News about the Sequim School District

Sequim school board picks new member

Sequim WA, March 22, 2017

Brian Kuh was chosen from the five final individuals who submitted their applications to the Sequim School Board.  According to KONP News, the school board intereviewed five candidates Monday night before making the announcement.  The finalists for the position were Jessica Hernandez, Brian Berg, Brandino Gibson and Becky Mitchell.  Others applied for the position, including Brandon Janisse, but were not included in the final five selected.

According to KONP, Kuh is a former president of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Clallam County Economic Development Council. He works in business development and finance.


School Board Opening – for Appointment through Nov. 2017

From the Sequim School District website:

Sequim School District is looking to appoint an At-Large Director who may live anywhere within the boundaries of Sequim School District, to complete the term that ends in November of 2017. It will be necessary to run for re-election in November 2017 if the appointed individual wishes to continue serving.

To apply for a vacant school board position, please fill out the application for Appointed School Board Director and return it to Marilyn Walsh at the District Office, located at 503 N Sequim Avenue, or by email at mwalsh@sequim.k12.wa.us.

Applications for the Appointed Board position will be accepted beginning on March 8, 2017 through March 15, 2017. A Board interview of the candidates is scheduled for Monday, March 20, during the Regular Board Meeting. The selection of the appointed board member will be announced at the conclusion of the March 20 board meeting, following an executive session. The newly appointed board member would be seated at the next Regular Board Meeting – April 17, 2017.

An Appointed Director serving in 2017 would need to file and run for election in November 2017. Please see below for filing for School Board Director.

The Board’s job is to determine a vision for the educational program; design a structure to achieve that vision; assure that the schools are accountable to the community; and advocate for continuous improvement in student learning. While many have had a hand in shaping our school system, the Sequim Board of Directors must ultimately answer to the community and the State Superintendent of Public Instruction on issues related to local programs. The Board selects a superintendent to administer adopted policies; however, the Board is the final authority on all matters concerning the district. (RCW 28A.320.010)

The five-member board sets the policies that guide Sequim’s public education from Kindergarten through grade twelve. All voters within the school district elect the Directors, who generally serve a four-year term unless appointed to fill a vacant position. Two members serve in At Large positions, and the remaining three are elected from specific geographic areas.

Regular Board meetings are normally held at 6:00 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month.
When a meeting date falls on a legal holiday, the meeting will be held on the next business day. The Board functions through regular meetings, special meetings, and emergency meetings as defined in policy number 1400.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Marilyn Walsh at 360-582-3262 or by email at mwalsh@sequim.k12.wa.us.

 

Two issues on the ballot for February 2017 – Both Levies Pass

Both levies passed, February 14, 2017.  See initial results here: Clallam County February 14, 2017 Special Election.

For the cost effect on an average $245,000.00 valued property, click here: Sequim Local Schools Property Tax Calculator


Following is some information as presented by the School District about the levies:

(1) Renewal of the Educational Programs & Operations Levy

The current levy expires in Dec. 2017

“In order to maintain the level of education and services provided to students and families, a renewal of the levy is needed.” – Sequim School District brochure

“The District continues to request a levy amount below the allowable levy ceiling set by state statute.” – Sequim School District brochure

“Without local support, district-wide operations would be significantly affected.” – Sequim School District brochure

The cost to property owners:  Click here for the Sequim Local Schools Property Tax Calculator to see how much property taxes will be affected over the next four years.

Note that the majority of the property tax will be allocated to the “Educational Programs and Operations Levy”, and not to the Capital Projects Levy.

(2) The Capital Project Levy

According to the Sequim School District brochure, “The Capital Project Levy is a voter-approved measure that provides funding for “repurposing school buildings, and for critical safety and technology infrastructure repairs and replacements.  By law, Capital Projects Levy taxes cannot be used to operate schools or programs.”  Passing this levy would allow the school district to qualify for $4.3 million in state matching funds for new school construction, once a construction bond is approved.

 

 


 

Information about levies passed in February 2017, (excerpted from the Sequim Gazette)

The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy replaces the district’s four-year levy that expires at the end of 2017. It runs from 2018-2021 and generates $26.5 million to pay for more teachers to reduce class sizes, programs like Highly Capable and Advanced Placement courses, curriculum, books and technology, overall district maintenance and activities such as sports and after-school clubs.

The capital project levy will generate about $5.75 million over three years and pay to demolish an unused portion of the Sequim Community School and expand and renovate the central kitchen facility in the same building.

“It’s very exciting that our community is going to trust us with these projects and get things started, and hopefully it’s the beginning of several other good things that can come from that,” Sequim schools superintendent Gary Neal said.

Combined, the two levies will cost taxpayers $1.68 per $1,000 assessed home valuation in 2018, $1.90 in 2019, $2.36 in 2020 and $1.57 in 2021.

The Sequim School District’s board of directors sent four bond proposals to voters since April 2014 and all failed. Unlike bonds that are used for new construction and require at least 60 percent voter approval, both the Educational Programs Operations Levy and Capital Project levy require at least 50 percent voter approval to pass.

(from http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/sequim-school-district-levy-proposals-earn-passing-grades-in-special-election/)


 

Some Statistics About Salaries

Click here to read about Sequim School Salaries 2011-2015. Sequim School Salaries 2011 to 2015


 

Previous News about the Sequim School District

$15,500.00 for 475 phone calls?  Really?  That money could be better used to help improve the school properties – perhaps repair a bathroom?  Yet the Sequim School Board voted – with the exception of Mike Howe who voted “no” (good for using some common sense, Mike!) and Heather Short, who was absent –  to spend $41.33 per phone call to hire a Spokane firm (CFW Advisory Services LLC of Spokane) to conduct a random sample telephone opinion survey of district voters on possible capital improvement projects and how to pay for them.  Wow. (see Peninsula Daily News story here) Posted April 21, 2016.

 

Vote “NO” on Proposition 1

The voters in the Sequim School District voted “no” to the school bond.  We will continue reporting about the possibility of a new bond issue right here.

The February 2016 Sequim School Bond issue states the amount as $54 million.  In truth, when interest is added (to the tune of approximately $30 million), the actual amount to be assessed to the school district’s taxpayers is more like $84 MILLION.

 

  • In a school district of 29,000 (of which 22,000 are voters), that is $2,896.55 for each man, woman and child in the district.
  • There are currently 2,600 students in the Sequim School District (323).  That amounts to $32,307.69 per student.
  • We are told that the student population is increasing.  Ten years ago, the student population was 2,900.  Today it is 2,600.  That’s a 10.3% DECREASE in overall student population.
  • The schools, apparently, have not been properly maintained over the past 10 years, despite various maintenance and operation levies being passed and paid for by property owners.
  • Over the past 40 years state property taxes have risen 2.2 times more than inflation and M&O levies have risen 2.8 times more than inflation, while student performance is flat or declining.
  • With the exception of the first bond in April 2014, the bond amounts have been increasing.
    • In April 2014, Proposition 1 – Bond for $154,325,000 was rejected by 55.31%. (11,950 voters voted – the final vote was 6,609 against; 5,341 for.
    • In February 2015, Proposition 1 – Bond for $49,265,000  fell short of the 60% required to pass by 2.41%.  (12,689 voters voted – the final vote was 7,308 fr, 5,381 against.)
    • In November 2015, Proposition 1 – Bond for $49,300,000 fell short of the 60% required to pass by 0.4% (11,917 voters voted – the final vote was 7,103 for, 4,814 against.)
    • Now, they are asking for $54,000,000 – almost $5 million more than the one in November!  With added interest, the amount to be repaid will be approximately $84 MILLION.
    • And interestingly, according to one School Board member when asked, all the money for the work and materials goes to Seattle – none of it stays here in our community.

Apparently the plan is to keep bringing it back to the ballot until they get the vote they want. Should the bond pass, here is how the money will be spent: Feb 2016 School Bond Projects

PLUS INTEREST OF APPROXIMATELY $30,000,000.00 ($30 MILLION), for a total of approximately $84,000,000.00 ($84 MILLION).

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  • Do you know that during last October, 2230 county residents tried to find work here in our county?
  • Don’t you imagine some of these neighbors have families and home mortgages to pay?
  • Do you know that more businesses have closed their doors since November?
  • Imagine the worry local business owners must face trying to pay their bills and pay their employees in order to stay in business.
  • Have young parents with growing families living in small homes and apartments told you about their prayers for a larger home yard for children to play in?
  • Do your children’s grandparents’ tell you about the hours they regularly spend worrying and searching for secure investments that will cover their rising living costs?
  • How can we in good conscience vote to further burden these struggling neighbors and businesses with a crushing 35% SSD property tax increase?

Please read our website information to learn the many reasons why economic conditions in our school district cannot support a bond totaling $84 million. Learn why voting for this proposition will become a truly regrettable mistake for our future.

 

YOUR VOTE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

  • First, the state lottery was supposed to go to school funding.  After only a few years, that all changed.  Now, almost NONE of the lottery money goes to schools*.  The school boards should put pressure on the state legislature to go back to what they “told” the people their money was going for from the lottery – to the schools.
  • Next, the county timberlands money goes to partially fund schools.  However, the State Department of Natural Resources has failed to cut the trees it promised to cut and sell (from which schools would be funded), to the tune of millions of dollars.  The school board should put pressure on that agency to do what it promised in writing to do. Instead, those who own private property are asked to foot the bill – a tax on the few to benefit the many.
  • What guarantee would there be that (a) there would not be a shortfall – as seldom if ever do government projects come in on budget – or (b) that the funds would not be diverted to other uses.  This is basically what happened with the “Maintenance & Operation” levies that have been passed.
  • The property owners who bear the expense of those levies believed that the funds would go to “maintenance” of the schools.  Most of it did not; instead, much went to “new programs”.  Now, the title of the M&O levies has been conveniently changed to “Educational Programs and Operational Levy”, Out of the last levy in the amount of $5.78 million, only $361,000 of those funds went toward maintenance.

*Less than 1% of the lottery proceeds go to fund schools.


  • The bond election in 2014 cost the school district over $41,000. to place it on the ballot.  We’re still waiting to learn the amount for the one run in 2015.
  • And now, another ballot measure, asking for even MORE money that the one this past November, is being paid for by the district.  Using the $41,000 figure, for four times trying to get money from the taxpayers, that would be approximately $164,000 spent on placing the measure on the ballot.
  • Instead of wasting money placing this item on the ballot repeatedly, that money could have been used in maintenance for the schools!
  • Rather than tear down existing schools to build new ones, maintain and upgrade what’s there, add more portable classrooms if necessary, and let the kids learn how to help in the maintenance and improvement of their schools.

With smaller projects, we can keep our LOCAL contractors and workers employed.


 

VOTE NO on the Sequim School District Bond.


As a side note, the signs that have been placed to voice the opinion (1st Amendment Rights under the Constitution) promoting a “NO” vote on Proposition 1 are already under attack.  Signs have been stolen, and several destroyed.  Do we still live in an America where we are free to voice our opinion?  If you see anyone taking down the signs for this campaign, please call the police.  It is a crime.