Charter School Organizers Frustrated; Health Fair; Business Changing Locations; Public Art Selections Made; PTA Talent Show

Charter School Organizers Frustrated

The already two year process in establishing a Charter School in Florence can be summed up by board members of the Siuslaw Valley Charter School.  Frustration.  Kay King says time after time they feel as if they have met the requirements set forth by the 97J school board only to take two steps back.

“You Feel you go in ready and you think ‘okay this is going to be all they need’ and then they just have more they want so I think it’s a control thing at this point is what it feels like.”

King says that with a board of educators that includes former Mapleton School Superintendent Jodi O’mara, they believe they have all the bases covered to be able to move forward, but still cannot come to some sort of consensus with the 97j board.  She felt that by bringing in one of the architects of the ORS 338 statute Kevin Mannix, that would give the board a sense of relief to the question of Affiliation with Hillsboro College.

“It doesn’t make sense that they wont trust their opinion. You know I don’t think they want to go to court over this, I know I don’t.”

King was asked if it would have been better if the board would have denied the request which would allow them to go directly to the Oregon Department of Education for approval.

“If they send this to ODE and we have to get approval, if they become the one that okays our school, then Siuslaw School District gets no funding for each student.  All of it goes directly to the Charter School.”

According to King the Siuslaw School District would still get 20% of the funds allocated per student if they are directly involved in the institution of the school.  King says the board chose the curriculum of Hillsdale College because of the classical education structure and its wide use by other public charter schools across the nation, and they are firm in keeping with Hillsdale’s Curriculum, but it could all come down to a single word and its definition, Affiliation.  The 97j school board’s counsel says the wording in ORS-338 is set in such a way so as not to cross the boundaries of church and state.  King says the SVCS board would like to set up a meeting with members of the 97j board, their board and the legislator involved in the creation of ORS-338.  She believes that will calm any nerves surrounding the controversy.

Health Fair

This Saturday Peace Harbor Medical Center will host a women’s health Fair at the Florence Events center.  The event will have booths that cover most areas of women’s health including OB/GYN, radiology, physical therapy, diet and Healthy eating, and chest pain and stroke.  At the completion of the fair there will be a live Doc Talk to answer audience questions as well as give an overview of the care provided by Peace Harbor.  The time is from 10am until noon and it is free to attend.

Business Changing Locations

The Kyle Building, one of Florence’s oldest and certainly most prominent commercial structures, is no longer the home of the Bridgewater Restaurant.  The popular old town eatery closed up last week in preparation for a move to smaller quarters a half-block away.  Eric and Beth Stenke have been operating the Bridgewater for eight years and like many businesses, they struggled through the pandemic.  But since it ended the struggle has taken a different tone.  Beth Stenke said they’ve been forced to curtail the hours they open due to an inability to recruit and hire enough workers.  That’s why they’re moving a half-block to the east and the space that was occupied until last fall by the Bay Street Grille.  Right now they’re in the process of getting the new space ready and moving in.  Strenke says they plan on reopening shortly after March 1st.

Public Art Selections Made

Last week’s public Art Committee meeting culminated with six art pieces being selected for the ReVision Streetscape on Highway 101.  The city is now in the process of contacting the artists selected and getting signed contracts for the artwork.  Once that is completed the City will announce the artwork chosen and schedule a walking tour of the installed art.  For more information you can visit the city’s website at

PTA Talent Show

This Wednesday and Thursday the Florence Community PTA will be hosting a talent show at the Florence Events Center.  The event will begin at 6pm each evening and cost $3.00 per person or $10 for a family of four.  The event will feature young talent in all age groups and include singing, dancing, gymnasts, musicians and comedians.  You can purchase tickets at Siuslaw elementary and middle school or at the FEC door.