Cheney Free Press -



CSD approves final acceptance of middle schools


Cheney School District board of directors voted unanimously at their Nov. 13 meeting to approve the acceptance and authorize the commissioning of the district’s two new middle schools.

The move comes after receiving recommendations to do so by the district’s project manager, OAC Services, architect NAC Architecture and Director of Maintenance and Operations Jeff McClure. All three certified that the scope of work on both projects had been completed and done in accordance with contract requirements.

It also allows both general contractors, Garco Construction at Westwood Middle School, and Lydig Construction at Cheney Middle School, to release retainage bonds they had been holding to ensure completion of the work.

Director James Whiteley questioned McClure on all four resolutions as to whether he was truly satisfied with the work on each, pointing out some landscaping issues at Westwood and overall concerns about building operations. McClure responded that the landscaping issue was a concern, but felt the district was more than capable of handling it on its own, and that both were high-tech buildings requiring staff knowledge and diligence in operating some systems.

“In fact, both schools are running very well,” he said.

In other business, Executive Director for Finance and Operations Kassidy Probert told the board that enrollment numbers in November continued to show increases in full-time equivalent students and head counts, signifying steady growth. Probert also presented the 2012-13 end of year financial report submitted to the state’s Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, which indicated overall revenue increases of 1.4 percent, $522,000, over the previous year.

The report also showed “other revenue” increase of 7.11 percent, $620,000, with property tax collections up $599,000. Federal revenues dipped by eight-10ths of 1 percent, $65,000, with Title I down $107,000, Title II down $216,000 and “Administrative Match” declining $176,000.

Expenditures increased by $2 million, 5.35 percent, largely due to the addition of Westwood Middle School. Basic, vocational and special education accounted for 71.26 percent of expenditures, followed by district-wide support at 14 percent with salaries and benefits at 84.48 percent of total expenses, compared to 84.33 percent in 2011-12.

Assistant superintendent Sean Dotson presented figures to the board on the number of students annually elected to “choice out” or “choice in” to the district. Figures for students who choice out had been rising since 2005-06, with 161 that year and 319 in 2012-13, but dropped this year to 293. Most, 140, transferred to Medical Lake with 53 selecting Spokane schools, mainly due to geography, Dotson said.

On the flip side, 160 students elected to choice into the district in 2013-14, the highest since 149 did so in back-to-back years, 2006-2008. Again, most of these were from Medical Lake, with 42 transferring in from Spokane – the highest since 48 in 2008-09 – and 34 from the Liberty School District, also the highest since 2008-09.

“All in all, we saw a greater number of students staying with us and more coming to us,” Dotson said.

John McCallum can be reached at


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