For SVSD parents and residents with busy schedules, but whom still want to keep up with important, upcoming school board decisions, the latest board bond planning work session and regular meeting podcast is an easy way to do just that. There was good discussion during the bond planning work session. Here are some podcast highlights:
Board member Scott Hodgins discusses his two current goals: 1) To improve 9-12 education because it is a “paramount need in this district.” 2) To pass a school bond. He says he thinks a comprehensive high school is 9th-12th grades and a separate 9th grade campus should be temporary. Right now the separate freshman campus is designed to be permanent.
Scott asks Superintendent Aune if we could build a brand new high school with no restrictions on space use, would he still chose to put freshman on a separate campus? Mr. Aune responded, “With what we know today, I think we would keep them separate. That would be, from an education programming perspective, that would be the recommendation, especially if it was in close proximity.”
Board member Geoff Doy talks about how the FLC decision was one whose origin was rooted in a capacity need, not programming, and if it would’ve been driven by programming would we have chosen a separate freshman campus?
Three board members agree to ask independent architects to show whether or not it’s necessary to move 9th graders off campus in 2013 to perform a possible high school remodel/expansion. Carolyn Simpson explained that the disruption to middle and high school programming (when reducing to two middle schools and creating a freshmen campus) is extreme. Thus it is important to verify that the temporary freshmen campus is necessary to remodel/expand Mount Si’s campus.
There was great discussion about the importance of involving the community in the exploration of a MSHS remodel/expansion as a possible future bond; a school bond the board feels is their job to pass, one that could help solve the district’s capacity issues.
The board wants to perform due diligence and put the most passable bond on the ballot next year; one they say minimizes the impact to taxpayers and maximizes the ability to enhance education with 21st century learning environments.
The board and district will explore the Mount Si remodel option before deciding between a new middle school bond or possibly a high school modernization/expansion bond for next February’s ballot. They want to make the best decision given concerns about the temporary or permanent nature of a freshmen campus and concerns about the “passability” of purely a middle school bond.
The board is performing this due diligence for worries like Geoff Doy touched on when he stated, “You know, honestly, I feel that after 4 years I’m going to look back and say ‘man,that was the biggest mistake we made’ and in my heart of hearts I’m going to look back and I’m going to say I wasn’t able to change this decision (referring to separate FLC, new middle school bond) and that it was a disaster. That’s what I fear.” Board President,Dan Popp, expressed he felt “exactly the polar opposite.”
The school board did not vote to remove its March 8th decision to put forth a new middle school bond. During the work session, Geoff Doy did suggest putting forth a motion to remove that March 8th vote/decision, but the board cannot motion or vote during work sessions.
If you would like to hear the entire, important discussion you can download the May 24th meeting podcast here.