SVSD To Release Budget Cutting Plan This Week – Teacher Layoffs Looming

As state lawmakers spent the Easter Weekend working to close a half-billion dollar state budget shortfall, Snoqualmie Valley School District administrators and school board members contemplate how their budget shortfall will impact students and teachers next year.

SVSD is working to finalize its 2012-13 $56 million budget – a budget that needs about $1.2 million trimmed from it.  The SVSD budget shortfall stems from three different areas.  The first $450,000 of cuts are due to under enrollment.  Washington State funds school districts on a per pupil basis.  Next year’s enrollment growth is lower than projected which means less state money.  The second $550,000 of cuts stem from the latest teachers union contract.  Last year, Washington State mandated a 1.9% teacher salary reduction in order to balance its budget.  SVSD did not implement that salary reduction on its teachers, which means it is now facing unfunded labor costs.  The third $300,000 of needed cuts is categorized as “other.”  These could stem from additional state cuts to education funding – known when its new budget is finalized  – or from possible budget increases like the cost of gasoline.

There was also a shortfall in this year’s SVSD budget.  That shortage was covered by drawing down the district’s reserve fund from $3.4 million to $2.6-$2.8 million.  Administrators say they cannot continue to draw on the fund to solve next year’s shortfall, as the goal is to maintain its current level.  Hence, tough budget cuts are needed.  Over the past few years, SVSD made significant budget reductions by trimming administrative and maintenance costs.  As there is little budget left in these areas to cut, teacher salaries are now being trimmed.

Eight FTE (full time equivalent) teacher layoffs will offset the first $450,000 in budget cuts.  The hope is these eight salary reductions will come from retiring teachers and/or resignations.  More layoffs (maybe an additional 8 FTE) are possible for the second $550,000 of needed cuts.  What does this mean to education?  It means regardless if the teacher salary reductions come from retirement, resignation or layoffs, SVSD could have 8-16 fewer teachers next year.  The impact on education could show up in 1) larger class size because fewer teachers are instructing the same number of students; or 2) in a possible loss of programming because teachers who instruct specific courses were laid off.

The district held an E-Meeting on March 29th to detail the potential budget cuts.  In a school board work session this Thursday, April 12th, at 6PM, (prior to the regular school board meeting) SVSD administration will submit its Expenditure Reduction Plan.  There will be time for citizen comment regarding the plan during the 7:30PM school board meeting.  The following morning, the plan will be shared on the district’s website, along with a link so residents can share comments on the proposed reductions with board members.  The board will most likely vote on the reduction plan at its April 26th meeting.  The SVSD School Board usually approves the yearly budget in July, but teacher layoff notices must be issued by May 15th per union contract.

Budget cuts are hard.  Teacher layoffs are never easy.  A loss of teachers impacts education.  Curriculum, STEM and Freshman Learning Centers are funded by budgets.  I heard it stated recently that SVSD can’t afford to run a FLC and three middle schools.  An additional pragmatic point might be, can it afford the FLC and two middle schools?  There are funding concepts to consider: increased transportation costs from longer bus routes and potential shuttles between the FLC and MSHS; increased utility costs at CKMS and TFMS; increased staffing for lunch rooms and offices potentially serving 25-75% more middle school students; CKMS might need an assistant principal as TFMS has currently has one.  SVSD will have the same number of buildings, but two of those buildings will be enlarged by portables and house more students.  More students equals more building overhead costs and more staffing needs.  Great ideas and concepts are usually just that without funding to make them reality.  As our district faces teacher layoffs next year and Washington State budget woes continue, what impact do future educational concepts have on the number of teachers in the classroom? Is losing more teachers a possibility when launching these concepts in 2013?

Comments

  1. I’d like to know from our school district a general idea of what’s planned for Snoqualmie Middle School to transform it into a high school facility? If it’s opening in 2013 some of that information or thinking might be available. In reading this about the funding I’m worried what those kids will have at this FLC.

  2. Friends,
    As I predicted more than a year ago, the school board is eventually going to be forced to cut more than 20 teachers. This article points out 8 FTEs hopefully due to retirement – but these are still 8 fewer teachers for the first $450 K. Then the next $550 K will mean another 10 teachers gone. The final $200K will mean 4 more teachers gone. With twenty fewer teachers, we will have 20 more empty classrooms. It is insane to be buying 20 more portable classrooms at the same time that we are firing 20 teachers. Classrooms without teachers do not help our children. Let’s stop the crazy annexation plan and come up with a plan that makes sense and actually helps rather than harms our kids.
    Regards, David Spring M.Ed. Parent North Bend

  3. SVSD Mt Si numbers seeker says

    Wouldn’t it be great if the district posted the budget reduction plan the day prior to opening it up for public comment rather than the day after the meeting? I realize they will have a link but it’s not really the same is it? Isn’t is kind of hard to comment on something you have only just seen minutes before? And while we are talking about plans and numbers..where are the new projected numbers for Mt Si HS? It is kind of hard to get on the urgency bandwagon that the district is playing out without them. Plus, it is kind of hard to support a bond for a new middle school when it appears that perhaps they can’t afford to run it if it passes and gets built. Why are they going to spend more money (more cuts to staff) to even run a bond they don’t seem to want or afford? How about we keep our buildings status quo until a better plan emerges? Overcrowded middle schools are not the answer to the overcrowded problem at Mt Si that no longer exists.

  4. Stephanie says

    I’m wondering — if our funding is narrowing, but we do it anyways, what will it be like for our future 9th graders? If the money we do have goes to fund new high school programs at MSHS, and if it’s true that most 9th graders won’t generally have access to MSHS during their school day — what will that 9th grade experience and opportunities be like, especially compared to what other Freshman have access to and are doing in Washington state schools? This seems like a fair question, because 9th graders aren’t just freshman, they too are high schoolers as are seniors. We need help in understanding this! Good news or bad news, we need to know.

    The former PCFC (Issaquah’s Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus) is one of the main examples used for us also to move to the FLC model. The PCFC administrators said they successfully reduced F’s and increased GPA’s while the school was in operation. That’s interesting for sure, agreed. But as the details are emerging for our freshman center, it’s not sounding much like what students had @ the PCFC in terms of the course offerings, 9th grade requirements, teachers hired just for PCFC experienced in course they taught, state-of-the-art facility and incredible outdoor track and fields. To have the same successes, shouldn’t the FLC = PCFC, or come close to it? If I am wrong on this, someone please correct me soon.

    • SVSD Mt Si numbers seeker says

      Stephanie-if you listened to Mr. Belcher’s presentation to the TFMS PTSA I would have to say it will not be equal.(and his presentation was before the mention of cuts) Mr. Belcher speaks of core teachers teaching electives; grouping 4 electives into 1 class and calling it STEM (?); has not commented on which langauges (any or all) would be offered; whether the new TEAL program; COOL program or CTE classes would be available. He did mention that online classes may be available-who is paying for that? But at future freashman night he said that freshman should not take online courses as they are difficult (?) He did mention that the team may cut PE at the FLC. A college bound HS junior or senior does not have room in their schedule for PE-they need to have a full load of core classes. He hasn’t mentioned how the library will work-where the funding will come from for that. He hasn’t mentioned how special education will work. His presentation does not sound remotely close to what the PCFC offerd or even what the 9th grade campus offers in Yakima. I really really wish it did-it sounds like it could be a neat concept. But it also sounds like one we cannot afford right now.

  5. Stephanie says

    Riverview is our neighboring school district in Duvall, and it’s only high school is called Cedarcrest High. Their course catalog is opened right now on my screen, it says about foreign language “It is recommended that students begin their foreign language instruction as soon as possible. Foreign language courses require students to master the basic structures and vocabulary of the language and to practice their oral and written use on a consistent, day-to-day basis. For some students, success may require constant memorization.”

    Their materials under the Counseling department at the school district website give parents/students link to Project Opportunity. For MIDDLE SCHOOL students it says “Take a foreign language if one you would like to learn is offered.” And for Freshman it tells students, “If you haven’t started already, begin to study a world language.” Under the Freshman link it goes on about AP courses even, “Find out if there are Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses you could take for potential college credit.” To see what I’m seeing, go to Riverview School District counseling website and click on the Project Opportunity link under “Post High School Options”.

    I know it’s said that foreign language will be provided somehow @ the FLC, but why is it being discouraged now? It’s more than a single person discouraging it, so it seems to be a philosophy or is coming from some kind of study that am unaware of.

    Using enrollment numbers from Mount Si High School, it appears that about 75% of today’s freshman take a foreign language. Issaquah has one elective for 9th graders, and their counseling dept says most students choose to take a foreign language as that elective. At our school the numbers provided indicate that 15 freshman received an F in foreign language. When you divide that by the number of freshman enrolled in spanish, japanese, french or german it comes out at 4.9%. So 4.9% of today’s freshman enrolled have recieved an F. Of note, the numbers show that 11 freshman received an F in Art.

    Just wanting to get at the problems that are trying to be solved by the FLC. Please someone correct me if this information in inaccurate. I can provide all raw numbers.

    • Stephanie,
      What is it you are implying when you say that foreign language at Mt. Si is being discouraged and more than one person is doing this? I am more interested in your facts behind this, then the raw numbers you can share regarding failing grades in Foreign Language, a “philosophy” like that truly is alarming! I would like to offer another perspective of Mt. Si, my son has a foreign language on his schedule…beginning with his 9th grade year. In my experience, I have not heard once from a parent,teacher,administrator or academic counselor at Mt. Si that they discourage students from taking a foreign language. I am confident that in the process of developing the curriculum that will be offered for the 2013 school year, our MSHS freshman will still have the opportunity for a foreign language in their elective choices. If you think that is in jeopardy because of a “philosophy” at the HS, please share your facts on this and we can work together to address this issue.

      • Stephanie says

        Hi Laura, I’m trying to get in touch w/you so we can talk. The things I’ve heard are new in the last 3 months.

        • SVSD Mt Si numbers seeker says

          @Laura- If you watch Mr. Belcher’s presentation to the TFMS PTSA-he says if your student is strong in math then take a World Language-if they are not strong then it is better to postpone. He goes on to say that you only need 4 years if you are going to Stanford or Yale. (?) He says 3 is plenty and 2 is the minimum. I feel like if the principal is telling our students this they might back off from taking an introductory language class freshman year. If an adult in authority is telling our kids this, it can be difficult to get them to do something else.

          • SVSD Mt. Si Numbers, It appears you heard something similar to what I heard. Also, during the presentation made during the 3/8 school board meeting, Mr. Belcher stated that should a class not have 25 enrollee’s, there is a likelihood the class will not be offered. I have learned that this number has, in some cases, been increased to 30 enrollee’s. It seems unfair to consider cutting a class due to low enrollment numbers. What if a class has 20 enrollee’s? Does that mean it may be placed on the chopping block.

            All in all, it seems that there is a whole lot we do not know about the FLC. You would think some of this basic information would have been considered PRIOR to making a decision to proceed. As it stands, it looks like things are full steam ahead. I agree with other posters, I think it is time to slow the process down and take another look at just how much we really need this right now.

          • Three is plenty for some colleges but not all.
            I can tell you right now that kids at Mt. Si lag behind their counterparts from other schools that I work with around Puget Sound and the U.S.

  6. Does the district have the operating budget to support MSHS, FLC, and 3 middle schools? Has anyone done this analysis in light of these budget cuts?? If the answer is “not really,” then I agree with Stephanie’s concerns about appropriate experiences/opportunities for all of our students, as SVSD could be stretched reallllllly thin.

  7. I would like to know how middle school students are going to get all the extra programming that many on the school board and proponents of the FLC/2 middle school plan have advised us in light of these budget cuts? (I would also like to know just what these programs are, seeing that no research has ever been conducted.) I would also like to know why this budget information was not considered PRIOR to a decision regarding proceeding with the FLC? The fact that some of these budget cuts are due to over-projected enrollment is also concerning. If we are cutting teachers due to overprojected enrollment, is there time to wait on the FLC? Of course, I would also like to know why we are spending $2 million to enclose the courtyard at SMS when population at this school will decrease once it is in converted to a FLC? I have also asked what will happen to the $3.4 million portables at MSHS once we convert SMS to a FLC? I am also concerned that the District did not disclose information regarding their eligibility for matching funds (which they knew since 2010) for modernization projects until after the decision to proceed with the FLC. This information was included in a 220 page document added to the consent agenda at the last school board meeting that would have gone unnoticed had it not been brought up by a school board member. When the public asked about this eligibility, the questions posed by the public were never answered.

    So much for transparency! I guess the only way the leaders of the District know how to deal with growth in this community is via boundary changes and moving overcrowding from one area to another. As for the next bond, I am extremely doubtful about it, given the fact that two board members have publically stated on more than one occasion that 2 middle schools will be more beneficial to our students than 3 middle schools. Also, a third board member has indicated he struggled with the decision to seek a bond for a third middle school too. If the board is representative of the community at large, the odds are not looking too good right now.

    @Number Seeker: Yes, it sure would be nice if the District posted things beforehand so that you have time to digest the information and make knowledgeable commentary. They did the same thing with the FLC. Mr. Belcher came to the board meeting, gave a presentation, and they voted on it. Very little information was provided.

    RE: Foreign Language: At Freshman Orientation, they advised parents that only 3 years of foreign language were required to graduate. They further went on to advise parents that foreign language can be a difficult subject for freshman, so you may want to consider taking it in 10th grade. That is the info I got. Maybe it depends on which freshman orientation program you went too.

  8. julie ehrlich says

    No – it does not appear at all that we can afford this crazy idea called the FLC concept right now. WHY can’t they put it on hold a year, wait and re-evaluate? Why are there so many heads in the sand regarding this? Is it a matter of them trying to “save face” – because they said they would do this? Sometimes you need to take a step back and re-evaluate. So we’re losing teachers due to budget cuts, enclosing the SMS outdoor courtyard (WHY???) and adding more expenses with a FLC that IS NOT needed right now and yet we have to make more cuts? This makes zero sense. It’s simply outrageous.

  9. Stephanie says

    Laura below asked me a good question about my claim that foreign language is being discouraged at Mount Si. It’s not @ Mount Si that I feel where it is being discouraged, but as a msg from the district where I feel they are discouraging it (very recently) for some students. This sure puts me in a uncomfortable position. It’s not fair that parents need to bring this out, but I’m just going to type in what I heard (to the best of my human ability) that I wrote down in notes from public meetings. Most are recorded as podcasts and available for anyone to listen to @ the district website. If I have some info incorrect, I want the truth as much as anyone, so please bring it to my attention.

    2-9 Board Mtg: “One of the highest F’s is in world languages for freshman. So there is a lot of parent pressure that you need to do this to get into college. Kids ar e wandering into that course freshman year. It’s not a course that’s needed their freshman year. We shouldn’t’ give it so much opportunity but give students way more time career planning.”

    Future Freshman Night: “Foreign language generates one of the highest number of F’s Freshman yr, so here’s a tip, if your child struggles in math don’t sign them up for foreign language.”

    2-28 Board mtg: “Comprehensiveness is costing some of our student achievement. Most families all feel like every freshman need to take foreign language and it’s one of the highest F’s we have and my question is why so early? Some ivy league private schools look for that as a separation but there aren’t many that say you need 4 yrs. So its an example of a misnomer of what people are pushing for but maybe if they were more informed of really what does a freshman need to get ready for the real crucial yrs more people might look @ that and say that ok maybe we don’t need all those options. So I don’t know that if it [FLC] will be as comprehensive as we have now – and the question is – is that a bad thing? And I think parent are nervous about that.” It then went onto say that yes he was “anxious about 500 kids moving on without a real plan in place.” And said, “With broad change and second-order philosophical teaching theory change is important to me.”

    At Twin Falls Middle School presentation: “Some things I’ve said publicly have been distorted a little. If your student is a weak math student those are both strong vocabulary programs. I’d postpone it a year. Most parent are under the impression you need 4 year of a world language. Ya, you probably would if you were going to Stanford and Yale and your kids going to be highly highly competitive. If those aren’t realistic goals for you and your student, then 3 years is plenty, 2 years is minimum.”

    A similar statement to 7th graders at SMS was made on March 30th in response to a question about foreign language from a student. The general premise what that is was an ok idea to start foreign language in 10th grade.

    If I didn’t read so much on the U.S. Dept of Education website suggesting students take level 1 foreign language in 7th & 8th grade, and intermediate foreign language in 9th grade I wouldn’t be so concerned. So I called UW, University of Puget Sound, and Whitman to see what they recommended. A couple things, AP foreign language is usually the 4th yr so if a student wants to get there, they should start in 9th. Just because a student doesn’t do 4 years in the end, doesn’t mean they should start Spanish 1 in 10th grade. Do parents realize that Bellevue students are taking Spanish 3 or 4 in 10th grade. Average students! Same in Issaquah, Lake Washington, Federal Way too has middle school foreign language.

    These colleges told me regarding whether or not my student should take foreign langu age in 9th, “your children should take it absolutely if they can!” and a couple said “our students have 3 or 4 year of foreign language in high school”. One said “rarely two.” One of these colleges said, “our typical student takes 4, sometimes 5 years of a foreign language in high school.” All said “the college minimum requirements are well below what we will expect.” University of Puget Sound made clear, “try to find a way where your kids can take 4 core academic classes plus foreign language each semester of high school.” That’s the secret, except they said it’s no secret. That’s just how it is, and they want to get that word out so students are ready for the rigors of college level work.

    It’s unfair to parents to need to present these things. I love SVSD. I love Mount Si, and SMS and CVES and all the teachers and principals we’ve ever had. But this foreign language issue, among other things recently, are sounding strange’ish.

    • Stephanie,
      I went to the same meetings you went to and I heard the same things you heard. There is no question that foreign languages will be more of a problem if 9th Graders are completely isolated from the main high school. So administrators are trying to down play the foreign language issue by telling kids it is only important if you are planning on going to Stanford. With an ever greater competition for an ever smaller number of college slots – even at the UW and WSU – SVSD administrators are simply not telling parents the truth. I have spent years working at the UW trying to help Freshman make through the year. The whole point of giving preference to entering students with a strong foreign language background is that they are less likely to drop out of college. Colleges want students to succeed. So if admissions officers have a choice between a student from Bellevue with four to five years of a foreign language and an applicant from Mount Si with only 2 or 3 years – colleges are going to choose the kid from Bellevue. Also the sooner kids start a foreign language (preferably in 7th Grade) the easier time their brain has learning the foreign language. This is why we should be encouraging kids to take foreign languages sooner rather than later. This is also why we should oppose forcing 9th Graders into an isolated campus. It is not merely that we can not afford it (which we can not afford it). It is also that an isolated 9th Grade Campus would reduce our kids chances of getting into a good college. The reason I have opposed the isolated FLC is that I want my daughter to have the best chance possible to go to a good college. Regards, David Spring Parent North Bend

      • Another Parent says

        There is no question that foreign languages will be more of a problem if 9th Graders are completely isolated from the main high school.

        I call B.S. on this one.

        I simply don’t get how someone makes this GIANT leap of faith statement. There is NOTHING from the information presented in any of the talks given where this type of statement can be supported. IF the FLC happens, and IF there is foreign language offered, and IF a student has the opportunity to take that course: GREAT! Good on ’em!

        THE ONLY WAY that I can imagine you MIGHT get to this would be if you are trying to figure out the logistics of a teacher splitting time between the two campuses. OK. I can see that. But I am guessing that languages might not be the ONLY discipline with this challenge. It’s called SCHEDULING folks. And I am sure that given time these, and many other challenges, will be addressed.

        But if we would simply work together towards a solution, rather than snarking at minor but addressable points, we would be much further down the line towards figuring out these challenges, wouldn’t we?

        • SVSD Mt Si numbers seeker says

          @Another parent-why is asking honest real questions being snarky? I mean really? I just don’t see how someone can watch Mr. Belcher’s presentation and not have questions and concerns? And isn’t it a better idea to ask them now while things are in the works than when our current 7th graders walk through the door with fewer opportunities than our current 8th graders? And isn’t it wise to question why administration-Principals whose words carry much weight are giving our students advice as to when to take a language and how much is really needed on a college application? If a “typical applicant” is who are children are going up against for a spot at the UW-then doesn’t it beg the question that our kids should also have the same typical choices. I have a problem with blanket statements coming from someone in the position of authority talking to MY kids. This language issue is just one of many messages from Mr. Belcher has me scratching my head. He talks of “rapid reform” “second order change” “total redesign of the freshman day” What is this? What will it look like and where else has it been done successfully?

          Asking questions is working towards solutions.

          And as aside-I agree with you that Math and Writing are critical skills to posess. However I’m not sure my son will get into the college of his choice (WA) without the rigor of class choices that need to start out of the gate in 9th grade. If he doesn’t get them then perhaps he won’t even be on the interview couch for Google or Microsoft.

    • I completely support the research that Stephanie has done for parents in this district regarding the value of foreign language in the high school curriculum. As someone who has worked as a college admissions counselor and has worked at selective private secondary schools, I understand the value of foreign language in the college application process. As an independent college consultant I now guide high school students with the important process of preparing for and working on the college admissions process. Part of this includes curriculum suggestions in light of the goals of the individual student. I am always disturbed when a student comes to me and says that their school has only encouraged the bare minimum – the state graduation requirement of two years.
      Why is it that we are encouraging our children to only put forth the bare minimum effort instead of rising to the top? Why are we saying they can’t before they even try? This mentality does not register with my professional philosophy nor does it with college admission counselors at a variety of colleges and universities across this nation. It is very short-sighted to shut down potential. Students of all abilities can be successful and gain something from taking a foreign language. It is considered a core academic class and is valued during admission decisions. On the other hand, electives that seem to be openly embraced in our district are often questioned by college folks and discounted for their lack of college prep rigor.
      Stephanie is right in that a variety of types of colleges and universities expect more than two years of a language from their applicants. A requirement is something different than an expectation and with admission results this past month more selective than ever, I can honestly say that if your child doesn’t do something and another does, guess who is going to be the more competitive applicant?
      As parents in this district, you have a voice and a right to educate yourself and help advise your child to reach their full potential. Help them to leave all doors open by fully preparing them for whatever it is they end up wanting to pursue….it is better to have options than regrets.

  10. Another Parent says

    Same tired arguments. Same tired story. And same tired players. UGH.

    So basically the ‘solution’ being presented (AGAIN) is to do nothing. Sit on our hands, wishing that our kids had more opportunities and more ____________.

    And yet we have a plan being presented in the FLC that seems to be more real than ANYTHING that the ‘anti-FLC’ crowd seems to be serving up. REALLY? THAT’S your plan?

    The foreign language issue is interesting – but based on some brief reading I did tonight I am not so sure that 3 or 4 years IS all that important. Check out http://collegeapps.about.com/od/theartofgettingac… and note the 4th paragraph:

    That said, students who have just the minimum can win admission if their applications demonstrate strengths in other areas. Some less competitive schools don’t even have a high school language requirement and assume some students will simply study a language once they get to college.

    If you are a family on a budget — getting strong MATH and ENGLISH skills are far more important than whether you can speak Japanese or Spanish. None of the job interviews I have been on with technology companies cared one bit whether I could speak a 2nd language — they cared about how well I could write and do analytics. The STEM concept mentioned as a part of the FLC (and that our middle schools are implementing today) helps focus on the REAL skills companies like Google, Microsoft and others are looking for.

    Getting into a smaller school, where you can possibly get a more personal experience with your college education (not to mention the possibility of more scholarship $$$) seems a better road to go — unless, of course, you only care about how big the parties are or football on Saturday afternoon.

    • For some reason, I have a hard time understanding why asking questions is now construed to be unsupportive. We live in a world where people should be allowed to ask questions or point out inconsistencies in an effort to make things better, not worse. This is what we teach our kids, and this is what our society is all about.

      There seems to be a theme running through many of the posts I have read–that we should all just accept the decision and have faith. Asking questions is not an option or pointing out better ways of doing things is not an option? Since when?

      At some point, the only way divisiveness is going to end is if questions like these are answered; if people are made to feel confident about the decisions that have been made; and, if people are confident of the integrity of the data used to support these decisions. As it stands, the questions keep mounting, and more and more people are starting to ask the same ones. They may opt not to post here, but people are asking alot of questions out in the community. As someoone who works in the District, I hear these concerns from parents, other teachers, and from students every day.

      Rather than just telling people to have faith, I would like for someone who supports this plan to answer some of these questions. As it stands, I fear that avoiding these questions will only lead to more doubt than we have seen in the past; more failed bonds; and even less confidence in our educational system. I do not blame anyone for having these doubts, when nothing is being done to address the many unanswered questions that have been posed here and elsewhere. When people start turning to faith as the main answer to some tough questions or perspectives, then it does make people wonder about the integrity of this plan and about the integrity of the decisions that have been made in the past, and those we have made for the future.

    • julie ehrlich says

      Many of us are not at all suggesting we do nothing. We are suggesting taking a step back and re-evaluating. There is a plan – the FLC – but it appears to have many ‘holes’ in it and it has teachers, parents and board members not even in support of it. Life changes & just because you came up with a plan a few years back – it may not be the best plan now. Or – maybe things need to be tweaked a little and more answers given. Maybe putting it on hold for a bit could be the biggest blessing in disguise! To much “faith” talk is flying around by board members and administrators. Sorry, many of us lost the ‘faith’ long ago & aren’t banking on it this time around to carry us through. Thus, we’re asking the questions and pushing for answers. Many of which we can’t seem to get.

      Wow, so not the FLC is going to help our kids get into smaller schools and get more scholarship $$? Not sure where that comment came from, or how it fits in?

    • julie ehrlich says

      PS – Most of us that appear to be against the FLC – really aren’t “anti-FLC” – we just have many, many questions. For one, if it is so great, why are there no others in the state? Anywhere?? Except the one in Yakima?? I just can’t see that the SVSD is going to be provide this really amazing state-of-the-art FLC and be the envy of all others, when they are are so many unanswered questions and no other district is doing this!
      My solution: Put up another bond ASAP for a 3rd middle school – hold off ONE year on the FLC and get that 3rd middle school built BEFORE shuffling so many kids for so many years for something that has almost never been done or proven!!

  11. Stephanie says

    Following up on an idea from commenter “Another Parent” and working towards a solution, what about this idea…. Look at the No Excuses University Network which was founded on these two principles: 1) Every child has the right to be prepared to attend college, and 2) It is the responsibility of the adults in the school to develop exceptional systems that make that dream a reality. http://turnaroundschools.com/neu-network/

    A participant in the network wrote an article called “The end goal is a college degree” (http://www.educationreport.org/pubs/mer/article.aspx?id=12240)

    Maybe we can participate in this too. Lake Hills Elementary, not far from us, has 69% registered for free reduced lunch. Snoqualmie Valley is has 13% registered. Their strategy is to make a college degree achievable for any student who aspires to get one, and they work in the elementary and middle schools to develop this college going culture and mentality. Lake Hills website homepage says “Lake Hills Jaguars are COLLEGE BOUND!” And their spotlight section says “Lake Hills Elementary staff are committed to the success of all our students. We believe that every child in our care is capable of going to and succeeding in college and are COLLEGE BOUND! This year, we have consulted with No Excuses University to implement six exceptional systems designed to support our work to improve student learning.”

    Maybe some parents/teachers/administrators can start researching programs such as this and see if this philosophy and implementation could be a progressive idea for our students as well.

  12. I don’t think anyone is suggesting we simply sit on our hands, do nothing, and accept status quo. We are suggesting that in light of significant additional data and information, we should wait ONE more year to make this huge decision (with long-term impacts on many students and families). This should be a data-driven decision, weighed carefully with ALL of the available information. It’s clear this decision to move forward was made with partial information, and the addition of new information requires new analysis. No one wants to look back in 4-5 years and say, “gee, if only we had . . .” Plowing forward without considering the impacts of this news and without answering some basic questions (e.g. can SVSD’s operating budget support 5 MS/HS campuses?) is illogical.

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