The Peninsula School District Board of Directors is looking at possibly purchasing four new portables for Minter Creek and Discovery elementary schools.
Peninsula School District Chief Financial Officer Karen Andersen presented the $3.4-million budget extension proposal to the board during the regular meeting on Thursday (March 8).
Andersen said the money would cover purchasing two portables, each with two classrooms, for the schools. This would add four new classrooms to each school, which are facing overcrowding issues.
“For Minter Creek Elementary … the cost is going to be just a little over $1.56 million,” Andersen said. “Both of our campuses are maxed out, so if we want to put any portables on we have to do site work. So at Minter Creek we will have to put in an extra septic system and do some asphalt work.”
Andersen said it will cost $1.83 million for Discovery Elementary because a retaining wall will need to be built, land surveys will be performed and new asphalt will be poured.
“Again we are purchasing two portable buildings,” Andersen said. “The site work will take the hill directly behind Discovery, and taking it down. There is a lot more testing that we have to go through.”
Andersen said there have been no changes in revenue in the district’s budget, which mostly comes from state and impact fees. She proposed using impact fees to extend the budget to purchase the needed portables.
“The majority of the projects will be covered with impact fees,” Andersen said. “City impact fees for Discovery and county impact fees for the Minter Creek project. We can’t use them 100 percent, the other fees come from the unassigned fund balance.”
Board member David Olson asked if any playground features or other structures would be lost if the portables are built, since space at the schools is full. Andersen said some play areas and play equipment will be removed. She said any older play areas will be replaced with new equipment somewhere else and newer equipment will be moved.
“We don’t want to take away,” Andersen said. “So we will try to make sure everything is set somewhere else.”
No decision was made by the board on the proposed budget extension. The resolution to extend the budget by $3.4 million will be brought in front of the board during the March 22 regular meeting. Public comment on the issue will be taken during the meeting before a decision is made.
GRADUATION NUMBERS AT RISK FOR CLASS OF 2019
Graduation rates and facts were presented to the board by Secondary Education Superintendent Dan Gregory and Director of Assessment and Accountability Jen Dempewolf, which showed a number of students at risk of not graduating on time in 2019 due to changes in graduation requirements.
Four-year graduation rates have risen by 7 percent in the district between 2015 and 2017, according to Dempewolf. But for the class of 2019, one-third of the current juniors are deficient in credits and are not on track to graduate within the four-year period. Part of the reason is Core 24.
In 2014, state legislators passed a bill which directed the State Board of Education to adopt rules to implement the Career- and College-Ready Graduation Requirements.
We are trying to make opportunities to catch up to that Core 24 requirement. The previous requirement was 22 credits, which left us two credits for flex. So if I was a student and I had a life event or I failed a class, I would have two credits of flex to work with to catch up. Now with the class of 2019 that flexibility is gone.
Secondary Education Superintendent Dan Gregory
Currently, students at Gig Harbor High and Peninsula High schools only need 22 credits to graduate. Both schools boast graduations rates of over 90 percent. In a previous interview with The Peninsula Gateway, Gregory said only 60 percent of graduates from the classes of 2015, 2016 and 2017 had 24 or more credits by their senior year. The other 20 percent graduated with 22 to 23 credits.
The class of 2019 will be the first class to graduate with the required 24 credits.
“We are trying to make opportunities to catch up to that Core 24 requirement,” Gregory said. “The previous requirement was 22 credits, which left us two credits for flex. So if I was a student and I had a life event or I failed a class, I would have two credits of flex to work with to catch up. Now with the class of 2019 that flexibility is gone.”
Gregory said he is ready to tackle the issue with Personalized Pathway Requirement credits. Personalized Pathway Requirements means high school students will pick a career or education “track” that will define certain classes, such as certificate-technical education classes, the student will take which will help students reach the required 24 credits by the end of their senior year.
Gregory said some things he has planned with school administrators to help students who are not on track to graduate. Some of this includes expanding summer school classes, after-school programs, tutoring programs and online classes.
Gregory and Dempewolf said the numbers did not includes students from Henderson Bay High School because students at Henderson Bay attend the alternative school because they may need help to graduate after the tradition four years of education.
REACHING OUT TO FLORIDA STUDENTS
During the meeting Gig Harbor High School student representative Kier Adamson presented a signed poster which said “PSD stands with (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School)” to the board.
Adamson said he decided to create the sign and have students from Gig Harbor High School sign it as a way to send support to students who were the victims of a Florida school shooting in February. The sign will be passed between Peninsula High School and Henderson Bay High School to be signed by more students before being mailed to Florida.