In the construction zone: 28 schools on track for bond work

Construction and upgrades are in progress at 28 district schools.  Here’s a rundown of the projects.

Remodel and expansion projects

  • Columbia River High School: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; construction scheduled to begin winter 2020
  • Early Childhood Special Education assessment center: Will move to remodeled McLoughlin classroom pod; remodel scheduled to begin spring 2020
  • Eisenhower Elementary School: Construction of two new K-3 classroom additions underway
  • Felida Elementary School: Construction of five new K-3 classroom additions and remodeled restrooms underway
  • Franklin Elementary School: Going to bid for expansion of parking lot, classroom additions and elimination of portables; construction to begin November 2019
  • Fruit Valley Community Learning Center: Construction currently underway of four K-3 classroom additions
  • Harney Elementary School: Four new K-3 classroom additions completed; secure entry and Family-Community Resource Center renovation underway
  • Lieser School: Programs will move to remodeled Marshall building; remodel scheduled to begin spring 2020
  • Sacajawea Elementary School: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; project out to bid
  • Salmon Creek Elementary School: Two new K-3 classroom additions completed August 2019
  • Vancouver School of Arts and Academics: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; construction to begin spring 2020

New and replacement schools

  • Fir Grove: In final design phase of new replacement school; construction to begin January 2020
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School: New replacement school under construction; scheduled to open fall 2020
  • Marshall Elementary School: Construction underway; scheduled to open spring 2020
  • McLoughlin Middle School: Construction underway; scheduled to open spring 2020
  • Ogden Elementary School: New replacement school opened Aug. 27, 2019
  • Truman Elementary School: Under construction; scheduled to open fall 2020
  • Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School: Final design phase of new school; construction to begin January 2020
  • Vancouver iTech Preparatory: New school under construction; scheduled to open January 2020
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School: Design phase of new replacement school is complete; construction to begin November 2019

Upgrades and improvements

  • Hazel Dell Elementary School: In design phase of Family-Community Resource Center renovation, roof replacement and HVAC upgrades
  • Hough Elementary School: Addition of HVAC/air conditioning and replacement of windows to begin spring 2020; currently in design phase of Family-Community Resource Center renovation and secure entry
  • Jason Lee Middle School: In final design phase of classroom and Family-Community Resource Center improvements and secure entry
  • Jefferson Middle School: Safety improvements in parking lot
  • Kiggins Bowl Stadium: In design phase for upgrades to stadium, concessions, restrooms and new turf currently; track feasibility study in progress
  • Lincoln Elementary School: Renovation of Family-Community Resource Center; secure entry, HVAC and exterior lighting improvements; scheduled for summer 2020
  • Minnehaha Elementary School: Addition of secure entry scheduled spring/summer 2020
  • Roosevelt Elementary School: Renovation of Family-Community Resource Center, secure entry; scheduled spring/summer 2020

All school construction and upgrade projects are paid for with funding from the bond measure passed by voters in February 2017.

View the full scope of bond construction and upgrade projects.

Vaccine exemption change

As of July 28, 2019, Washington state law removed the personal and philosophical exemption to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Medical and religious exemptions are not affected by the new law.

  • Parents who have claimed a personal or philosophical exemption for their children must provide updated immunization information to their child’s school on or before Aug. 27, the first day of school.
  • Parents who wish to claim a medical or religious exemption must get the paperwork from their child’s doctor.

Children without two doses of MMR vaccine, laboratory evidence of immunity, or a medical or religious exemption will be excluded from school if they do not provide updated immunization status within 30 days from the start of school.

More information about the new law is available from the Washington State Department of Health.

Personnel changes announced for 2019-20

Positions originally identified as possible budget cuts preserved; associate principal moves

Thanks to the availability of $6.5 million in one-time state levy equalization assistance and the use of $3.81 million in one-time money from district reserves, Vancouver Public Schools will preserve many of the positions originally identified as possible cuts in the 2019-20 school year.

Among the positions restored are:

  • 21 teachers
  • 11.8 FTE counselors
  • 19 media clerks
  • 7 counseling clerks
  • 4 wing clerks at Skyview High School
  • 2 deans of students
  • 4 teachers on special assignment (instructional technology facilitators)
  • 1 teacher on special assignment (curriculum and instruction)
  • 3 maintenance grounds crew
  • 15 custodial positions

District personnel are working with union association leaders to notify recalled staff according to contract language.

Additional administrative changes announced

Several associate principal moves will take place for the 2019-20 school year. All personnel changes are subject to approval by the school board.

Tony Liberatore, associate principal at Columbia River High School, will move to Fort Vancouver High School. Liberatore is replacing John Schultz who is leaving the district.

Nick Davies, a teacher at Jesuit High School in Portland, will fill the associate position at Columbia River.

Luis Castro, currently associate principal at Gaiser Middle School, will move to Fort Vancouver High School as associate principal.

Allison Watson, associate principal at Fort Vancouver High School, will fill an associate principal role at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Watson is replacing Andrea Sperry who is leaving the district.

Mandie Arai-Green, currently a teacher and administrative intern at Ogden Elementary School, will become associate principal at Gaiser.

Scott Sartorius, current associate at Discovery Middle School, will be associate principal at Eisenhower and Lincoln elementary schools.

Katie Ronning, current associate principal at Felida Elementary School, will be associate principal at Discovery Middle School.

Mike Meskel, associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School, will fill the associate position at Felida Elementary School.

Greg Roberts, currently associate principal at Eisenhower and Lincoln elementary schools, will be associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School. Roberts is replacing Patrice Woods who is leaving the district.

Amber Beardmore, a teacher and administrative intern in the Camas School District, will be associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School.

No Monday early releases in June | Español | Русский | Chuukese

There are no more Monday early releases for the reminder of the 2018-19 school year. Students will get out of school at the standard time on June 3, 10 and 17.

There are two-hour early releases on June 18 and 19, the last two days of school.

Español

Queremos recordarles que los estudiantes ya no saldrán temprano los lunes por lo que resta del año escolar. Los estudiantes saldrán de la escuela a la hora de salida regular los días lunes, 3, 10 y 17 de junio.

El martes, 18 y miércoles, 19 de junio, que son los dos últimos días de clases, saldrán dos horas más temprano.

Русский

Напоминаем вам, что сегодня 3-го июня, а также в понедельник 10 и 17 июня, занятия в школах будут заканчиваться в 2:50 дня. В последние два дня учёбы в школе, 18 и 19 июня, занятия будут заканчиваться на 2 часа раньше.

Chuukese

Sia mochen áchema ngonuk pwe esapw chiwen sárekái sukkun nón ekkei Sárifan poputá seni ikenái tori nesópwonón ei ierin sukkun. Meinisin chóón sukkun repwe ne fiti néúr ewe kunókun sárin sukkun iteiten ráán nón Suun 3, 10 me 17.

Nón ekkewe sáingonón ráánin sukkun, ren Suun 18 me 19, sukkun epwe sárekái (wón 2 awa).

Iká e wor kapas eis, kose mochen kékkéri ei 360-771-5343.

Programs accepting more applications for next school year

Four programs are accepting applications for the 2019-20 school year:

June 3 deadline

June 7 deadline

Dec. 31 deadline

Final VPS budget recommendations will preserve direct services to students

After taking public input into consideration, VPS officials will recommend on May 28 that the school board address an $8 million budget shortfall for 2019-20 in ways that preserve direct services to students. But a district advisory group is concerned that the use of one-time money from the state and the district’s financial reserve will result in another large shortfall for 2020-21.

VPS initially projected a total budget shortfall of $16.8 million for next year. Approximately $2.3 million was due to a forecasted decline in student enrollment. District officials said that they would adjust staffing to cover that part of the deficit. A one-time appropriation of $6.5 million in state levy equalization assistance further reduced the shortfall to $8 million.

Over the past few weeks, VPS conducted an online budget survey with more than 1,800 respondents, solicited written correspondence to the superintendent and the board of directors, listened to constituents testifying at board meetings and met with a district advisory group composed of parents and business and community leaders. Based on that input, a preliminary/recommended list of $8 million in potential budget reductions was revised to include mainly cuts from central administrative services and a drawdown of the district’s financial reserves.

The VPS management task force, a longstanding district advisory group chaired by John McDonagh, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and associate publisher and owner of the Vancouver Business Journal, concluded that the final budget recommendations are consistent with the community survey results. Survey respondents showed a strong preference for minimizing the impact of budget reductions on direct services to students.

But the district advisory group noted that VPS is relying on $6.5 million in one-time state levy equalization assistance and $3.75 million in one-time district money from the ending fund balance to close the funding gap.

“The task force supports the final budget recommendations, but we are concerned that the use of $10.25 million in one-time money only pushes much of this problem down the road for a year,” said McDonagh. “We advise the superintendent and his team to identify a sustainable revenue source, including a possible supplemental levy measure, to meet the district’s financial needs in 2020-21 and beyond.”

The final budget recommendations include the following:

  • One-time use of ending fund balance, or financial reserves ($3.75 million)
  • 10 centrally budgeted teachers on special assignment ($1,266,667)
  • 5% reduction in central office/support services budgets ($1.2 million)
  • 15% reduction in central office administrative positions ($800,000)
  • 5 central office professional-technical positions ($450,000)
  • 50% reduction in travel for professional development ($400,000)
  • 1 grounds maintenance position ($75,000)
  • 1 wing clerk position ($58,608)

The superintendent and his team will present the final budget recommendations to the board on May 28 at a work session scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Rd.

Related: District receives clean audit report

Girls Lead the Way Summer Robotics Camp

The Girls Lead the Way Summer Robotics Camp provides opportunities to program robots and work with other students on fun, technical projects.

  • When: Aug. 5-9, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Where: McLoughlin Middle School
  • Cost: Free

Students who will enter sixth through eighth grades in fall 2019 may apply. All campers will receive:

  • Camp T-shirt
  • At least one project to take home
  • A week filled with fun, making new friends and learning

Download the application and return it by June 14.

Questions? Contact teacher Cyndy Hagin.

Budget survey prioritizes use of financial reserves, cuts to central administration

An online survey seeking community input on how to address a projected budget shortfall for Vancouver Public Schools in 2019-20 shows most respondents favoring the use of the district’s ending fund balance along with reductions in central administration and support services.

From a list of choices, survey respondents overwhelmingly chose these top four budget solutions:

  • One-time use of ending fund balance, or financial reserves ($3.75 million)
  • 5% reduction in central office/support services budgets ($1.2 million)
  • 15% reduction in central office administrative positions ($800,000)
  • 50% reduction in travel for professional development ($400,000)

The district received 1,836 completed surveys. An invitation to take the survey was sent to district employees, families and community members.

In the survey, VPS requested that participants prioritize budget reductions to address the deficit. They were asked to select from a list of 15 possible solutions that add up to an $8 million funding gap.

“Clearly, survey respondents want to preserve direct services to students,” said Steve Webb, superintendent of VPS. “This feedback will help inform the final budget recommendations, which will be presented to the board on May 28 after review by a district advisory group.” Formal adoption of the budget will take place at the August 13 board meeting.

“Thanks to Senator Cleveland’s securing of $6.5 million in one-time levy equalization money for 2019-20, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to present final recommendations to the board that minimize the impact on our classrooms and schools,” said Webb.

“Our challenge going forward will be to secure sustainable funding of more than $10 million for the 2020-21 school year to replace the $6.5 million of one-time state money (levy equalization) and $3.75 million of one-time local money (fund balance),” said Webb. “Otherwise, we’ll be right back here a year from now, with fewer options to consider.”

District receives clean audit report

Vancouver Public Schools received a clean audit report for the 13th consecutive year. The official audit released by the Washington State Auditor’s Office evaluates the integrity of district financial statements, internal controls and compliance with state and federal laws and grant funding requirements. There were no findings of deficiencies or management letters calling for significant improvement in any area.

“This report validates our diligence and responsible management of public tax dollars,” said Board President Rosemary Fryer. “We are grateful to this community for its continued trust in our public schools.”

The audit period was from Sept. 1, 2017, through Aug. 31, 2018.

Said Brett Blechschmidt, chief fiscal officer, “Thirteen consecutive years of clean audits can only happen when countless professionals throughout the district take seriously the responsibility of properly handling the public funds with which we are entrusted. Our community has repeatedly and overwhelmingly stepped up to support our students, so it is gratifying to reward that trust with yet another clean audit.”

Survey will gather community’s input for 2019-20 budget reductions

Vancouver Public Schools has a projected budget shortfall next year that will necessitate reductions in staff and support. The overall deficit has been lessened thanks to a one-time addition of $6.5 million from the recently released state’s consensus budget. At this point, the district is anticipating an $8 million shortfall.

The district is asking for input from district families, staff and community members to prioritize the reductions. Participants will be asked to suggest preliminary/recommended reductions from a potential list identified over the past three months.

Survey timeline

  • The survey will be open May 6-14.
  • Results of the survey will be released May 20.
  • District advisory committee discussion will take place May 23.
  • Final budget recommendations, reflecting the survey results, will be made at the May 28 school board meeting.

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Si desea que le lean este documento en español, favor llamar al: Señora Estefanía, 360-771-5479.

Iká pwe ke mochen epwe wor emén epwe ánea ngonuk masowen ei taropwe nón fóósun fénúomw ren ómw kopwe weweiti, en mei tongeni kéri Juanita Yasu, 360-771-5343.