Kennewick School Board Report for April 18

Kennewick School Board Meeting

April 18, 2012

Section 1: What transpired

Personal comments (based on my Leadership WSSDA training) in Italics

Section 2: What was not included

Section 1

Present were school board members Dawn Adams, Heather Kintzley, Brian Brooks, Ron Mabry, and Maricarmen Garza.  KSD staff: Dave Bond (Superintendent), Vic Roberts, Chuck Lybeck, Bev Johnson-Torelli, Jack Anderson, Greg Fancher, Linda Tucker, Ron Williamson, Lori Butler, Matt Scott and Lorraine Cooper.    Board member Ben Messinger was absent.  More about this in Section 2.


The meeting was called to order at 5:30 PM by President Dawn Adams who led the Pledge of Allegiance.


Communication from Parents, Staff and District Residents:  None


Consent Items:  Minutes of 3/28/12 regular meeting, Certified, Classified and Extracurricular Personnel Actions, Payroll and Vouchers, Budget Status Report Ending 3/31/12, Approval of Classified Collective Bargaining Agreements, for Maintenance and Operations and Transportations, Resolution No. 15 2011-2012: Constructability Review Acceptance for Cascade Elementary, Resolution No. 16 2011-2012: Constructability Review Acceptance for Lincoln,  Resolution No. 17 2011-2012 Authorize Membership in the Washington Learning Source, Resolution No. 18 2011-2012 Authorize Membership in Educational Institutional Coop Service, Resolution No. 19 2011-2012 Authorize Membership in National Association of Educational Procurement,  Resolution No. 20: Authorize Membership in U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance, Resolution No. 21 20112012: Accept Canyon View Elementary as Complete, Lunch Price Recommendation 2012-13 School Year, Request for Gymnastic Cooperative with Kamiakin, Hanford, and Richland High Schools and Travel Requests. All passed unanimously.


Superintendent/Board Member Report; Dave Bond reminded the board members about graduation attire.  They need to get sizes and college majors to him.


Dave reminded the board of the scandal in Atlanta, Georgia, several years ago about the cheating on mandated school tests.  In some cases, teachers took tests home and changed answers.  Now, the Atlanta Journal Constitution has published a longitudinal study across the nation of school districts with suspicious scores.  The Seattle Times published the story.  Kennewick School District was identified as one of these districts.  The large swings in KSD test scores correlate with the swing in scores statewide.  The 68 classes in question are 3rd to 4th grade, 4th to 5th grade and Middle School.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution claims 63 of these classes are suspicious.  Ty Beaver is writing an article for the Tri-City Herald about the issue and KSD Cabinet members met with the editorial board.  During the years in question, KSD added a new elementary school (Cottonwood) and the boundaries of all elementary schools changed, changing the demographics of all schools.  Teachers also changed schools during this time.  Bev Henderson who supervises all assessment attended the editorial board and explained the protocols that are in force for all testing.  Lorraine Cooper added that all the scores for KSD were lower not higher as they were in Atlanta.  Other newspapers have criticized the Atlanta Journal Constitution methodology.  It is expected that an article will appear in the Tri-City Herald soon.


Ron Mabry announced that he attended a PTO meeting at Highlands Middle School about grading homework.


Brian Brooks announced that he spent time at Desert Hills Middle School visiting Steve Jones, the principal, and five classes.  He also was at the “Read to Lead” breakfast sponsored by The Children’s Reading Foundation.  The “Bikes for Books” program at seven KSD elementary schools won the award for promoting reading.  Brian is the Legislative Representative and the Washington State School Directors’ Association is calling for proposals to be included in priorities in the next legislative session.  This will be put on the agenda for the next meeting.


Dave brought up the calendar for graduation which is 6/2.  5/30 is scheduled for any graduation appeals.  Last year there were none but time is set up in case it is needed.  Phoenix and Legacy graduation is Friday evening 6/1 and board representation is needed.  6/9 is the semi-annual retreat.  There is a problem as not all board members will be able to attend.  This will be rescheduled, maybe in two evening sessions.


Dawn Adams announced that she was at “Math Nite” at Dairy Queen and a WSU representative also attended.  She will be going to the National School Board Association Annual Session in Boston.


Dave was at a “Gear Up” presentation.  This is the first year of the grant KSD has won.


Reports and Discussions: 2011-2012 Budget Update  Vic Roberts presented an update on the budget for the current year and some preview of the budget for next year.   He showed a number of charts that show the budgeted amounts and the projections for the rest of the year.  Brian asked, “Are the amounts typical?”  Vic answered, “Yes, for our size with a 150 million dollar budget.”  A large number of charts were shown including Salaries, Benefits, Utilities for seven months, Utilities for twelve months, Enrollment and Revenue Variance.


For the 2012-13 Budget, Vic is assuming the enrollment will stay the same.  The funding to the Mid-Columbia Partnership has been cut by the state.  There also are new restrictions on the curriculum.  It is felt some students may leave the program.  Dawn thought it was important to find out why students are leaving.  In the General Funds, Utilities (which includes fuel, namely gasoline) is expected to rise.  Ron asked, “Is there a correlation to the layoffs?”  Vic answered that there are many factors that go into budget planning.


There will be a budget hearing on July 18th.  Dave added that the deficit for this year will probably be $500,000 rather than two million as projected.


Unfinished Business: None


New Business: District-wide Language Arts Adoption – Middle School

  • Literature and Reality Central/Prentice Hall (6th, 7th, 8th Grades)
  • Writing Coach and Grammar Book/Prentice Hall (6th, 7th 8th Grades)


Chuck Lybeck presented the Middle School adoption recommendation.  The High School adoption will be presented later this spring.  Chuck went through the process for curriculum adoption which was approved by the board four years ago.  The Advisory Committee had representation from each school and grade, parents, administration and the cabinet.  KSD is moving from site based curriculum decisions to district wide curriculum adoptions.  The parameters for adopting curriculum include that it be parent friendly, have available online resources, align to Washington State standards and Common Core standards and be useful for the professional development of teachers.


Ron Mabry asked about other districts.  Chuck stated that we will be the first local district to be aligned with Common Core standards.  A man in the audience raised his hand and stated that he had a reservation about the adoption and that reservation was not on the data presented.  He stated that his reservation was that there were no other products to compare with the Prentice Hall materials.  Ron Williamson explained the process by saying, “Unless you were with the Committee since September, you will not see all alternatives.”  The data presented was put together about one and a half weeks ago and if this reservation was written since then, it was not included.  Chuck went on to explain the difficulty in finding volunteer parents who can attend two hour meetings twice a month.  It is the objective of the Advisory Committee to sift through all the possibilities in detail and present the best of their efforts.  The gentleman insisted that he was asked to compare materials at Desert Hills Middle School and left shortly after.


Another person in the audience raised his hand; a young man (looked like a student).  He asked, “Do students have an opportunity to look at books?”  Chuck answered that several of the teachers showed a number of books to their students.  The high school recommendation will definitely have student involvement.  The student involvement depends on the maturity of the grade level.


Ron Mabry asked, “Who has the opportunity to look at all the books?”  Chuck explained that the process takes time and the committee is vetted to offer the best recommendation not a choice.  The Advisory Committee carefully looks at all possibilities and makes a recommendation.  Then the materials are available at all school involved and in the administration building.


Brian Brooks moved to accept the recommendation.  Ron Mabry seconded and the motion passed unanimously


Elementary Space Issues  Greg Fancher began his presentation with a statement of appreciation for being included in the Tri-City Herald editorial board meeting.  He said the Atlanta Journal Constitution made assumptions based on poor data and now KSD has to defend itself.


Even though KSD is not growing as fast as in the past, there are pockets where some elementary schools are severely overcrowded.  There are no empty classrooms at Ridgeview.  Ridgeview houses Kennewick’s Opportunity for Gifted students or KOG program.  Ridgeview is in need of one more basic education classroom.  There are three options to dealing with overcrowding   (1) Bus some students to Vista Elementary, (2) Add classrooms to Ridgeview – three portables  or (3) Move KOG to Vista which is the recommendation of the administration.  Included is an action plan to work with the teachers to design a site plan to meet their needs.


Ron Mabry asked if it would be possible to have KOG at both Ridgeview and Vista as this would be an opportunity to have small classes.  Chuck Lybeck answered that there are no waiting lists for KOG to necessitate a second program.  Lori Butler, principal at Ridgeview, added that the KOG teachers work together and often have joint projects which would be difficult with two locations.  Dawn Adams added that she would prefer to see more Dual Language classes rather than KOG.


Heather Kintzley made a motion to accept the recommendation of the administration.  Brian Brooks seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


Other Business as Authorized by Law:  Executive Session Per RCW 42.30.110 (1) (b) A discussion of real estate to last ten to fifteen minutes.  I didn’t stay to see how long the meeting actually lasted.


Section 2


Again, a board member was absent and there was no mention if this was excused.  By default, one must consider this unexcused which starts the countdown to four consecutive unexcused absences which declares the position vacant (KSD Policy 1450).


Who were those people in the audience who participated in the Language Arts discussion?  President Dawn Adams needs to insist that public speakers give their names and addresses.  Were they even residents of KSD?  Their remarks are going into public record and we don’t know who they are.