State findings [1] Columbia
Notes: These findings are public record, and are available upon request from the state. These are paraphrases  They are close to the original language, but are not exact copies of the original wording. I have omitted some parts. The names of the complainants are also public record, but I have chosen not to place them online. Following each message, I have added a brief comment of my own--this is MY OWN COMMENT, not a legal opinion. My own interpolations are all within square brackets--everything else is a paraphrase of the document.
A Parent complained that the Columbia district was violating the following four standards:
OAR 581-22-403: Identification of TAG Students (now 581-022-1310)
OAR 581-22-404: Rights of Parents (now 581-022-1320)
OAR 581-22-520: Instructional Materials (now 581-022-1640)
OAR 581-22-530: Postponement of Purchase of State Adopted Instructional Materials (now 581-22-1650)


The parent had a middle school student.
In response, the district acknowledged that in 1995-6, student identification was not done in as timely a manner as the district would like; however the process was done. The student's school did not schedule parent/staff meetings to discuss the instructional program for students until mid-April.
The District further stated that the building had taken steps to ensure the identification process occurs during the first quarter of the school year and meetings with parents occur at the first regularly scheduled parent conferences.
The District acknowledged failure to meet timeline requirements for materials adoptions and not filing the correct waiver request.
The State requested documentation the following year that the identification process had taken place in the first quarter of the year, that meetings with parents had occurred at the first conferences, and the district had taken steps to purchase materials and apply for waivers.
The principal of the middle school sent a memo saying that in the 1996-7 school year, students were
identified in the fall and the staff met with most parents during the fall conferences "using the old procedures" [These are not further defined--M.E.D.] One student was missed during the 1996-7 school year. The school developed a plan and shared it with the parents when the school became aware of the oversight. The missed student was the child of the appellant. There were no written District procedures to ensure that the TAG policy would be implemented.
[I am omitting the textbook material: the district subsequently submitted a schedule for adoptions. MED]
DISCUSSION: State law does not specify timelines for TAG services. Specific time frames are left up to the local school boards. However, when those timelines are so delayed as to effectively deny TAG students their rights, the District forfeits its discretion....
A reasonable timeline would be: All TAG students enrolled at the first of the school year should be receiving TAG services no later than the end of the first nine weeks
All previously identified TAG students should be receiving instruction within two weeks of the beginning of the school year
Transfer students or new referrals should be receiving instruction within 30 school days of the initial referral.


State law does not mandate district policies and procedures; they simply mandate services. For district and public awareness, assurance that the activity will occur and documentation in the event of a dispute, policies and procedures are essential. The policies state the destination for the district and the procedures provide a road map. Policies lack meaning without written procedures which often include timelines and specific staff responsibilities. These are particular important when there is staff turnover. ....
RECOMMENDATION: The district shall within 90 days submit a plan for compliance. It shall include
(a) the procedures the District will adopt to assure the TAG statute and standards are met
(b) plans for in-service so all staff understand the District's legal responsibilities for TAG students.


Dated July 28, 1997



[Comments by Margaret--This recommendation antedates the Portland findings. The timelines suggested were later applied to the Portland appeal. Other school districts should be aware that these timelines have
been established by the state as "reasonable" now in two separate decisions and that school districts should be close to this timeline for services to avoid appeals.
The school district wrote that it was meeting the requirements of the mandate for all students except, by an astonishing coincidence, it had unaccountably failed to provide services for just one student--who happened to be the daughter of the complainant! I find this unconvincing, although without a copy of the original appeal it is difficult to reconstruct the chain of events. I would not be surprised to learn that many students in that district were "inadvertently overlooked." I can find no evidence in this complaint that the state investigated the district beyond simply reading the district's response, and the state does not suggest that any further investigation will take place. The Recommendations are considerably more vague than those imposed in later appeals, when the State had more experience; for example, the recommendations do not actually require the district to provide a written TAG policy and procedures manual, which might have been expected from the language of the decision.]

 Return to Resources for Portland Area TAG parents