School Board Meeting Summary July 15, 2015

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2015 School Board
from left: Dick Nicholson, Richard Potter, David Wilson,
Debi Ehrlichman, Mike Jacobs

By Marianne Deal Stephens

The Shoreline School Board meets once a month during the summer and every two weeks during the school year. The July 15 meeting felt like business as usual despite the summer break. 

Consent Agenda
The evening’s Consent Agenda pertained mostly to improvements on the District’s properties: a project to upgrade the district-wide 2-way radio system; change orders for the Shorecrest building and the Shorewood fields; a project to improve site circulation improvements at Brookside Elementary.

The Agenda also included acceptance of community gifts. The Cascade K-8 PTSA gifted $5773 for K-5 Outdoor Camp, and the Shorecrest Boosters gifted $63,415 to Shorecrest to assist more than 40 student groups including Debate Team, Interact Club, Latino Club, Ultimate Frisbee, Highland Dancers, Drama, and many other athletic, academic, arts, and community service groups. The Board approved four extended field trips: Lake Forest Park 6th graders to Camp Orkila; Shorecrest Cross Country to a meet in Seaside, Oregon, and to the State Meet in Pasco, WA; Cascade 8th Graders to Fort Worden State Park for a Young Artist Project. 

Home Education Exchange (HEE) Annual Report
HEE Coordinator and Lead Teacher Ron Jones offered an overview of the Home Education Exchange program, which is run out the North City Elementary School and shares use of the facility with six groups that run independent educational programs. The program currently serves 115 students from 69 families, with 95 FTE (full-time-equivalent students). HEE offers classes and activities to support families who choose home education. This year, the program’s 17th, was a relatively stable one without multiple regulatory changes passed down from OSPI. 

Mr. Jones shared that about 55% of the student population is from the Shoreline School District, and about 45% are from other districts in the area. Participating families often have one or two students in regular schools and one or two students in home education. There is an even distribution from kindergarten through 8th grade. 

HEE follows OSPI guidance for Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) and students have individualized learning plans. The program evaluates every 30 days, and requires the parents to report what they have done at home. At the end of every school year, HEE has 9 months of student learning reports. The OSPI conducts audits of HEE, including a special performance audit to examine student achievement. 

Home Education, like other state public schools, adopted the Smarter Balanced Tests (SBAC) this past year. Mr. Jones explained that while some homeschool parents want to “cut the tether” between their student and the state, the program had only one student opt out of the tests this year. Though not all students had previous computer experience, they adapted quickly to the computer evaluation and say that they prefer standardized tests on computer to those given on paper. The SBAC results for HEE are on average with the District [school by school results of the SBAC tests are not yet public]. 

This summer, HEE plans to hire an additional half-time certificated teacher in order to expand the program by 30 FTE students. Mr. Jones anticipates another relatively stable year with a few new challenges and lots of student learning. 

May 2015 Financial Update and Enrollment Report
Director of Finance and Business Mark Spangenberg and Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller presented the May 2015 financials. (page 69 of the 7.15.15 packet). Director Spangenberg noted that at the conclusion of May, 51% of the levies had been collected, which is a higher percentage than in previous years. The district will collect a little less in the fall. 

The June 1 Enrollment Report shows a total headcount of 9085 students, which is similar to the September 2014 headcount of 9142. Director Nicholson asked about a projection for next year, and Deputy Superintendent Miller noted that they expect about a 2% increase in 2015-16.

Legislative Update
Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller presented an overview of five major areas in which legislative changes will impact the District. 

1) Legislative Update: McCleary 
Following the 2012 McCleary Decision, the state was ordered to adequately fund basic education. As part of the ramp-up to a mandated level of basic education, the state will implement class size reductions in K-3 only for 2015-16. The levels will be:  Kindergarten: 22; 1st grade: 23; 2nd grade: 24 3rd grade: 25. Current staffing for Shoreline follows:  K: 23; 1: 25; 2: 25; 3:25.9. Overall, the District will need about 10 more classrooms in 2015-16. For 2016-17, the class size levels will reduce further. 

McCleary changes also affect funding for All-Day Kindergarten (ADK) which Shoreline has already implemented at all elementary schools. Shoreline’s ADK will remain the same; only the funding source for four Shoreline elementary schools will shift to the state in 2015-16. State funding will cover ADK in more schools in 2016-17. In order to use state funds rather than local funds, Shoreline will adopt the WAKids Whole Child Assessment as a part of the overall program. 

With the expansion of basic education comes a new formula for Maintenance, Supplies, and Operating Costs, which were $848/ student for 2014-15. These supply funds will increase to $1210.05/ student in 2015-16 and $1230.62 in 2016-17. These funds could be used broadly in our district.
 
2) Legislative Update: Initiatives
I-1351, the class size measure passed in 2014, will be delayed. Deputy Superintendent Miller noted that this delay does not add to or subtract from our resources. As noted above, the state and local districts are implementing class size reductions related to the increase in basic education funding. 

I-732, pertaining to COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) for teachers, had previously been suspended for several years and now will be implemented, though in a different way than originally presented. Effective September 1st, this means an increase of 3% for 2015-16. Deputy Superintendent Miller expects that the state will change models for teacher compensation over the next couple of years, and hopes that the COLA will be embedded in whatever the new model will be.

3) Legislative Update: Reduce Reliance on Local Levies
The legislature continues to discuss the levy swap idea, though there were no definitive decisions.
Deputy Superintendent Miller shared that the levy swap concept has been called “levy swipe” since districts like Shoreline would not be able to maintain current levels of local funding.

Most likely, a new model, intended to ensure greater equity among school districts, would reduce our maximum levy collection and set a new mechanism for collection.

While our ability to use locally raised funds would decrease, proponents of the idea say that increases in state funding for major expenditures of basic education would compensate for the losses. 
Currently, the state funds less than 75% of regular Shoreline School District employees, and local funds pay for the “Shoreline model” that includes librarians, nurses, and family advocates.

The possibilities of a substantially altered funding model create current difficulties for the District:  Deputy Superintendent Miller said that the question is how we plan for the future when we are not certain what funds we will have. 

4) Legislative Update: School Facility Needs
Though the state is stepping up in regard to more aspects of basic education, it is unlikely that Shoreline would receive any extra funding for additional classrooms related to All Day Kindergarten or class size reduction.

5) Legislative Update: Graduation Requirements
Oddly enough, graduation requirements, and the Biology End of Course (EOC) Exam in particular, ended up being a bargaining chip at the end of legislative deliberations. Lawmakers suspended the requirement for students to pass the Biology EOC in order to graduate. Some students who did not receive diplomas because they had not passed this test are now eligible. 

Preliminary Budget 
The extra legislative sessions created challenges for all state school districts since changes impact funding formulas. Normally, the Shoreline School District produces a comprehensive Preliminary Budget and holds a Budget Hearing on the General Fund in July, but the hearing will be delayed until August 17, 2015

The Preliminary Budget presented at the July 15 meeting included the following: Capital Projects Fund, Debt Service Fund, Associated Student Body Fund, and Transportation Vehicle Fund. The Capital Projects budget includes security and facility improvement projects funded with the 2006 Bond and continues the purchasing of major equipment under the Technology Levy. The Transportation Vehicle Fund budget includes expenditures of more than $1 million, primarily related to bus replacement. 

Action Item: Early Payoff of 2005 Bonds
The School Board approved review of an early payoff of 2005 Limited General Obligation bonds. Paying off the bonds early would save District taxpayers an estimated $464,741 in interest payments. Legal counsel and financial advisors will review the proposal. 

Board Reports
Director David Wilson commended Kim Reich, Elementary Summer School Principal, and Rebbecah Emanuel, Secondary Summer School Principal. Both summer school programs are going well. Director Wilson had also attended Shorewood PTSA’s Summer Write and Ready College Application Essay Workshops and praised that effort by the PTSA’s After Shorewood committee.



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