Bend-La Pine Schools board member resigns

Mike Jensen represented La Pine and Sunriver

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin

Published Jul 9, 2014 at 12:48AM

The Bend-La Pine School Board member representing La Pine, Sunriver and the rest of southern Deschutes County announced his resignation at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Mike Jensen was appointed by the board in July 2012 after the resignation of Tom Wilson, and he was elected by voters to his current four-year term in May 2013. Before coming to the board, he served on the district’s La Pine High School Advisory Committee. His resignation takes effect at the end of July, and the board hopes to interview candidates for appointment by mid-August. The new member would face election in May 2015.

“This is bittersweet,” Jensen said. “I’m moving in the direction of something that looks like retirement, and that’s a good thing.”

Jensen said he is moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife. A lifelong photographer, Jensen said he hopes to continue photographing national parks and to complete a book about his experience as the Crater Lake photographer in residence, a role he occupied this past school year.

Board Chairwoman Cheri Helt said Jensen will “be hard to replace” and the board will try to appoint a replacement before its retreat Aug. 19.

“We’re going to need someone very involved in south county, either someone with schoolchildren in the system or very involved in volunteering,” Jensen said, adding that he became involved after mentoring La Pine High School students despite the fact his own children were grown at the time.

In an interview after the meeting, Jensen emphasized that the needs of south county students are different from those of Bend, and that the board needs to continue to be flexible in its approach in his part of the district.

“Compared to Bend, south county needs more support in terms of counseling and the Family Access Network, things that respond to the socioeconomic conditions of students there,” he said.

In other news

During the meeting, the board unanimously elected Helt and Nori Juba to serve as co-chairs for the next academic year. In another leadership move, Director of Communications Julianne Repman had her title changed to director of communications and school safety, which Superintendent Ron Wilkinson said “better reflects her actual role.”

During the meeting, Repman presented findings from a community survey aimed at evaluating perceptions of the school district. Conducted in March, the survey elicited 382 responses and has a 5 percent margin of error. Overall, Repman noted, perceptions are positive.

For example, of those who rated the district’s job performance, 82 percent said it was excellent or pretty good. Additionally, 94 percent said the district has a good reputation. When asked whether the district should invest in new technology, 85 percent said it should, though the question did not specify if money should be spent on iPads, which the district plans to give to all students in grades three and up.

— Reporter: 541-633-2160, tleeds@bendbulletin.com