Thursday's School Board Meeting Features Budget, Snoqualmie Middle School Annexation And New Kindergarten Model Discussion

There’s some interesting topics on the table for Thursday’s SVSD school board meeting. It might be hard to see in the agenda, but the Snoqualmie Middle School Annexation topic is there.  It’s part of the ambiguous topic title, “Educational Programs and Facilites Planning.”  This week Assistant Superintendent, Don McConkey,  presents on the topic Delivery of Education at Middle and High School Levels.  That’s code word for, “Can we teach middle schoolers just as good in two large (over capacity) schools vs. three smaller (at or under capacity) ones?”  Don McConkey will examine the pros and cons.  This is the second of three presentations scheduled on the topic.  Here is the story on the first presentation.

Mount Si High School principal, John Belcher, will give a presentation about his school; its programs, capacity, enrollment, new classes, etc.   It’s kind of like a State of Union address for MSHS.  Each district school gets this opportunity throughout the school year.  Here is tomorrow’s School Board Meeting Agenda:  1-26-12

Also in the agenda is a proposal to change SVSD’s Kindergarten Model.  In response to state budget cuts and as a cost-savings strategy, the district is considering overhauling the structure of its kindergarten instruction.  Currently half-day kindergarteners attend school four days per week and every-other Friday.  The new model would have half of the half-day kindergarteners attending school full day either Monday/ Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and then every other Friday.   Tuition-based full-day kindergarten would still be available.  The budgetary benefit of this move is that mid-day bus runs (currently needed for half-day kindergarteners) are eliminated.  Studies are neutral about the educational effects of this type of kindergarten model.

School Board member Carolyn Simpson says, “I am interested to hear about this proposal.  It is imperative that we set district-wide education priorities before we make budget and program decisions.”

Lots of budgetary discussion is on tap as well.   State budget cuts are still looming and SVSD is preparing for the possible education cuts recently proposed by government.  It should be an interesting meeting.  Decisions made in the coming months are important ones impacting education in the Snoqualmie Valley.   Tomorrow’s meeting, January 26th,  is scheduled for 7:30PM at the District Office, 8001 Silva Ave, in Historic Snoqualmie.

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  • Just read through the propsed Kindergarten schedule and I am not thrilled. I am a huge-HUGE-proponent of full day kindergarten. Where I am from full day, every day without having to pay tuition is the K program-and I WISH that is how it was here. This schedule, however makes me want to cringe. Having two PM scheduled school-aged kids (one at CVES, one at Encompass) already cuts my day in half. Let’s face it, by the time I get the kids up/dressed, have breakfast and do some laundry, there is little time to do much before rushing to be back to the area by 11am for lunch. I basically spend from 12 to 4pm dedicated to shuffling the kids to/from school, with the idea that my 15 MO will take an hour and a half nap so I can get work done in the afternoon before the kids need to be picked up. Plus, I work part time to help pay the bills, so I have to allocate time to work like other working parents.

    Erratic schedules like the versions proposed make it difficult for maintaining a consistent daily routine for the kids, as well as a consistent daily routing for working parents. Again, I am not saying that I am overjoyed with the current 1/2 day schedule either…I just wonder how other parents with multiple-student schedules (and that do try to work) feel about adopting something like this?

  • Great points, Danie! I had a PM Kinder at CVES and one at Encompass a couple of years ago, too. That was definitely a rough schedule.. not much better now with one PM Kinder and a 2nd grader. It really is hard to manage household duties, shopping, work, etc in just a couple of hours… too many back and forths, my car is protesting and trips to Issaquah generally have to wait until the weekend (shivers). I do what I can during that time (which doensn’t amount to much) and keep telling myself that’s it’s only for a a year and it goes by pretty fast… and, at this point, it’s almost over for me. It looks like you will be in it for a bit longer so I hope they figure something out that works for most people!

  • While I understand where everyone is coming from, it is difficult to express those opinions to the school board and get any sort of helpful feedback. They deal with the kids and schedules of buses and really don’t care whether we work or have other things to do. So being frustrated with what it will do to our schedule as parents, while understandable (I have one in 3rd grade, 1 in preschool in the morning and naps to deal with for the youngest and the preschooler in the afternoon is nuts), is futile. I am not a proponent of full day Kindergarten. But totally want that option for those who love it. I see nothing wrong with it, just not for my kids. But I am 100% against this riduculous schedule they are proposing. How do they think the kids will retain anything if they are in school for 2 days of a week and have a 4 day break (on someweeks) before going back? My first born might have done alright, but my second won’t do well with that setup. In my opinion, no one is looking at it from the kids standpoint and what is best for them. When they start school, they need to start school, not still feel like they are in preschool (schedule wise). I know they have to do budget cuts, but it seems like this shouldn’t even be on the table as a possibility. Hope I didn’t offend anyone, just sharing my thoughts.

  • Your translation of Don’s presentation title is one way of looking at it. Here are a couple of other possibilities for your consideration:

    “How to try to make do when your district’s one High School will soon be bursting at the seams but the voters of your district REFUSE to pass ANY bonds, EVER.”

    “Taking what actions we can in the face of attempts by one person to force the district to do nothing and then getting herself elected to the Board to try to force the cancellation of previously devised solutions to growth.”

    1. I am not sure one person controlled that fate of those bond failures last year. I don’t think “she” has that much power, but that’s just my opinion. Enrollment at MSHS is almost the same now as it was before the portables were added in 2009 – that’s when it was really bursting at the seems. The portables helped that burst – yet enrollment is almost the same since before their addition. I don’t think anyone is saying SMS won’t need to be annexed. The question is, is it in 2013? What about the possibility of more input, the gift of more time and another bond next year?

  • Living Snoqualmie