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New City Policy for Public Comments; Teachers Talk Disruptive Kids; Florence Makes Yet Another Top 10 List

New City Policy for Public Comments

The City of Florence is adopting new procedures for speaking at public meetings.  Beginning April 16th people that wish to make public comment on items that are not currently on the city’s meeting agenda are going to be asked to fill out a speakers card at least 5 minutes prior to the meeting.  The council adopted this new policy during its March 19th City Council Meeting.  The new procedure was initiated so that the council will be better situated to allow for similar topics to be aligned as well as maximizing the times that each speaker has.  Public comment is encouraged by the council and speaker cards will be available at the meetings or you can go online in advance of a meeting and fill one out at the city’s website ci.florence.or.us.

Teachers Talk Disruptive Kids

It might start with pencil tapping and end with an outburst that forces teachers to clear the classroom. Educators say disruptions have become a big challenge to their jobs. In this year’s legislative session, teachers from around Oregon shared stories of disrupted learning with lawmakers. Oregon Education Association President John Larson says the issue is getting worse, as more students come to class with unmet needs that affect their learning. One teacher who shared her story is Aimee Viramontes, an elementary special-education teacher in Corvallis. She says extreme outbursts have a lasting effect on the entire class.

“You don’t know if a pair of scissors is going to come flying across the room, you don’t know if you’re going to get berated with foul language, you don’t know if a teacher’s going to get hit. It takes a toll on everybody in the classroom.”

The Oregon Education Association recently scored a win from Governor Kate Brown’s office on this issue. Brown has appointed the Advisory Committee on Safe and Effective Schools for All Students, which will have its second meeting in April.  O-E-A says more students have mental-health needs and face such serious issues as potential homelessness, and that Oregon class sizes, which are larger than in most other states, compound the problem. Teresa Martin, a sixth-grade teacher with more than 20 years of experience, says she doesn’t have the training to help kids who face abuse or trauma at home.

“I’m not sure what has happened that morning or the night before, or if they even slept in a bed. I’m not sure what they witnessed. That sometimes is transparent with kids; you can see there’s something going on. And other times, they’re really good at disguising that, especially when they get to the middle school level.”

Martin says she has many students who would benefit if her school had a behavioral specialist on campus to speak with.

“It would be an investment in our future if we took the time, because between middle school and high school, you can see the writing on the wall sometimes. These kids are not going to make it, and I don’t want that. I want them to be successful.”

 O-E-A will hold town-hall meetings across Oregon on disrupted learning beginning in April.

Florence Makes Yet Another Top 10 List

Portland business journal recently ranked Florence in the top 10 of coastal Oregon cities based on real estate numbers.  The publication ranked individual cities by the average price of homes, number of days on the market and properties sold.  Florence ranked #2 in the amount of properties sold with 464 homes in 2017.  It ranked 17th with average days on the market at 125 and 25th in the price category with the average home price being 243,833.  Seaside’s combined rankings put them atop the list with Manzanita, Astoria, Warrenton and North Bend rounding out the top 5.