First Bill Signed Creates Education Taskforce

Governor Inslee signed the first bill of the session, SB6195.  This legislation creates a task force to develop recommendations to the legislature on what steps need to be taken to meet the McCleary funding requirements; commissions a study and analysis of K-12 public school staff compensation; and requires legislative action to be taken by the end of the 2017 legislative session to end dependence on local levies for basic education.  A great resource to check out is from Representative Chad Magendanz (R- Isaquaah). His “Magendanz Minute” video from this week provides an informative and entertaining synopsis of what’s next with SB 6195. 

One thing that is important to remember is that the state (i.e., the Legislature) is required to submit its annual progress report to the Supreme Court within 30 days following the governor’s signature adopting the Supplemental Operating Budget. From there, the Court will have to determine whether SB 6195 meets the current order or if more work is necessary.

Falling off the Levy Cliff

Public schools will be facing a decrease in $480 million in 2018 due to the expiration of increased levy funding that was allowed when the state was dealing with the recession – this is called the Levy Cliff.  By failing to act this session, the Legislature will let districts fall off the cliff this time next year as they start budgeting for 2017-18. 

According to some Senators, we have seen this cliff coming for years, and since the legislature did not take action to transition earlier (today we could have been facing a “levy step” instead of a “levy cliff”) we need to bear the consequences instead of easing the burden. The consequences for North Kitsap will be a reduction in revenue of $3.87 million dollars in 2018 – and given that 85% of the budget is for staff falling off the cliff could mean staff reductions in 2017-18 school year. 

Related comments were made regarding the will of the legislature to actually take action in a timely manner in 2017 (of which there is no evidence in past practice that this will actually happen). This sentiment echoed testimony on HB 2698 from Monday (2/22) in the Senate by Dan Grimm representing OSPI who stated in no uncertain terms that the only way real action will occur is if real pain (through crisis) is felt in local school districts. If you are interested in hearing some insight into some Senators’ viewpoints on this topic, check out the hearing on 2/22 (skip ahead to 41:18 – 1:18:21) and debate on the Senate Floor on 2/26 (skip ahead to 3:43:14 – 4:05:00). The sense is that districts need to have the problem resolved by April 2017, however this is much too late for many (most) districts. Click here to learn how districts will be impacted.

Christine Rolfes Summarizes Take-Aways from Education Listening Tours

In Christine Rolfes’s Legislative Update of November 3rd, she writes, “The overarching message was loud and clear: Washington’s families are tired of waiting for the state to meet its duty to amply fund education and ensure equity of opportunity for all students — no matter where they live.”  See the update for other take-aways.

North Kitsap was represented well in the forum that was held in Bremerton.  Many teachers, district staff, and community members attended.  Our own Chris Fraser spoke as part of the panel representing the teachers union.  Cindy Webster-Martinson, Board Legislative Representative, Superintendent Patty Page, and teacher Buffy Reister as well as others spoke in the public comment period.  You can view the forum here.

Let’s Chat Saturday, October 10th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at Central Market Mezzanine 

Drop in anytime between 6:30 and 8:30 PM on Saturday, October 10th at Central Market. I’ll be up in the mezzanine studying and reading for school board.  We can talk about any school related topic. How was the start of school? I have been learning about the science of STAR assessments. The board has been discussing the need for career and skills focused training as part of our CTE offerings. Ideas are being explored around the future use of Breidablik as a school to house programs that serve students district wide (Agate, Dual Language, Options, STEM, Arts,…).  School Board elections are underway.

Primary Candidates Forum July 21 in Poulsbo

The League of Women Voters is giving us the opportunity to meet our three candidates in the primary for North Kitsap School Board. Our candidates for District 4 are Scott Henden, Glen Robbins, and Loretta Byrnes. Following the August 4th primary, only two with the highest votes will be on the ballot in November. I encourage everyone to attend. All candidates will respond to questions from a moderator that are generated from the audience. It’s an opportunity to see the candidates in action.
Tuesday, July 21st
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Poulsbo City Hall

Let’s Chat over Coffee Saturday, Feb 28 from 8:30 to 10:30 in Poulsbo

Please join me for coffee Saturday, February 28th, at the Poulbohemian in Poulsbo. I’ll be there from 8:30 until 10:30 and you can stop by anytime to chat. The state legislature is in session crafting bills without much public talk of funding schools. NKSD is budgeting for next year and has completed enrollment predictions.  The district will have free all day Kindergarten for next school year. While graduation rates from 2013-14 are not available from OPSI, the district does have baseline data from the prior three years and is looking forward to our goal to be in the top 5% of the state for graduation rate by 2020.  Hope to see you Saturday!

Let’s Talk Over Coffee, Saturday , Nov 8th in Kingston

Please join me for coffee Saturday, November 8th, at Mystic Mountain Coffee in Kingston. I’ll be there from 8:30 until 10:30 and you can stop by anytime to chat. The election is over and it looks like I1351 on class size has passed making it more challenging for our legislators to fully fund education as they have been ordered to do by the Supreme Court. I can share data on our district’s class sizes where there has been significant improvement over last year thanks to the generosity of our community and passage of the levy last February.  Hope to see you Saturday.

Chat over Coffee Sunday, September 21 from 12:30 to 2

You’re invited to talk over coffee about education and NK schools on Sunday, September 21 from 12:30 to 2 at Poulsbohemian coffeehouse in Poulsbo. I will be just back from the WSSDA Legislative Assembly in Yakima and can share what I learned about the up-coming “superbowl” of legislative sessions, where the Legislature is expected to make significant progress toward fully funding schools or face sanctions. I am also interested in hearing about how school is going for our families so far this year. I hope you join me.

Join Me for Coffee Saturday, July 19

I’ll be drinking coffee and conversing about NK schools this Saturday, July 19th at Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse in Poulsbo from noon to 1:30. Drop in and join the conversation. Topics on my mind right now are: strategic objectives, new state board rules on 24 credit graduation requirement, and suicide prevention. I am most interested in hearing your perspective on what is important to you and your community. Please join me.

Arts Education Policy Adopted at North Kitsap

At the June 11th 2014 Nk School Board meeting, the board voted to adopt an Arts Education Policy. Next steps could be evaluating NK’s arts program and implementing improvement strategies.

The policy states:

“The board recognizes that an arts education (defined as music, visual arts, theater, literature, and dance) is an essential part of the learning experience for students. The district’s art education should provide opportunities for appreciation, creation, performance, and integration with other educational disciplines.

The board believes that through arts education, students learn to develop creativity, discipline, perception, perseverance, self-expression and critical thinking. These capacities are fundamental in preparing students for citizenship, career and college. The board further believes that a comprehensive arts education program enriches cultural experiences and builds connection within our community.”