Highlights from June Shoreline School District Board Meetings: Buildings, Money, and Policies

Monday, July 4, 2016

By Marianne Deal Stephens

In June 2016, the Shoreline School Board dealt with several business and policy items. A separate article will cover recent items pertaining to academics and student activities.

Approval of Facilities Planning Recommendations
On June 20, the Board unanimously approved the four recommendations put forth by the Facilities Planning Committee. (See previous article). As Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller explained, this approval does not approve a final action to voters; it authorizes the District to spend the summer prepping a resolution. Staff will prioritize the four building projects, study costs, and come up with a timeline. In regard to the financing, the District will meet with a financial advisor, go over numbers, and identify a ballot title for a potential February 2017 bond measure.

The four projects:

  1. Rebuild Einstein Middle School
  2. Rebuild Kellogg Middle School
  3. Rebuild Parkwood Elementary School
  4. Build an Early Learning Center that will house the three district-based preschools. 
    1. Head Start Program for students who qualify based on income eligibility. Open to all district students who qualify and currently housed at Meridian Park; 
    2. Early Childhood Education Program for students who qualify for special education services. Open to all District students who qualify and currently housed at Meridian Park. 
    3. Tuition-based preschool at the Shoreline Children’s Center.
Change to Policies on Nondiscrimination
Assistant Superintendent Brian Schultz introduced a policy clarification that was prompted by a parent’s observation. The policy listed “sexual orientation including gender expression or identity” as a protected class that cannot be discriminated against, yet, as the parent pointed out, “gender identity and expression are in fact entirely different and not a part of sexual orientation.”

The District proposed removing the word “including” from the original phrase; this change to student Policy 3210 was proposed on June 6 and adopted on June 20. Also on June 20, it was proposed that the corresponding staff Policy 5010 be updated to reflect that sexual orientation and gender identity are different things. See: Background of Revisions to Policy 3210; Changes to Policy 3210; Background of Revisions to Policy 5010; Draft of Changes to Policy 5010.

Proposed Change in Medication at School Policy
Director of Preschools and Health Services Hillery Clark presented the proposed updates, which the District’s nurses have been working on for nearly a year. The changes will reflect current state policy and will better meet the needs of students and families.

Source: Shoreline School Board

Members of the Board inquired about emergency procedures. Director Clark explained that, in emergencies, if a nurse is available, the nurse is the preferred administrator of the medication, but if the nurse is not available, then there is a need for delegation to a trained staff member. When asked about the purpose of a nasal spray, she explained that it is for seizures and comes with the dosage pre-loaded. In cases of seizure or a severe allergic reaction, there are established response protocols, which include calling 911.

Changes to Policy on Restraint
Shoreline School District Policy 3317: Restraint and Isolation
Director of Student Services Amy Vujovich presented the changes, which will “bring the policy into compliance with state law and reflect our current practices.” Because of the changes, Policy 3311 is obsolete except a paragraph that will be incorporated into 3317. Restraint is only used when there is a threat of serious harm to persons or damage to property. Director Vujoich presented the proposal on June 6, which was then approved by the Board on June 20. See: Background Information; Policy 3317 Revisions; Policy 3311 Rescission.

Final Acceptance of Shorewood and Shorecrest High School Replacements
On June 6, Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller and Shorewood Building Project Manager Jeff Greene appeared before the Board with resolutions to approve the final commissioning of the new high schools. Deputy Superintendent Miller drew attention to the significance of the resolution by looking back to April of 2012 when the “entire crew” of architects and project managers presented the plans to the Board and the Board marked official start to the high school building projects. She noted that “we are indebted to the people who worked so hard” and specifically mentioned taxpayers who voted to support the projects and the two design teams which were made up of high school staff and community members.

The High School Commissioning Reports were initially presented to the Board in a Study Session on October 12, 2015. It was anticipated that the board would be asked to approve the resolutions in November 2015. Following the October 12 study session, Board Director Richard Potter, a retired engineer, reviewed the reports and found several issues of concern. It has taken several months to address those concerns to the satisfaction of the Board.

While approval of the final acceptance was unanimous, Director Mike Jacobs expressed frustration, saying that “it is a distressing way to end this.” What was put forth in October was “not a proper representation” and, without Director Potter’s expertise, the Board would not have caught outstanding problems with the buildings.

2016-2017 Preliminary Budget
On June 20, Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller and Director of Finance and Business Services presented the preliminary budget for all funds except the general fund. 

Source: Shoreline School District

For comments on each fund, see the 2016-17 Preliminary Budget Presentation for ASB, Capital Projects, Debt Service, and Transportation Vehicle Funds.

Deputy Superintendent Miller and Director Spangenberg offered several explanatory notes, including:
  • the ASB fund reflects significant fundraising for big trips for both high schools;
  • the Capital Projects Fund budgets resources (from the insurance proceeds following the fire at Aldercrest several years ago) to demolish Cedarbrook;
  • the Capital Projects Fund will have decreased lease revenue due to the closure of Cedarbrook, North City, and Aldercrest to tenants; 
  • the Debt Service Fund is based on outstanding bonds;
  • the Transportation Service Fund may adjust, based on whether the 7 school buses that have been ordered arrive in this fiscal year or next (fiscal year September 1-August 31).
The budget presentation was informational only; the General Fund preliminary budget will be presented to the Board on July 21, 2016 and the budget hearing and adoption will be on August 29, 2016 at the regular Board meeting. See: 2016-17 Preliminary Budget Presentation; Preliminary Budget Documents.

Contracts and Projects
The Board approved contract renewals, awarded project bids, and extended several agreements in June, including:
Synthetic Turf/ Crumb Rubber Review
In regard to the Ridgecrest Elementary Playfield project, the question has been raised about the safety of turf fields. On June 20, Board Vice President Debi Ehrlichman requested that the Ridgecrest Bid Award item be pulled out for discussion, and Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller addressed the question. The District has looked into this safety issue in the past and continues to monitor the research on synthetic turf and crumb rubber. The Deputy Superintendent referenced a February 2015 Presentation by Shoreline Director of Athletics, School Safety, and Facility Use Don Dalziel.

The District spoke to consultants on the topic this spring. Deputy Superintendent Miller referenced a study presented to the Verdant Health Commission Board Meeting in May of 2015: Risks from Chemicals in Artificial Turf: State of the Science (Power Point presentation) Synthetic Turf Presentation and the Gradient Turf Report. As Ms. Miller stated, the conclusions of the 2015 study, which is regarded as current, state that “neither crumb rubber nor GeoTurf present a risk.” These conclusions are “consistent with multiple regulatory agencies.” Since the current research does not raise new questions or concerns, the District recommended going ahead with the Ridgecrest bid award as presented on the agenda. The Board passed the item unanimously.

Board Member’s Extended Absence
Director Richard Potter will miss six board meetings in the fall due to travel for family matters. He will continue to serve the board by making himself “available electronically during that period as needed and will keep apprised of District activities through contact with the superintendent and reading board packets.”


Janet Way July 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM  

We are glad that the School Board did attempt to address the "Crumb Rubber" athletic fields matter at their meeting a few weeks ago. However, let's be clear, their has been no definitive proof as yet that they are safe for children. There have been many alarming reports recently about cancer cases contracted by soccer players, who spent many years playing on crumb rubber. The EPA and other agencies have just begun to study these health issues. Many school districts and cities have recently banned or put moratoriums on building these crumb rubber fields, including Edmonds and Seattle.

Also, the environmental effects on watersheds have not been properly studied. The Ridgecrest field will be very close to the headwaters of Littles Creek, a major tributary of Thornton Creek.

Many concerns have been raised recently in the media about the environmental safety of these fields. We believe this issue has not been adequately studied and that the risks are too great. There are many other safer alternatives, which could be used.

The safety of the Schoreline students should be our paramount concern, not maintenance issues or promotions by Crumb Rubber Feilds companies. Those consultants mentioned above are affiliated with the Crumb Rubber industry. We call for an independent study, and suggest that parents should be very cautious about letting their children play on these dangerous surfaces.

Anonymous,  July 5, 2016 at 9:38 AM  

Sorry to hear we're getting synthetic turf at Ridgecrest. Crumb rubber might not pose a measurable risk to children, but it is one more opportunity for children to be exposed to chemicals - given how many they now encounter in the course of an ordinary day, might we not suppose the cumulative effect might be significant? There are worse things in life than a soggy playing field of grass and mud.

Anonymous,  July 5, 2016 at 4:06 PM  

If I had children enrolled in Shoreline Schools, I would be livid. Crumb rubber is banned in Edmonds and other cities. They just removed it from Cal Anderson park on capitol hill.

If there's anything to be learned from this past year or so, it's that public money can be spent on consultants to spin and dress up ill-conceived, environmentally detrimental, and even dangerous ideas to get the public's support or make them not notice at all.

Carin July 19, 2016 at 9:13 PM  

It is important that we stay informed with accurate up to date information as this issue continues to be examined at the local and national level.
Below is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) link for information on the 2016 multi-agency Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Rubber; “… the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.”

“Federal Research on Recycled Tire Crumbs Used on Playing Fields
Because of the need for additional information, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are launching a multi-agency Federal Research Action Plan on Recycled Tire Crumb Used on Playing Fields and Playgrounds to study key environmental human health questions.
Limited studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb, but the existing studies do not comprehensively evaluate the concerns about health risks from exposure to tire crumb.”

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