Superintendent’s remarks, Board meeting: May 12, 2015

A recommendation for the 2015-16 budget was presented to the Board of Directors during the work session. Superintendent Steve Webb opened with the following remarks.

“As you know, we do not have a consensus budget from the state, and I suspect we won’t receive one until June 30, as was the case two years ago. But like before, we want to be in a position to pivot as quickly as possible and operationalize a recommended budget plan. We want to do our best to mitigate July workload impacts for principals and other program administrators.

“This afternoon, we are presenting preliminary conditional budget recommendations. They are framed within the context of the three released budgets: Governor, House and Senate. We’ve organized the recommendations into two categories.

  • Designated investment recommendations: These are resources that are used for an explicit purpose directed by the state
  • Discretionary investment recommendations: These are resources that the district can use flexibly. The discretionary resources are a result of each budget fully funding MSOC as ordered by the McCleary decision. This offsets the local levy funding currently used to pay for those expenses.

“Setting aside the proposed state cost of living allowance, we are forecasting approximately $10 million in revenue improvements.

“Of this amount, 96 percent or slightly over $9.4 million of the recommendations are classroom and school-based investments.

“These investments focus on Design II strategic initiatives, accelerating student achievement and closing achievement gaps for struggling learners. This is an excellence and equity budget focused explicitly on pushing as many direct supports to students and schools as possible to improve student achievement.

“I want to thank cabinet, district leaders, and our principals for their input in developing these recommendations. Again, this is a conditional set of recommendations and in the event that we get a budget that does not give us this degree of flexibility, we’ll regroup and prioritize.”

Chief Fiscal Officer Brett Blechschmidt highlighted the following recommendations in his 2015-2016 Budget Development Preliminary Recommendations.

Discretionary investment recommendations include:

  • Additional middle school literacy and math intervention support for struggling learners
  • Additional staffing for increased English language arts and math time blocks at Gaiser Middle School
  • Additional staffing to support high schools’ Core 24 implementation, intervention supports, and flexible scheduling
  • Additional staffing for classroom-based interventions in schools that serve large ELL populations
  • Additional translators to provide increased service to second language families
  • Mental health, behavior and attendance specialist to provide support to students
  • Additional staffing for Lieser programs so satellite services at comprehensive high schools can be expanded for credit recovery
  • Additional staff to support expansion of Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) to three additional Title I sites and the deployment of a mobile FCRC to support non-Title I sites.
  • Additional instructional technology facilitators to support weLearn digital transformation as we scale to comprehensive high schools
  • Additional elementary administrative support to support the Teacher/Principal Evaluation Project and instructional quality efforts

Several non-staff investment recommendations will continue to support and expand our Design II strategic initiatives including Advancement Via Individual Determination expansion, Center for International Studies at Fort Vancouver High School, Flex Academy, Jump Start, weLearn bus wifi and Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate test fees.

Of the designated investments, 32 of the 38.5 FTE are targeted for K-3 class-size reduction.

Approximately four positions are being added to central office and support services. This is 4 percent of the total investment costs or $380,000. These investments include:

  • An additional executive director of teaching and learning to provide greater focus and leadership to our on-time graduation efforts and alternative learning programs
  • An additional professional-technical position in our research, evaluation and performance management team to provide more supports to staff, principals, and central office as we migrate to new dashboard and scorecard solutions
  • Some additional clerk and asset management support in ITS/accounting as weLearn investments are scaled