Educating Spokane - February 2012


Uploaded by SpokanePublicSchools on 10.02.2012

Transcript:
>> COMING UP NEXT, SPOKANE
PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF
DIRECTORS TAKE YOUR QUESTIONS ON
"EDUCATING SPOKANE."

>> WELCOME TO "EDUCATING
SPOKANE."
I'M TERREN ROLOFF.
TONIGHT OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
IS TAKING QUESTIONS ABOUT
SPOKANE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION, WE HOPE
YOU WILL CALL THE NUMBER ON YOUR
SCREEN OR EMAIL OR TEXT US AT
ES@KSPS.ORG.
WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO SHARE YOUR
NAME AND PHONE NUMBER IN CASE WE
NEED TO GET BACK TO YOU IF TIME
RUNS SHORT.
OUR GUESTS FROM THE BOARD OF
DIRECTORS ARE PRESIDENT BOB
DOUTHITT.
>> GOOD EVENING, TERREN.
>> DIRECTOR ROCKY TREPPEIDI,
DIRECTOR DEANNA BROWER AND
SUPERINTENDENT OF SPOKANE PUBLIC
SCHOOLS DR. NANCY STOWELL.
THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING HERE
THIS EVENING AND THANK OUR
VIEWERS FOR BEING HERE.
DEANNA, I WOULD LIKE TO WELCOME
YOU.
THIS IS YOUR FIRST PROGRAM.
>> IT IS.
IT'S NICE TO BE HERE.
>> AS A NEW BOARD OF DIRECTOR.
AND DIRECTOR DOUTHITT, MAYBE YOU
WANT TO GIVE US AN UPDATE ON
SOME NEWS THAT FOLKS MIGHT BE
INTERESTED IN REGARDING THE
SUPERINTENDENT'S SEARCH.
>> SURE.
YEAH, WE ARE PROBABLY ABOUT A
THIRD OF THE WAY DONE WITH THE
SEARCH RIGHT NOW.
SUPERINTENDENT STOWELL ANNOUNCED
HER RETIREMENT AN
DECEMBER 14th AND WE HAD
CONSULTANTS OUT HERE
INTERVIEWING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE
THROUGH 32 DIFFERENT FOCUS
GROUPS.
WE HAD ABOUT 600 OR MORE ANSWERS
ON OUR ONLINE SURVEY AND WE
APPRECIATE EVERYBODY WHO DID
GIVE THEIR INPUT.
WE ARE GOING TO GET A REPORT
BACK ON THAT THIS WEEKEND.
AND THEN THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE
THAT LEADERSHIP PROFILE THAT WE
FINALLY COME UP WITH AND MARKET
THE DISTRICT TO VARIOUS
CANDIDATES OVER THE NEXT MONTH,
MONTH AND A HALF.
AND THEN WE WILL BE INTERVIEWING
OUR FINALISTS IN MID-APRIL AND
SHOULD HAVE A DECISION AT THE
END OF APRIL.
>> IT'S A MASSIVE JOB TO REPLACE
DR. STOWELL.
DR. STOWELL HAS DONE A GREAT JOB
IN SHEPHERDING US THROUGH MANY
DIFFICULT ISSUES.
I MEAN, THE PERSON THAT'S GOING
TO REPLACE HER IS GOING TO HAVE
TO MANAGE 50 SCHOOLS, SEVERAL
THOUSAND EMPLOYEES, ABOUT 28,000
STUDENTS, A BUDGET OVER
$300 MILLION A YEAR AND ON AND
ON.
I MEAN, THERE ARE MANY, MANY,
ISSUES THAT CONFRONT OUR SYSTEM
AND WE TAKE IT VERY SERIOUSLY TO
MAKE SURE WE FIND THE RIGHT
CANDIDATE FOR OUR COMMUNITY.
>> OUR CONSULTANT LET ME KNOW I
WAS ONE OF THE LAST FOLKS TO
CHAT WITH HIM ON THE DAY THAT HE
INTERVIEWED AND HE SAID THAT OUR
COMMUNITY INPUT WAS FABULOUS IN
TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
WHO ATTENDED AND RESPONDED AND
THAT THAT WILL YIELD SOME GREAT
INFORMATION TO THE BOARD AS WE
MOVE FORWARD AND LOOK FOR WHO
WILL BE THE BEST CANDIDATE.
>> I THINK YOU ARE TO BE
COMMENDED FOR THE DIVERSITY OF
THOSE FOCUS GROUPS THAT WERE
FORMED.
YOU REALLY CUT ACROSS THE ENTIRE
COMMUNITY, SEEKING INPUT.
SO I THINK YOU WILL GET A REAL
REPRESENTATION OF WHAT THIS
COMMUNITY WANTS IN ITS NEXT
SUPERINTENDENT.
>> YEP.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO WE DO HAVE A FEW QUESTIONS
THAT HAVE ALREADY COME IN AND WE
WILL START WITH THIS ONE.
I UNDERSTAND THIS IS NOT A NEW
LEVY, BUT A CONTINUATION OF THE
EXISTING LEVY.
OF COURSE THIS PERSON IS
REFERRING TO THE LEVY THAT'S
COMING UP ON FEBRUARY 14th.
I RECENTLY RECEIVED MAIL FROM A
GROUP SAYING THIS IS A NEW TAX.
PLEASE CLARIFY.
>> WELL, WE CAN CLARIFY IT BY
SAYING IT IS NOT A NEW TAX.
I MEAN, IT'S THAT SIMPLE.
THIS IS A LEVY THAT'S BEEN IN
PLACE FOR MANY, MANY, MANY, MANY
YEARS.
IT'S BEEN SUPPORTED -- IT'S
RECEIVED TREMENDOUS SUPPORT,
FRANKLY, FROM THE COMMUNITY FOR
MANY YEARS.
BY LAW, WE HAVE TO GO BACK TO
THE COMMUNITY.
IT USED TO BE EVERY TWO YEARS
AND NOW WE CAN DO IT EVERY FOUR
YEARS IF WE CHOOSE, AND THE
CYCLE WE'VE STAYED WITH IS EVERY
THREE YEARS NOW.
SO IT'S A CONTINUATION OF AN
EXISTING PROCESS, AN EXISTING
LEVY THAT'S BEEN IN EXISTENCE
FOR A LONG TIME.
>> OKAY.
>> THE SECOND QUESTION ALSO HAS
TO DO WITH THE LEVY.
IT SAYS, I RECEIVED A FLYER THAT
SAID THE STATE ALREADY PAYS FOR
BASIC EDUCATION.
IF THAT IS TRUE, WHY SHOULD I
VOTE FOR THIS LEVY?
>> WE ALL WISH IT WERE TRUE.
SERIOUSLY.
>> IT WAS RECENTLY ACKNOWLEDGED
IN THE McCLEARY CASE THAT OUR
STATE IS NOT FULLY FUNDING AND
THAT MORE FUNDING WILL BE
NECESSARY, BUT IN THE MEANTIME,
OUR LEVY IS PROTECTING OUR
CURRENT LEVEL OF FUNDING TO
CLOSE GAPS WHERE THE STATE IS
NOT FUNDING.
>> AND THE LEVY HAS GROWN TO BE
ABOUT 25% OF THAT $313 MILLION
BUDGET.
SO IT'S A SIGNIFICANT PIECE AND
THE REASON THE LEVY HAS GROWN TO
THAT AMOUNT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU
SAID, DEANNA, IS THE STATE IS
NOT DOING ITS PARAMOUNT DUTY OF
FUNDING, NOT ONLY BASIC
EDUCATION, BUT JUST NOT FUNDING
EDUCATION GENERALLY FOR US AND
WE TAKE REDUCTIONS EVERY SINGLE
YEAR.
IN FACT, IN TEN YEARS WE HAVE
REDUCED $45 MILLION IN
EXPENDITURES TO TRY TO TIGHTEN
OUR BELT AND MAKE SURE THAT WE
ARE BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF THE
PUBLIC'S MONEY BUT WE ARE
RELYING -- INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH,
THAT 25%, IT'S BEEN THE
PREDICTABLE PART OF OUR BUDGET,
BECAUSE THE STATE HASN'T BEEN
PREDICTABLE OVER THE LAST FEW
YEARS.
>> AND JUST BY -- YOU HAVE BEEN
USING 25%.
WHEN I FIRST JOINED THE BOARD,
IT WAS ABOUT 15 OR 16%.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> AND AS THE STATE HAS SHIFTED
ITS FOCUS AWAY FROM EDUCATION
AND FUNDED OTHER ASPECTS OF THE
STATE BUDGET, IT HAS FAILED
LITERALLY FAILED TO FULLY FUND
PROPERLY AND AMPLY FUND AS THE
CONSTITUTION SAYS BASIC
EDUCATION.
THAT'S HOW OUR LEVY HAS REALLY
BEEN USED TO BACKFILL THE
STATE'S RESPONSIBILITY.
THIS IS CRITICAL TO US.
>> I THINK YOU WOULD BE HARD
PRESSED TO FIND ANY LEGISLATOR
THAT WOULD CONTEND THAT THEY'RE
FULLY FUNDING BASIC EDUCATION,
AND AS EVERYBODY ELSE HAS SAID,
THE SUPREME COURT JUST RECENTLY
SAID, HEY, YOU ARE NOT FUNDING
BASIC EDUCATION.
EVEN IF THEY WERE, THOUGH, EVEN
IF BASIC EDUCATION WERE BEING
FULLY FUNDED, THE ORIGINAL
INTENT OF THE LEVIES WAS TO FUND
EXTRAS THAT WOULDN'T BE WITHIN
THAT.
SO THERE'S A PART OF THAT
PERSON'S QUESTION THAT IS -- YOU
KNOW, EVEN IF EDUCATION WERE
BEING FULLY FUNDED, YEAH,
THERE'S A PURPOSE FOR THIS LEVY
WHICH IS THINGS LIKE SPORTS,
THINGS LIKE --
>> EXTRACURRICULAR.
>> ALL EXTRACURRICULAR
ACTIVITIES, CERTAIN KINDS OF --
WELL, RIGHT NOW, THE DEFINITION
OF BASIC EDUCATION DOESN'T
INCLUDE ART TEACHERS, MUSIC
TEACHERS.
>> LIBRARIANS.
>> LIBRARIANS, GUIDANCE
COUNSELORS.
SO ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE NOT
WITHIN THE DEFINITION THE STATE
HAS BEEN USING AS BASIC
EDUCATION.
SO THOSE DO DEPEND ON THE LEVY
NO MATTER WHAT.
>> FOR YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS
OUR COMMUNITY HAS COME TO EXPECT
ALL OF THOSE PROGRAMS THAT YOU
JUST LISTED, BOB, THEY EXPECT
THAT THAT IS PART OF THE
EDUCATION WE PROVIDE IN THIS
DISTRICT TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR
KIDS LEAVE OUR SCHOOLS READY TO
COMPETE.
SO THEY ARE USED TO THOSE KINDS
OF PROGRAMS, THE ART, THE MUSIC,
THE LIBRARIANS, THE COUNSELORS.
>> AND ONE QUESTION WE OFTEN GET
IN THE COMMUNITY, MAYBE WE WILL
COME ACROSS THIS TONIGHT IS,
WELL, HOW ABOUT THE BOND MONEY?
YOU KNOW, THE COMMUNITY HAS
PROVIDED US WITH WONDERFUL
SUPPORT FOR MAINTAINING THE
BUILDINGS AND SO FORTH, BUT
UNDER THE LAW, WE HAVE TO USE
THE BOND MONEY ONLY FOR THAT
PURPOSE, WHICH IS FOR THE
BUILDING AND THE MAINTENANCE,
NOT FOR THE TEACHING END OF THE
PROGRAMS.
>> ALL RIGHT.
WELL, IT SEEMS THAT THE LEVY IS
THE TOPIC OF THE NIGHT.
HOW MUCH OF MY LEVY MONEY
ACTUALLY GOES INTO CLASSROOM?
>> WELL, IF WE LOOK AT THAT LEVY
PIECE, THAT 25%, ALMOST 90% OF
THAT GOES DIRECTLY TO THE
CLASSROOM.
THERE'S A SMALL PERCENTAGE NOW,
I THINK IT'S 5.6% THAT GOES TO
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AND
CLUBS AFTER SCHOOL THAT.
USED TO BE A LITTLE LARGER
BECAUSE YOU REMEMBER WE USED TO
HAVE ELEMENTARY EXTRACURRICULAR,
BUT THAT'S BEEN REDUCED OVER THE
LAST FEW YEARS.
SO WELL OVER, I WOULD SAY,
AROUND 90% OF THAT -- THOSE LEVY
DOLLARS WHICH IS ABOUT
$73 MILLION FOR US, ACTUALLY
GOES TO THE CLASSROOM.
AND PART OF THAT INCLUDES SOME
MONEY THAT WE ARE PAYING FOR
SPECIAL EDUCATION, FOR OUR
E.L.L., OUR ENGLISH LANGUAGE
LEARNER PROGRAM THAT SHOULD BE
FUNDED BY THE STATE, BUT IS NOT.
>> RIGHT.
THE STATE AND THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT AND THAT AMOUNT OF
MONEY THAT WE HAVE BEEN PAYING
FROM THE LEVY TO SUPPORT THOSE
PROGRAMS HAS RISEN EACH OF THE
LAST FEW YEARS, EACH OF THE LAST
TEN YEARS.
SO WE RELY ON THE LEVY FOR MANY,
MANY SUPPORT SERVICES FOR ALL OF
THE STUDENTS THROUGHOUT THE
DISTRICT.
>> AND SPEAKING OF WHAT IS
FUNDED IN THE CLASSROOM,
ELECTIVES, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT'S
ONE THING I DON'T THINK YOU HAVE
MENTIONED YET, ADVANCED
PLACEMENT KINDS OF ELECTIVES.
>> AND I THINK WHEN WE TALK
ABOUT ELECTIVES, THE EXAMPLE I
LIKE TO GIVE IS LET'S SAY WE'VE
GOT -- WE'VE GOT 35 STUDENTS WHO
WANT TO BE IN A GEOMETRY CLASS
OR AN ADVANCED CALCULUS CLASS
AND THAT'S PROBABLY THE BETTER
EXAMPLE AND WE HAVE A CLASS
LIMIT OF 30.
SO WHAT DO WE DO?
DO WE TELL FIVE KIDS, I'M SORRY,
YOU CAN'T TAKE CALCULUS?
OF COURSE WE CAN'T DO THAT AND
WE CREATE TWO SMALLER CLASSES,
ONE OF 17 AND ONE OF 18, AND THE
STATE DOES NOT FUND THOSE
SMALLER CLASSES.
SO LEVY DOLLARS PICK THOSE
CLASSES UP, OUR SMALL -- SOME OF
OUR SMALL THIRD AND FOURTH YEAR
WORLD LANGUAGES CLASSES PAID FOR
OUT OF THE LEVIES.
SOME OF OUR SMALL SCIENCE
ELECTIVES, NEW PROGRAMS THAT WE
PUT INTO PRACTICE, LIKE PROJECT
LEAD THE WAY, THE BIOMED PROGRAM
THAT WE HAVE IS PAID FOR OUT OF
LEVY.
SO THOSE ARE SOME EXAMPLES.
>> YEAH, ANOTHER GOOD EXAMPLE IS
WHEN WE REPLACE TEXTBOOKS.
THE STATE'S CYCLE FOR FUNDING ON
REPLACING TEXTBOOKS IS 18 YEARS,
IF YOU CAN BELIEVE THAT.
SO TRY USING A HISTORY BOOK
THAT'S 18 YEARS OUT OF DATE.
>> YEAH.
>> SO WE, AS A BOARD AND AS A
DISTRICT HAVE ALWAYS LOOKED AT
DOING OUR BEST TO MAKING SURE
THAT WE CAN UPDATE OUR MATERIALS
AS QUICKLY AS WE CAN.
THAT'S LEVY DOLLARS THAT HELPS
US DO THAT.
WE'RE COMING INTO A PHASE
WHERE -- NOT TO BORE EVERYBODY
WITH DETAILS BUT WITH COMMON
CORE STANDARDS COMING ON BOARD
IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS AND
MAJOR CURRICULUM CHANGES
THROUGHOUT ALL OF OUR K-12
SYSTEM.
AGAIN, THAT'S MANDATED BY THE
STATE, BUT WILL THE STATE
PROVIDE THE FUNDING TO HELP US
GET THE MATERIALS FOR ALL OF
THOSE CHANGES THROUGHOUT THE
CURRICULUM?
IT'S NOT THIS YET.
WELL, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE
THAT OUR STUDENTS AND OUR
TEACHERS HAVE THE RIGHT TRAINING
AND THE RIGHT MATERIALS.
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO RELY ON
THE LEVY DOLLARS TO HELP SUPPORT
THAT.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS I WANTED TO
TOUCH ON, YOU MENTIONED CLASS
SIZES FOR THOSE KIND OF HIGH
SCHOOL SPECIALTY KIND OF COURSES
BUT WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT CLASS
SIZES AT OTHER LEVELS AND THE
LEVY DOES FUND -- ALLOW FOR
REASONABLE CLASS SIZES.
>> RIGHT.
>> YOU HAVE SAID THAT ESPECIALLY
BEFORE, BUT YOU MIGHT WANT TO
EXPLAIN WHAT WE ARE TALKING
ABOUT WITH REGARD TO REASONABLE
CLASS SIZES.
>> WELL, THE WAY I LOOK AT IT,
AND DR. STOWELL, YOU CAN TELL ME
IF I'M WRONG, BUT IN THE LEVY
FAILED, THEN THERE'S 23, 24% OF
OUR BUDGET WOULD GO AWAY AND I
WOULD SAY CLASS SIZES WOULD
PROBABLY BE 23 OR 24% BIGGER.
AND WHICH THAT WOULD BE -- IF
THEY ARE 25 NOW, THEN THEY WOULD
BE, I DON'T KNOW, 30, 31 LATER.
IF THEY ARE 30 NOW, THEY WOULD
BE 36 LATER.
>> RIGHT.
AND THERE WERE OTHER PAST
INITIATIVES TO KEEP CLASS SIZES
LOW.
THE STATE IS NOT FUNDING IT.
WE TRY TO HONOR THAT BY USING
LEVY FUNDS TO KEEP OUR CLASS
SIZES AS CLOSE TO THOSE NUMBERS
AS POSSIBLE.
SO IT REALLY -- YOU KNOW, WE ARE
ATTEMPTING TO DO WHAT -- WHAT
THE STATE ISN'T PROVIDING AND
WHAT THE VOTERS HAVE ASKED FOR.
>> ANY BUSINESS OUT THERE THAT
WOULD SUFFER A 25% LOSS IN
REVENUE IS GOING TO -- THE
BOTTOM LINE, IS WE WOULD RACE
SIGNIFICANT LAYOFFS.
WE WOULDN'T BE LOOKING AT ONE
TEACHER PER SCHOOL.
WE WOULD BE LOOKING AT HUNDREDS
OF TEACHERS, FOR EXAMPLE,
THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT.
>> I THINK THE LEVY --
>> NO SUCH DECISIONS LIKE THAT
HAVE BEEN MADE, BUT IT'S OBVIOUS
THAT THE IMPACTS WOULD BE
DRAMATIC.
>> I THINK THE LEVY IS A MINIMUM
800 F.T.E., FULL-TIME
EQUIVALENT.
YOU TALK ABOUT REASONABLE AND WE
DO HAVE A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
AGREEMENT THAT WE HONOR AND THAT
SAYS AT THE SECONDARY GRADE IS 7
THROUGH 12, 30 IN A CLASS.
BUT ABSENT THE LEVY, THAT WOULD
BE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE.
WE USED TO GET STATE MONEY FOR
SMALLER CLASS SIZES AT
ELEMENTARY, K-4, BUT ALL OF THAT
MONEY HAS GONE FROM THE STATE,
AND THE 728, THE INITIATIVE
MONEY THAT OUR PUBLIC VOTED FOR,
OUR VOTERS ENDORSED.
SO THERE REALLY IS NO MONEY NOW
TO MAINTAIN REASONABLE CLASS
SIZES.
WE DO IT BECAUSE WE HAVE THE
LEVY.
>> ALL RIGHT.
ALL RIGHT.
MY SON WHO HAS ASPERGER'S HAS
BEEN GETTING SPECIAL HELP IN THE
ADAPT PROGRAM.
THAT WILL GO AWAY IF THE LEVY
FAILS?
>> I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THE ADAPT
PROGRAM ITSELF.
THE OBLIGATIONS TO PROVIDE
SPECIAL EDUCATION ARE A FEDERAL
REQUIREMENT AND SO WE WOULD
CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THE
REQUIREMENTS OF THAT PERSON'S
I.E.P., WHATEVER THOSE HAPPEN TO
BE.
AS WITH ANYTHING, I'M SURE IT
WOULD BE DONE IN A LESS
EXPENSIVE MANNER SOMEHOW OR
ANOTHER.
>> YOU KNOW, WE WOULD HAVE TO
LOOK AT THAT.
WE WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT COULD
WE -- THOSE CLASSES ARE PRETTY
SMALL RIGHT NOW.
WE WOULD HAVE TO LOOK AT COULD
WE ADD MORE STUDENTS TO THOSE
CLASSROOMS AND DO IT WITH AN
EXTRA INSTRUCTIONAL ASSISTANT
AND PUT MORE STUDENTS IN THERE.
SO THOSE WILL BE DECISIONS WE
HAVE TO MAKE.
YOU KNOW PEOPLE ASK WHAT WILL
HAPPEN IF THE LEVY DOES FAIL,
IT'S JUST MONUMENTAL WHEN YOU
START TO LOOK AT THE NUMBERS OF
STAFF AND WHAT THAT COULD LOOK
LIKE FOR CLASS SIZE AND LOSS OF
PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS BECAUSE
IT'S SUCH A SIGNIFICANT PART OF
OUR BUDGET ANYMORE.
>> AND THE I.E.P., JUST FOR
THOSE WOULD AREN'T AWARE WHAT
THAT MEANS, INDIVIDUALIZED
EDUCATIONAL PLAN.
>> AND IT IS REQUIRED BY THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.
WE HAVE TO SERVE CHILDREN WHO
QUALIFY.
WE DON'T HAVE ANY CHOICE ABOUT
THAT.
WE WOULDN'T WANT NOT TO SERVE
THEM.
IT'S JUST THAT THE STATE AND THE
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AREN'T FULLY
FUNDING THE SPECIAL EDUCATION.
IT'S COMING OUT OF LEVY DOLLARS.
SO THOSE DOLLARS GO AWAY, WE
HAVE TO MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENTS TO
OUR SPECIAL -- TO ALL OF OUR
PROGRAMS ACROSS THE BOARD.
>> I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE, ON A
SCHOOL VISIT RECENTLY, STOP BY
AND TAKE A LOOK AT THE ADAPT
PROGRAM, AND I THOUGHT IT WAS A
REMARKABLE PROGRAM, AND IT WOULD
BE A LOSS TO STUDENTS IN OUR
DISTRICT WHOSE NEEDS ARE BEING
MET THROUGH THAT PROGRAM, AS ANY
PROGRAM OFFERS.
WE REALLY DO NEED TO MAKE SURE
THAT WE ARE OFFERING THE BEST
QUALITY FOR ALL OF OUR STUDENTS
IN ALL OF OUR SCHOOLS.
>> WE ARE UNDER FUNDED ON
SPECIAL EDUCATION BY ABOUT 5 TO
$6 MILLION NOW.
>> THAT'S RIGHT.
>> AND SO THE LEVY NOW IS ABOUT
$60 MILLION.
SO ALMOST 10% OF OUR LEVY GOES
TO ENABLING US TO PROVIDE THE
SPECIAL ED PROGRAMS.
>> AND WHEN YOU SAY OUR LEVIES
ABOUT 60 MILLION, YOU ARE RIGHT.
IT'S ABOUT $61 MILLION AND THEN
WHAT WE GET, BECAUSE WE ARE ABLE
TO PASS OUR LEVY IN SPOKANE IS
WHEN WE DO THAT, WE GET STATE
ASSISTANCE CALLED LEVY
EQUALIZATION, WHICH IS THE WAY
THE STATE KICKS IN SOME EXTRA
DOLLARS.
FOR US, IT'S ABOUT $14 MILLION
TO REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN, THE
PROPERTY TAX BURDEN FOR OUR
LOCAL CITIZENS.
SO THAT TAKES US TO ABOUT 73,
74 MILLION THAT WE -- THAT'S
PART OF OUR BUDGET THAT --
>> AND PROBABLY I SHOULD CHIME
IN ON THIS PART.
THIS YEAR -- SO DR. STOWELL
MENTIONED LOCAL TAXPAYERS PAY
60.
WE GET AN EXTRA 14 FROM THE
STATE, PROVIDED WE PASS OUR
LEVY.
THAT'S THE WAY THE LEVY
EQUALIZATION WORKS FOR THAT
EXTRA 14.
BECAUSE AT THE TIME WE HAD TO
SAY HOW MUCH WE WERE GOING TO
PUT ON THE BALLOT THIS YEAR, AT
THAT TIME, THERE WERE PROPOSALS
TO ELIMINATE THAT LEVY
EQUALIZATION.
WE PUT AN AMOUNT ON THE BALLOT
THAT ASSUMED THAT BASICALLY
TWO-THIRDS OF THE LEVY
EQUALIZATION WOULD BE CUT, AND
IF IT'S NOT CUT, THEN WE'LL
CONTINUE TO GET THE LEVY
EQUALIZATION AND THE AMOUNT THAT
WE WOULD GET FROM THE TAXPAYERS
LOCALLY WOULD CONTINUE TO BE
THAT 60.
BUT THE AMOUNT ON THE BALLOTS,
ABOUT 73, I THINK, WHICH IS SORT
OF AN ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM, IF LEVY
EQUALIZATION WERE TO BE CUT,
THAT COULD BE THE MAXIMUM THAT
WE COULD COLLECT.
>> I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO
POINT OUT IN THAT SCENARIO IS
THAT YOU CAN'T DOUBLE DEEP SORT
OF SPEAK.
IF THE STATE -- DOUBLE DIP SORT
OF SPEAK.
IF THE STATE FUNDS THE
EQUALIZATION, THEN WE ARE NOT
ABLE TO COLLECT THAT MAXIMUM
AMOUNT.
WE WOULD COLLECT LESS FROM OUR
COMMUNITY AND THERE ARE
SAFEGUARDS IN PLACE LEGALLY TO
ALLOW FOR THAT.
IT WAS AN IMPORTANT CONTINGENCY
TO INCLUDE TO MAINTAIN CURRENT
LEVELS OF FUNDING BUT --
>> AND CURRENT PROGRAMS.
>> AND CURRENT PROGRAMS BUT I
THINK FOLKS ARE -- THAT SEEMS TO
BE A PART OF THE CONVERSATION
THAT HAS COME UP WHERE FOLKS
WANT TO KNOW, CAN YOU GET IT
FROM BOTH SOURCES?
AND NO, IT'S ONE OR THE OTHER.
>> AND THE TAX RATE THAT'S
CONFUSED FOLKS TOO.
IT'S AN ESTIMATE.
THAT TAX RATE OF 4.49, FOR
EXAMPLE, IS THE WORST CASE
SCENARIO.
IF THE STATE LEGISLATURE DOESN'T
FUND US AT OUR CURRENT LEVEL,
THAT'S WHAT FOLKS WILL BE
PAYING.
HOPEFULLY AND WE'LL KNOW HERE IN
A FEW POS OR A FEW WEEKS FROM
THE -- FEW MONTHS OR A FEW WEEKS
FROM THE LEGISLATURE THAT THEY
WOULD CONTINUE TO PAY AT THE
LEVEL THAT WE ARE AT AND FOLKS'
TAX RATE WOULD BE BELOW THAT $4
AS IT IS NOW.
>> AT $3.89 RIGHT NOW AND THAT'S
WHAT IT WOULD BE PROJECTED TO BE
IF THE STATE CAME THROUGH WITH
LEVY EQUALIZATION.
>> THE McCLEARY DECISION,
WHICH CAME OUT AFTER WE HAD TO
SET THE LEVY AMOUNT, BECAUSE THE
McCLEARY DECISION WAS SO
CRYSTAL CLEAR AND UNANIMOUS TO
THE LEGISLATURE THAT THEY WERE
UNDER FUNDING THEIR OBLIGATION.
WHAT WE'VE GOTTEN OUT OF OUR
TALKS AT THE LEGISLATORS HAS
BEEN KIND OF AN UNDERSTANDING
THAT THEY ARE MUCH, MUCH LESS
LIKELY TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY
CUTTING LEVY EQUALIZATION IF AT
ALL.
>> AND OUR PROBLEM WAS WE HAD TO
GET THIS ON THE BALLOT FOR
FEBRUARY 14th AND THE
LEGISLATURE DOESN'T FINISH UNTIL
THE FIRST WEEK OF MARCH.
SO WE WERE IN A DIFFICULT
POSITION.
THE BOARD WAS IN A DIFFICULT
POSITION AND HAD TO PUT
SOMETHING ON THE BALLOT WITHOUT
REALLY KNOWING.
>> WE HAVE ONE MORE QUESTION
THAT'S BEEN EMAILED OR TEXT IN,
AND IT IS, WHY HASN'T THE SCHOOL
DISTRICT CHALLENGED THE PROPERTY
TAX EXEMPTION GIVEN TO APARTMENT
COMPLEXES AND CONDOMINIUM
DEVELOPMENTS?
THEY REPRESENT A SIGNIFICANT
LOSS OF REVENUE.
>> WELL, THERE'S ALL KINDS OF
EXEMPTIONS.
I WAS A FORMER TAX LAWYER MYSELF
AND WORKED ON TRYING TO UTILIZE
THOSE EXEMPTIONS FOR MY CLIENTS
AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE IN THOSE
DAYS, BUT, YOU KNOW, THAT'S A --
THAT PARTICULAR EXEMPTION -- I'M
NOT PARTICULARLY SURE WHICH ONE
HE'S TALKING ABOUT.
IT COULD BE THAT THERE ARE
INCENTIVES GIVEN BY, SAY, THE
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS TO DEVELOP
CERTAIN LARGE PROJECTS IN TOWN.
THERE'S OTHER EXEMPTIONS, SACRED
HEART HOSPITAL JUST GOT ANOTHER
RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED HOSPITALS
JUST WON A CASE TO GET A LARGE
PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION THAT
AFFECTED OUR RATES.
SO THERE ARE A NUMBER OF
EXEMPTIONS AND I WOULD SAY ANY
KIND OF -- WHEN YOU HEAR PEOPLE
TALK ABOUT REVENUE ENHANCEMENT
OR IN THE LEGISLATURE, THOSE
PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT CLOSING
A LOT OF THOSE EXEMPTIONS.
YOU CAN CALL THEM EXEMPTIONS OR
INCENTIVES OR YOU CAN CALL THEM
LOOPHOLES, DEPENDING ON WHAT
YOUR POINT OF VIEW IS AT THE
TIME AND SO THAT'S PART OF A BIG
DISCUSSION.
AND WE ARE NOT THE TAX
COLLECTORS.
IT'S THE COUNTY THAT ACTUALLY
GOES AFTER THAT.
AND THEY END UP PAYING, WHAT IS
IT, TWICE A YEAR?
>> YEP.
>> THERE'S ANOTHER EXEMPTION
THAT HE'S NOT REFERRING TO BUT
IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT, THE
EXEMPTION FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
AND DISABLED FOLKS AND AT A
CERTAIN INCOME LEVEL.
SO THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING IF
FOLKS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT, THEY
MIGHT WANT TO CALL THE COUNTY
ASSESSOR ABOUT THAT AS WELL.
ALL RIGHT.
WE'VE HAD A CALLER NOW ASK, WHAT
IS THIS S.T.E.M. THAT I KEEP
HEARING ABOUT OR S.T.E.M.?
>> GOOD QUESTION.
>> WELL, S.T.E.M. STANDS FOR
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING
AND MATHEMATICS AND IT'S THE
IDEA FOR OUR STUDENTS TO BE
ADEQUATELY PREPARED, JUST
ADEQUATELY PREPARED THEY NEED A
STRONG BACKGROUND IN MATH AND
SCIENCE AND IF WE WANT THEM TO
COMPETE, NOT JUST NATIONALLY BUT
INTERNATIONALLY AS THEY WILL
HAVE TO DO, THEN WE WANT THEM TO
HAVE A VERY STRONG BACKGROUND IN
MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE AND SO
AS WE LOOK AT PROGRAMS FOR OUR
STUDENTS K-12, WE ARE BUILDING
IN MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR
STUDENTS TO HAVE RICH MATH AND
SCIENCE EXPERIENCES AND I THINK
OF THE NORTH CENTRAL INSTITUTE
FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY THAT
WE HAVE ALL SEEN WHERE STUDENTS
ARE DOING ACTUAL RESEARCH ON
REAL, REAL DAY-TO-DAY PROBLEMS
THAT EXIST.
THE COLLAPSE OF THE HONEYBEE
COLONIES, SOME OF THOSE THINGS
AND THOSE ARE THE TYPES OF ITEMS
WE ARE TRYING TO PROVIDE FOR OUR
STUDENTS IN SPOKANE SCHOOLS SO
THEY CAN GO ON TO FOUR-YEAR
SCHOOLS AND CONTINUE ON WITH
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.
THAT'S THE GOAL.
>> DIFFERENT PEOPLE USE S.T.E.M.
IN DIFFERENT -- WITH DIFFERENT
MEANINGS SOMETIMES AND SO
SOMETIMES IT'S USED IN THE
CONTEXT THAT DR. STOWELL WAS
TALKING ABOUT FOR PREPARING
PEOPLE FOR GOING ON TO A HIGHER
LEVEL, LIKE PH.D.-TYPE CAREER IN
ONE OF THOSE FIELDS.
OTHER TIMES, YOU SEE THE TERM
USED IN -- FOR PROGRAMS THAT MAY
PREPARE SOMEBODY FOR A
TECHNOLOGICAL-TYPE CAREER THAT
WOULD START SOON AFTER HIGH
SCHOOL.
SO -- SO SOMETIMES THERE'S A
CONFUSION IN THAT, BUT
BASICALLY, SCIENCE,
TECHNOLOGY --
>> THERE'S A PLETHORA OF OPTIONS
FOR SURE.
>> AND ONE OTHER FACT IS WHEN IT
COMES TO S.T.E.M., REGARDLESS OF
HOW IT'S DEFINED OR THOUGHT OF
IT, IT'S HEAVILY SUPPORTED BY
THE COMMUNITY.
OUR LOCAL BUSINESS COMMUNITY
SUPPORTS VARIOUS S.T.E.M.
PROGRAMS, THE LEGISLATURE
PROVIDES SPECIAL FUNDING FOR
S.T.E.M. PROGRAMS.
I'M NOT CERTAIN WHAT IT'S LIKE
AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, BUT IT'S
IMPORTANT AND IT'S SUPPORTED BY
OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY.
>> WHEN WE TALK ABOUT OUR GOALS
IN TERMS OF OUR STUDENTS BEING
COLLEGE AND CAREER READY, THE S.
, THES.T.E.M. LINES UP WITH THAD
PUTS OUR STUDENTS IN A POSITION
TO BE WELL-SUITED FOUR-YEAR
UNIVERSITY OR TWO-YEAR PROGRAM
OR VOCATIONAL PROGRAM SUPPORTING
OUR MEDICAL COMMUNITY.
>> WE HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION
THAT'S BEEN PHONED IN.
I READ IN THE PAPER TODAY THAT
THE DISTRICT WANTS TO LIMIT THE
PUBLIC DISCLOSURE LAW.
WHY?
>> THAT'S INACCURATE.
THAT'S NOT WHAT --
>> I WOULD SAY IF ANYTHING, OUR
INTENT IS TO MAINTAIN FULL
TRANSPARENCY.
ALL THE WHILE, SUPPORTING STAFF
AT LEVELS WHERE THEY CAN RESPOND
TO THE PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS
THAT WE ARE SEEING.
>> RIGHT.
THE REQUESTS THAT WE MADE TO THE
LEGISLATURE DEALT WITH THE
UNFUNDED MANDATE PART OF THE
ACT.
WE DIDN'T ASK FOR ANY EXEMPTIONS
FROM DISCLOSURE.
IT WAS EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.
IT WAS AS DENA JUST EXPLAINED IN
ORDER TO BE ABLE TO MAKE
DISCLOSURE AND COMPLY WITH THE
LAW, IT'S A COMPLEX PROCESS
OFTEN.
JUST THINK IN TERMS OF WHAT DOES
A SCHOOL DISTRICT DO?
IT DEALS WITH, IN OUR CASE,
28,000 STUDENTS, SEVERAL
THOUSAND TEACHERS AND OTHER
EMPLOYEES AND WHEN PEOPLE MAKE
RECORDS REQUESTS, THEY ARE
ASKING ABOUT TYPICALLY THOSE
RECORDS ON THOSE PEOPLE.
WELL, THERE ARE MANY LAWS THAT
AFFECT THE PRIVACY OF THOSE
PEOPLE.
SO WHEN YOU MAKE A RECORDS
REQUEST, SOMEONE HAS TO REVIEW
THE RECORDS.
SOMEONE HAS TO DETERMINE WHETHER
THE DISCLOSURE WE ARE ABOUT TO
MAKE COMPLIES WITH THE LAW.
THE WAY THE LAW IS WRITTEN RIGHT
NOW, WE DON'T GET COMPENSATED
FOR ALL OF THE EXPENSES THAT GO
INTO THAT PROCESS.
SO ALL WE HAVE ASKED THE
LEGISLATURE TO DO IS PROVIDE US
WITH THE MECHANISM TO RECOUP OUR
EXPENSES DURING THAT PROCESS,
NOT TO PREVENT THE PROCESS FROM
GOING ON.
>> I THINK THAT'S A GREAT
DESCRIPTION.
THIS YEAR, JUST A ROUGH ESTIMATE
FOR US, IT COST A MINIMUM OF
$70,000 BEING SPENT.
WE ARE LOOKING AT HAVING TO HIRE
AN INDIVIDUAL JUST TO DO RECORDS
REQUESTS.
>> IT'S NOT COMING FROM YOUR
TRADITIONAL MEDIA.
OUR INCREASES HAVE GONE UP.
WE HAVE TRIPLED OUR RECORDS
REQUESTS IN THE LAST THREE YEARS
AND IT'S BASICALLY DUE TO ONE OR
TWO SELF-STYLED ACTIVISTS THAT
ARE USING THE SYSTEM.
AND THE INITIAL BACK IN 1976,
PROVIDED FOR 15 CENTS
RECOUPMENT.
NOW YOU DON'T EVEN NEED TO GET
PAPER.
THERE'S NO MONEY THAT COMES BACK
TO RECOUP THE COSTS.
>> BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WE ARE
ALMOST OUT OF TIME.
I WANT TO REMIND FOLKS TO VOTE
BY THE END OF THE DAY
FEBRUARY 14th.
REALLY APPRECIATE EVERYONE'S
INTEREST IN THIS TOPIC, AND
APPRECIATE FOLKS JOINING US
TONIGHT.
WE LOOK FORWARD TO ANOTHER
COUPLE OF MONTHS WITH OUR
SUPERINTENDENT DR. STOWELL AT
THE HELM, AND LOOK FORWARD TO A
COUPLE MORE SHOWS.
SO DO TUNE IN AGAIN AND THANK
YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US
HERE THIS EVENING.