearing required for Board of Commissioners’ action, merely that the action occur at a public meeting where a quorum is present to approve it. The Board of Commissioners has no discretion in acting on the resolution / petition. A mutual, voluntary resolution / petition must be approved.
  6. Once the Board of Commissioners officially approves the resolution / petition, it is subject to a remonstrance process, where 500 "electors" residing within one of the school districts can join in a remonstrance petition, which must be filed within 20 days after the Board of Commissioners acts. If a remonstrance petition is correctly filed, an election will be held on the remonstrance, but only within that school district from which a proper remonstrance petition has been filed. So, if 500 voters in one district properly file a remonstrance petition with the District Boundary Board, but this is not the case in the other district, a remonstrance election will be held only in the district collecting 500 signatures. If voters in a remonstrance election reject the boundary adjustment, the adjustment is dead for a 12-month period. The Boards of Commissioners are designated as the "elections authority" for a remonstrance election.
  7. If no remonstrance petition is properly filed, the boundary adjustment is automatically adopted, but its effective date is delayed to a May 31 date, which, depending on the timing of the action, may be May 31 of the current or following year.
  8. Remonstrance election costs are to be prorated between the affected school districts according to a state-mandated formula.

Scenario 2 – Property owner proposes property be moved from one district to another and is denied, or property owner bypasses the impacted districts and goes directly to signature collection.

If one or both of the impacted districts fail to voluntarily grant the boundary adjustment request, the property owner can either give up or begin the process outlined below. The property owner may also choose to bypass the impacted districts and move straight to the process below, without any notification to the impacted districts.

  1. Property owner gathers 500 signatures from each impacted district;
  2. These signatures are then forwarded to the county clerks of each county in which both districts are located (in our case, that would be the Washington County, Yamhill County, and Multnomah County clerks);
  3. County clerks determine whether or not the 500 signatures are valid (i.e. legitimate signatures of registered voters);
  4. Assuming 500 valid signatures from each district, the Board of Commissioners in each county, acting as the Boundary Board, reviews the application to ensure it has been legally and properly prepared, and approves the application. There is no discretion allowed on the part of the Boundary Board;
  5. Following Boundary Board’s approval, the residents of the impacted districts have a 20-day Remonstrance Period to gather 500 signatures in one or both of the impacted districts. If the property owner did not approach the impacted districts before starting this process, the impacted districts might not learn of the Boundary Board decision until approval has already taken place;
  6. Assuming 500 valid signatures, an election will be held in each district collecting signatures. If signatures are collected in both impacted districts, an election will be held in both districts; if signatures are only collected in one district, an election will be held in that one district;
  7. The cost of the election will be split between all agencies with something on the ballot.

Board-generated criteria to be studied when considering boundary adjustments between districts

Questions to be answered by the party requesting a boundary adjustment:

  1. Reason for the boundary change adjustment request?
  2. Size of the requested boundary change adjustment in acres?
  3. Number of students in boundary change adjustment request area by grade level (i.e., elementary school, middle school, high school)?
  4. Number of families in the boundary change adjustment request area?
  5. What actions have been taken with the other impacted district?

Questions for District to answer when considering a boundary adjustment request:

  1. Potential budget impact a. Value of potential lost ADMw?
    1. Estimated Assessed Value of boundary adjustment request area?
    2. What happens to the debt service of the bonded debt associated with the boundary adjustment request area?
    3. What is the potential future growth in the boundary adjustment request area?
  2. What is the potential impact on the local community of the boundary adjustment request? Does the local community support the boundary adjustment request?
  3. What is the potential impact of the boundary adjustment request on other portions of the District?
  4. What will the impact be on schools within and adjacent to the boundary adjustment area?
  5. How does the boundary adjustment request impact the District’s long-range plan?

Actions to be taken by the District when a boundary adjustment request is received:

  1. Ask the party requesting the boundary adjustment to answer the questions posed above (i.e., reason for boundary change adjustment request, etc.).
  2. Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer schedule a meeting with the other district, and include them in the impact study.
  3. Obtain a legal opinion regarding the proposed boundary adjustment request.
  4. Develop a communication plan and timeline, including the follow stakeholders:
    1. Impacted families
    2. Impacted community
    3. Impacted district’s school board i. (Note: It is the petitioner’s responsibility to make a formal request to the impacted district)
    4. Community officials
    5. Others?

Actions to be taken once the District learns that the Boundary Board has approved a boundary adjustment request:

  1. Schedule a school board meeting to discuss: a. The remonstrance period;
    1. Whether or not to collect signatures necessary to get the issue on the ballot;
    2. Who will be responsible for collecting signatures;
    3. Process for collecting signatures.

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