Legislative updates bring up future state funding for districts
Updates regarding the Legislature’s ability to fully comply with the McCleary decision were presented to the public at the Medical Lake School Board meeting Tuesday, Feb. 26.
Superintendent Dr. Pam Veltri said high concern was being placed on an upcoming $1.2 billion budget shortfall while also finding ways to become compliant with the McCleary decision by the Washington state Supreme Court.
Veltri said the state is currently spending an average of around $6,500 – $6,600 per student. In order to comply with the Supreme Court ruling spending per student needs to increase to around $12,546 per student by 2018.
A document provided by the Washington State School Directors’ Association noted some ways that revenues could be created to fund the increases: expanding tax rates, expanding tax bases, imposing new taxes, levy swaps, capping non-K-12 spending and reducing non-K-12 spending.
Veltri said that while the Legislature has a requirement to adhere to the McCleary decision’s findings, funding for education actually decreased in the 2012-13 school year.
Director of teaching and learning Dan Mueller reported on the status of the Educational Support Services in Medical Lake. The district looked at 20 indicators in a self-study, 13 of which are set by the state and seven set at the federal level.
Some of the positive news included numbers from students in the Individualized Education Program who graduated in the last several years. Of those, 66.7 percent were either in higher education or employed one year after graduation.
Business manager Don Johnson reported on the district’s Asset Prevention Program Building Report. Two buildings, Hallett Elementary and Michael Anderson Elementary, were listed in the report, which covers facilities that received major recent renovations. Districts must maintain the buildings for 30 years.
Johnson said there are over 100 gradable items in the report. Hallett earned green status while Michael Anderson was in the yellow. Hallett received some updates, which brought its overall score up.
Vetri noted that the inspection process was in-depth, going through several areas of the school in order to reach the conclusion.
The school board also approved the calendar for the 2013-14 school year. A choice of three potential calendars was provided at several recent community meetings, in order to gauge parents’ preferences. Of the 228 people attending the meetings, 99 responded to an online survey.
The calendar chosen included a full vacation day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 27 later this year. Parent/teacher conferences take place Monday and Tuesday of that same week. Veltri said a bill being considered this legislative session could strike two conference days from counting as school days.
Veltri also announced that among those retiring at the end of the year were Mueller and food services supervisor Charlotte Cook. Cook is retiring after 42 years with the district.
Two separate weeks in March will recognize services contributed to school districts across the state. March 11-15 will be recognized as Classified School Employee Week and March 18-24 will be School Retirees Appreciation Week.
James Eik can be reached at email@example.com.