CANNON BEACH – Although the Cannon Beach City Council inched a little closer Tuesday night to supporting a school on property it intends to buy south of town, it delayed until August consideration of a resolution officially providing that support.

The discussion focused on a portion of a proposed resolution, written by the city’s staff, that directs the staff to negotiate a memorandum of understanding between the city and a citizens task force trying to develop a charter school called the Cannon Beach Academy.

The memorandum would describe the city’s and academy’s roles and responsibilities in developing a school. It also would establish “benchmarks” to enable the city and public to “measure progress” toward its construction.

City Councilor Melissa Cadwallader reminded the council that the resolution for support, originally requested by Councilor Sam Steidel, was to simply be a statement of support for the school. Steidel was out of town and didn’t attend the meeting.

“I think it’s premature to direct staff to negotiate a memorandum of understanding,” Cadwallader said, adding later that the council needed a “concept among ourselves about what we want” before a memorandum is written.

But City Manager Rich Mays said that “showing support” was a vague phrase. “We have no idea what ‘support’ means,” he added.

A memorandum could be simple at first and updated later on, said City Councilor Nancy Giasson. It would sort out who would pay for projects.

Giasson also said she wanted an additional clause added to the resolution that confirmed the city would not use city funds to build or operate a school or to financially support any organization that will build or operate a school in Cannon Beach.

Mayor Mike Morgan pointed out that the memorandum could be developed later, and the council could still adopt the resolution.

Cadwallader also questioned whether the task force was a legitimate nonprofit organization that the city could negotiate with. At that, Phil Simmons, who heads the task force, showed the council papers indicating the group had registered as a nonprofit with the state. However, it is still awaiting a 501 (c) 3 status from the federal Internal Revenue Service.

A charter application will be submitted to the Seaside School District in mid-October, he said.

The council decided to revise the resolution. Councilors also said they wanted to wait for Steidel to return to vote in August.


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