August 24, 2015 Shoreline School Board Meeting Summary

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

By Marianne Deal Stephens

Well before the meeting was called to order by President Mike Jacobs, the Board Room at Shoreline Center was packed, primarily with Shoreline Education Association members. Many signed up to speak during the Community Comment period.

New Public Information Officer
The meeting opened with Superintendent Rebecca Miner’s introduction of the District’s new Public Information Officer. Curtis Campbell comes from the Sunnyside School District where he was the Director of Communications. PIO Campbell, his wife Annette, and their two children relocated to the Shoreline area from Eastern Washington.

Technology Update
Look for a separate article summarizing IT Director Jim Golubich’s annual report to the Board.

Financial Update
Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller and Director of Finance Mark Spangenberg displayed the summer financial summary and offered context. Though the District shows Cash Flow Actuals (see page 45 of the meeting packet), bills will keep coming in through September for work done during August. Hence, August books (and so the District’s 2014-15 Fiscal Year) will not be closed until mid-October, or possibly later.

Since there is current discussion of the General Fund Ending Fund Balance, Board President Mike Jacobs asked Superintendent Miller to go through pertinent detail.

GF Reserves (8.25.15) Source: Shoreline School District
Click to enlarge
The funds designated “Restricted” cannot be used for any other purpose. Some restricted monies are held for special programs like Title 1/ LAP (Learning Assistance Program), or ELL (English Language Learner Program).

The Ending Fund Balance for 2015-16 is projected to be $13,911,194, or 12.5% of total expenditures. Though this is a dollar increase from recent years, it is a percentage decrease. In 2014-15, the Ending Fund Balance was 15.5% of total expenditures, and in 2013-14, it was 18%. Of the $13,911,194 Ending Fund Balance, $8,393,833 is a Mandatory Reserve and cannot be spent. Only $5,517,361 can accurately be called Discretionary Reserves. 

Comments from the Community
During this portion of School Board meetings, students, parents, teachers, and members of the community may speak for up to two minutes. Most of the night’s speakers were members of the Shoreline Education Association.

--SEA President David Guthrie praised Shoreline teachers, who are ready to “do great things”, and “invest in our students”. Saying that “we must make it possible for teachers to take care of their own families,” he called for a financial foundation that is “both prudent and bullish.”

--Syre Teacher and Einstein and Shorewood Parent Julie Fredrickson expressed frustration that her own kids’ teachers are not being fairly compensated. When she was hired in 1992, teachers did not leave, but now they are leaving for higher salaries.

--Sue McAllister, Librarian at Kellogg Middle School, recently served as the school’s Smarter Balanced Assessment coordinator. She touted Kellogg’s and the District’s high scores—with averages up to 19 points above state averages—as indicators of educational and teacher excellence. She asked the Board to consider that “when excellence is acknowledged, it thrives.”

--Since Megan Chamberlin has worked in various capacities in Shoreline Schools—she now teaches 6th grade at Parkwood—district meetings “feel like going to a large family reunion.” She has experienced the District’s ups and downs, and said that while it is a relief to know that instructional cuts are behind us, it is not a relief to know that “I am devoting my time and experience to a district that does not compensate [adequately].”

--While most SEA members spoke about salaries, Highland Terrace Special Education Teacher Kerri Schloredt described how growing expectations, heavy demands, lack of planning time, and scant resources make it challenging to fully meet the needs of the district’s “most needy children.” She asked that some of the issues surrounding Special Education be addressed in the bargaining process. 

--Ilana Cunningham, both a Highland Terrace parent and a Shorewood Teacher, spoke about a colleague who left for more money in Everett. She does not think that low pay will affect things immediately, but it will be a problem “if we do not make a significant investment.”

--Pam Simpson, a Kellogg Math Teacher, comes from a family of educators, as do many Shoreline teachers. Reluctantly, she is considering leaving education because, even as a longtime teacher, she cannot pay all of her bills.

--Ridgecrest Teacher Lisa Witzel grew up in Richmond Beach. Speaking of the longevity of Shoreline’s community of educators, she asked for a show of hands of teachers who also have kids in the district. When many hands went up, she said “we stick around” and asked the District to show teachers the same respect.

Teachers described using their own money for supplies, voiced a desire to raise their own kids in the district, and expressed nervousness about what would happen if more teachers leave the district for more money. Most were hopeful and a few were angry. At the close of the Community Comment period, most of the teachers left the meeting. 

2015-16 Budget Hearing
Earlier in the summer, the School Board reviewed budget drafts, and, as required by State law, Monday’s meeting included a public hearing on the 2015-16 Budget.

Five funds make up the Shoreline School District Budget. The Board was asked to approve the following expenditure appropriation budgets:
  • General Fund $111,211,382
  • ASB Fund $2,641,000
  • Debt Service Fund $20,853,961
  • Capital Projects Fund $20,241,000
  • Transportation Vehicle Fund $1,060,000
Nearly 200 pages of detail on the five funds can be found in the August 24 meeting packet.

Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller pointed out that the 2015-16 General Fund Beginning Fund Balance is $15,627,786 and that the Ending Fund Balance will be $13,911,194, reflecting a reduction of approximately $1.7 million. 

General Fund Notes
• Maintains school staffing standards on the “Shoreline Model” with librarians, nurses, music specialists, family advocates, and paraprofessionals. 
• Levy funds pay for the Shoreline Model, which is not standard in all districts. 
• State funds cover about two-thirds the cost of a position. 
• State funds pay for five schools’ All-Day Kindergarten (ADK) programs. The district covers the rest of the schools; families are no longer charged for ADK tuition. 
• The State would like to reduce reliance on local levies to ensure greater equity across districts.

If and when the State alters districts’ current reliance on local levies, allocations directly from the state would come with limitations on how the funds can be used. Currently, Districts have flexibility to decide how to staff their schools. If more money comes from the state and less from local levy collection, additional requirements and restrictions will be imposed. State funding for ADK comes with additional requirements that the District will implement in order to use the state money. 

Capital Projects Fund Notes
• Monies cannot come over to the general fund to pay for smaller class sizes.
• Entirely locally funded; the District does not get State money aside from large projects like the new high schools. 

Questions From the Board and Points of Discussion
• Salaries comprise 85.38% of the 2015-16 budget. This figure remains consistent, with 84.5% in 2014-15 and 86.22% in 2013-14. 
• ASB Funds are being used in a more timely fashion than in previous years. 

As a part of the Budget Hearing, Board President Jacobs called for Public Comment.
--Tom Jamieson, a Shoreline resident and parent of a Shoreline Schools graduate, explained that he is neutral on the budget yet wanted to speak about past business involving the School District and the City of Shoreline. Mr. Jamieson described the Surface Water Utility dispute and stated that it is time for the district to pay its fair share. [For history of this issue, see the April 2012 Shoreline City Council Agenda Item 7e and a July 2012 news story about the City Council’s vote to continue the waiver on a temporary basis 

When no other community members spoke about the budget, Board President Jacobs closed the hearing and read Resolution No. 2015-13 Fixing, Approving, and Adopting the 2015-16 Budgets and Certification of Budget and Excess Levies for the 2016 Tax Year. 

Superintendent Rebecca Miner thanked District Staff, and Director Spangenberg in particular, for working hard to prepare the budget in a year that the process was very late. 

Board Reports
Debi Ehrlichman offered thanks ahead of time to the community groups and volunteers who put together the Back to School Event, which will be held this Saturday, August 29. Noting the smoke in the air, Director Ehrlichman expressed concern for the citizens in Eastern Washington who are contending with the fires.

Dick Nicholson reported on the recent KCDA board meeting and described how “sales are booming.” 

Mike Jacobs is looking forward to the upcoming school year and thanked all those in attendance.

The Board moved into an Executive Session following the adjournment of the meeting.


Anonymous,  August 27, 2015 at 5:27 PM  

Pay our educators what they deserve. Stop stockpiling taxpayer generated money.

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