ACE Meeting Minutes
The purpose of the Advisory Council for Education is to provide a systematic representative public involvement in educational decisions under consideration by the Board of Directors.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Call to Order
Jenny Taylor called the meeting to order at 6:32 p.m.
Members Present: Lisa Bruce, Andrea Conley, Jerry Davis, Mixie Deeter, Kristy Ewell, Diane Kirchner-Scott, Sue Krause, Anita Kulper, Wendy McClure, Kris McDuffy, Danielle Osting, Jeanna Rard, Mike Ray, Christine Serica, Jenny Taylor and Voni Walker.
Members Absent: Diana Armstrong, Wes Bailey, Carrie Basher, Heather Brown, Melinda Gallo, Pedro Gonzales, Kimberly Meno, Ruth Milner, Kari Pendray and Tanyia Stehl.
Approval of Minutes
Wendy McClure moved to approve the December 5, 2011 minutes. Voni Walker seconded the motion, and the minutes were unanimously approved by voice vote.
Dr. McDuffy presented information on the upcoming levy. How schools are funded is very complex. OSPI published a large document with details called Organization and Financing of Washington Public Schools, available on their website. Overview: We have 5 funds ~ General, Capital Projects, Debt Service, Transportation Vehicle, and ASB. School districts are not allowed to "mix" funds in any way. Each fund is designated and audited by the state annually.
Revenue ~ Percentages of the general fund are broken out as State at 67.8, Federal at 5.6, Local at 26.9. There is a Full-Time Equivalency (FTE) formula that drives the revenue calculations. Some students are counted as a partial FTE (Running Start, SVS, Kindergarten students). When enrollment drops, we lose a percentage of state funding.
Expenditure ~ The Board approved a budget slightly above our current revenue. We are making great gains in our fund balance and stability over time. We are doing better at spending funds on instruction verses non-instruction items. Kris shared where the dollars are being spent.
Kris spoke about the results of the recent Washington State Supreme Court ruling. The state of Washington isn't meeting its obligation to fund schools adequately according to the state constitution: "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."
In February, the community will be asked to vote on the local Replacement of Expiring School Programs and Operations Levy. Kris shared what the levy covers:
(athletics, performing arts, clubs)
Safety/emergency preparedness Special Education
The state funds about 3/4 of a teacher's salary, one-third of an administrator, and one-half of a classified staff member. Kris asked for recommendations about how to inform our community. Sue Krause suggested we use graphics to communicate what is being funded by state funds verses levies. Additional discussion about approaches to communication for the levy ensued.
There was a discussion about combining school districts. Kris said savings are not as large as you would think. There has been a reduction over the years in the number of smaller school districts in rural areas.
Kris explained the school board approves the levy amounts. We will collect fewer funds because the Board wanted to keep the tax rate level. The goal is to maximize collection with the least effect on our tax payers. The tax rate will remain level for the first two years of the levy.
Kris shared the critical message of the district being good stewards, transparent and accountable for our finances.
Good Stewards: We were one of 12 districts in the state in which auditors wanted to examine our practices because of providing a great return on our money. The state will be publishing a one-page document showing a breakdown of district expenditures for the state.
In the national study on the Return on Education Investment - A District by District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity (Jan. 2011), we were considered high achieving/low spending.
Transparency: We have a new web site coming in about a month.
Accountability: We receive annual audits at the state and federal levels. We also do internal audits regularly. In addition, we provide several annual printed reports to our community.
Kristy talked about how the community member forums are attended by those who already support schools. Kris stated she also goes out to meet with a variety of community groups to speak and share this information.
Sue asked about the governor's comment regarding reducing the school year. Kris said the governor has been putting many ideas on the table and this is one idea that would be equal for all districts across the state. Due to the current union contracts, districts would still need to pay the employees based on those contracts.
February 8th at 8:30 a.m. we will hold a second Know Your Schools event, which will begin at the District Office Board Room. Participants will be able to tour an elementary, middle and high school to see what is going on in education.
There being no further business, Sue Krause moved to adjourn and the meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by,
Next Meeting: February 6, 2012