May 30, 2019

Board of directors recommends preserving school and classroom-based positions and supports


School board balances budget temporarily through the use of one-time fund balance money, one-time state levy equalization revenue and cuts to central administration and support services for 2019-20 school year. District community advisory group recommends supplemental levy measure to secure sustainable revenue avoiding position cuts in 2020-21. 

At the suggestion of Director Dale Rice, Director Stoker introduced an interest in using an additional $58,600 from the fund balance to restore the one remaining building-based preliminary budget reduction recommendation: the wing clerk position at Skyview High School. The board directed the superintendent to use $3.81 million from the district’s fund balance in 2019-20 to ensure that school-based positions were not affected by the deficit caused, in part, by the McCleary legislation. Statewide, 253 of the 295 districts have 2019-20 budget shortfalls due to flawed public policy legislated in Olympia.   

Said Stoker, "The one cut that jumps off the page that has a direct impact to a building and classrooms is the Skyview wing clerk position. I had a conversation with Director Rice before he left the country, and he asked that I advocate to restore that position and take those funds from the ending-fund balance instead, but also recognizing that this is a one-year solution to what is going to be an ongoing problem. We got some feedback on what that position does and supports, and that is Dale's recommendation and I support that as well."

"Yes, I'm in favor of that too," said Board President Rosemary Fryer. "I don't think it's enough of a reduction that we can't take it out of the fund balance."

Said Director Wendy Smith, "I think all of us have a priority in making sure that the education that's being offered to our students as direct support is not being touched as much as possible. ... I know that the work that's being done at central office helps our students. I don't want to minimize anybody's impact—everyone is in it for the students in everything we do.

"On top of that, I would agree with both Directors Stoker and Fryer in that the wing clerk position. ... If we can find a way to find another $58,600 to keep that wing clerk, I would advocate for that as well," said Smith.

"Every position in the district is valued," echoed Superintendent Steve Webb. "They are providing critical support and services on behalf of our mission and operation in educating children and supporting families. Push comes to shove, however, as a result of flawed public policy in Olympia. Our legislators handed this to school boards all across the state, and I'm going to continue to speak publicly, place responsibility where it lies. I'm going to advocate on behalf of our 24,000 students and families in this community over and over and over again. But at the end of the day, I don't want anyone to leave this room with misunderstanding that central office and support services do not provide mission-critical supports. They absolutely do," said Webb.

The district’s unassigned, unreserved fund balance projection in 2019-20 will be approximately $5.8 million, or 1.785 percent of district general fund expenses, below the board policy target of 3 percent. Most of the assigned and reserved fund balance accounts are legally required and are restricted. 

The district originally faced a $16.8 million 2019-20 budget deficit. After accounting for staffing adjustments due to student enrollment decline in the amount of $2.3 million and Senator Annette Cleveland’s one-time levy equalization funding in the amount of $6.5 million, the net final budget deficit the board needed to address for 2019-20 was $8 million.

The board directed the superintendent to begin operationalizing the final budget reductions, which include:
• $3,808,600 – One-time use of fund balance
• $1,267,000 – 10 centrally-budgeted teachers on special assignment
• $1,200,000 – 5 percent reduction to central office supplies and services budgets
• $800,000 – 15 percent reduction of central office administration
• $450,000 – 5 central office professional-technical positions
• $400,000 – 50 percent reduction in all professional development travel
• $75,000 – 1 grounds position

$8,000,600 TOTAL

Budget recommendations:
Remarks by Superintendent Steve Webb

This afternoon, my team and I will present a final set of 2019-20 budget reduction recommendations after taking public input into consideration.
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. In fact, over 99% of today’s recommended reductions are derived from fund balance and central administrative and support services. 
But before I ask Brett Blechschmidt, chief fiscal officer, to review the final recommendations, I want to provide a detailed record of the district’s budget and bargaining communications and public outreach this year, beginning in July 2018.
In summary:
  • The district communicated 55 times with the broader public, including staff, families, legislators and the media, with news releases and updates also posted to the district’s website, mobile app and Flash Alert. Budget-related articles were published in our electronic and print newsletters as well.
  • The district communicated with legislative leaders daily during the legislative session via our government relations advocate. Additionally, on two occasions, district staff communicated directly at legislative forums regarding our projected budget shortfall and the need for legislative solutions. My Feb. 15, “Open Letter to the Legislature,” published and distributed broadly throughout the state, addressed the hardship that VPS and 253 of the 295 districts faced due to the McCleary mess legislated in Olympia. It also advocated for a set of sensible policy fixes for the legislature to consider, some of which materialized in this session.
  • The board of directors held seven public meetings regarding the district’s budget. All of those meetings allowed for public comment and input. Today’s work session is the eighth public meeting.
Of the original $14.5 million budget shortfall faced by VPS, tonight’s recommendations include the use of $10.25 million in one-time funding – $6.5 million of one-time state levy equalization money thanks to Senator Annette Cleveland and $3.75 million of one-time money from the district’s fund balance. This approach allows VPS to preserve almost all of the school-based, direct service positions originally identified as possible reductions to consider, but only for the 2019-20 school year. 
Absent a sustainable revenue source moving forward, we’ll be back here a year from now, with fewer options to consider. Obviously, we’ll all need to come together—our labor union partners, friends, employees, district administration, families and community—to identify and secure sustainable revenue that preserves valued services and programs that our community members want and expect from their public schools.

Read the May 28 budget recommendations.

Advisory group provides budget feedback

May 28, 2019
Rosemary Fryer, President
Board of Directors, Vancouver Public Schools
Dear Madam President and Board of Directors:

I serve as chairperson of the Management Task Force, a district advisory committee established in the 1980s and sustained by three superintendents. Since its inception, the task force has met three times a year to advise the superintendent and leadership team on district initiatives and issues.
The Management Task Force is composed of approximately 40 representative leaders from businesses, local government, education, nonprofit organizations and neighborhood associations. The group also includes parent and citizen representatives from the community at large. Two school board representatives also attend our meetings.
The new state funding system for K-12 education and the budget challenges it presents to local school districts have been a recent focus of the Management Task Force. At our May 23 regular meeting, we reviewed and discussed the results of the district's budget survey and the final budget recommendations  from the superintendent and his team.
The Management Task Force supports the final budget recommendations and believes they are consistent with the results of the public survey. But we are concerned that the use of $6.5 million in one-time levy equalization money from the state and $3.75 million in ending fund balance money from the district only pushes much of this problem down the road for a year. We advise the superintendent and his team to identity a sustainable revenue source, including a possible supplemental levy measure, to meet the district's financial needs in 2020-21 and beyond.

Read more.

Congratulations, May Excellence Awardees

The following employees were selected for the May 2019 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the May 28 school board meeting. Pictured from left:

  • Peggy Haugen, counselor, Harney Elementary
  • Ann Medellin, teacher on special assignment, curriculum department
  • Brett Andre, counselor, Chinook Elementary
  • Barb Graves, teacher, Washington Elementary
  • Darra Black, physical therapist assistant, special services department

The Excellence Award is given to five employees and/or small teams from October to May each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.

Read more.

Going to national competition!

Three Vancouver iTech Preparatory students are headed to Maryland in June 2019 for the National History Day competition. Ninth graders Abigail Andersen, Grant Myers and Trevor Bosman earned a spot after winning the senior group exhibit in the Washington state contest. Their project, titled “Pride Over Principle: The Nazis Behind NASA,” examines the link between the groups in the space race. The trio is the first from iTech Prep and Vancouver Public Schools to qualify for the National History Day competition.

Read more.

Mark your calendars

Ogden Elementary School closing open house, June 6, 5 to 7 p.m.
Current and former students, parents and staff and community members are invited to say goodbye to Ogden on Thursday, June 6, at an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Memorabilia and photos will be on display in the media center. There is no formal program. The public is invited.

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School groundbreaking ceremony, June 14, 1 to 1:30 p.m.
A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction of the new King Elementary School is scheduled for Friday, June 14, from 1 to 1:30 p.m. at the school. The public is invited.

Design II Showcase


BOLT promotes a safe and supportive culture

“BOLT shows all of the diversity at our school and that there is no stereotypical high school student. We are all different in beautiful ways and [BOLT] really highlights that fact.”   —Skyview freshman

Building Our Legacy Together, or BOLT, celebrates the diversity and courage of the people of Skyview High School. The annual TED-style event is the creation of the school’s leadership class, facilitated by teacher and adviser Meredith Wales. BOLT, now in its fourth year, is student-led. By leveraging experiences into life lessons, it promotes trust, respect and inclusiveness. Throughout the event, students and staff members reveal their struggles, passions and dreams. Many of the narratives reflect journeys of hardship, loneliness or loss. All of them end with messages of inspiration, compassion and hope.

Recap of the May 28 school board meeting

The board of directors approved the following actions at the May 28, 2019 school board meeting. Following a recess to a public hearing, the board of directors approved the disposition of surplus property.

Featured tweet:

Work opportunities come to life through CTE

See #VPSAmazing tweets from our staff

Featured video:

Skyview teacher is Onpoint Educator of the Year

Skyview High School's Tori Sharpe won the OnPoint Credit Union High School Educator of the Year, earning a $2,500 prize for the school and a year's worth of mortgage payments made by the credit union.

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Dates to know

June 18 – Two-hour early release, all schools

June 19 – Two-hour early release, last day of school

July 4 – Independence Day

Aug. 27 – First day of school

Sept. 2 – Labor Day, no school

Get more calendar information.



Kia Luu, custodial assistant at Fort Vancouver High School, will retire Aug. 30 with 13 years of service.

Listen to audio recordings of board meetings.
Copyright © 2019 Vancouver Public Schools. All rights reserved.

Our address is:
2901 Falk Rd., Vancouver, WA 98661
P.O. Box 8937, Vancouver, WA 98668

Superintendent: Dr. Steve Webb
Board of Directors: Rosemary Fryer, Michelle Giovannozzi, Dale Q. Rice, Wendy Smith, Mark Stoker

Vancouver School District is an Equal Opportunity District in education programs, activities, services, and employment. The district does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, including gender expression or identity, age, families with children, honorably discharged veteran or military status, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal. The district provides equal access to the Boy Scouts of America and other designated youth groups. The district complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 402 of the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Older Worker Protection Act, and all other state, federal, and local equal opportunity laws. You may also contact any of the following people by writing to them at Vancouver School District, PO Box 8937, Vancouver, Washington 98668-8937 or by calling 360-313-1000: ADA–Kathy Everidge; Title VII, 504–Tamara Shoup; IDEA–Daniel Bettis; Affirmative Action–Kathy Everidge; Title IX Elementary–Debra Hale; Title IX Secondary–Chris Olsen; Athletic Equity–Albert Alcantar. This notification can be provided in the appropriate language for communities of national origin and minority persons with limited English language skills by contacting 360-313-1250.


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