May 31 - Meeting Information

May 31, 2017

Agenda

  1. Welcome and review minutes from last meeting
    • Jake Kuper
  2. Capital Levy:  Technology group discussion and vote
    • Kathy Cropp, Diana Eggers and Technical Team
  3. Total Package:  Levy rates and package structure
    • Jake Kuper and Technical Team
  4. Next steps and potential closure
    • Technical Team

Mini Summary


Meeting Minutes

Levy Development Meeting 5/31/17 - Unofficial Minutes

The meeting convened at 5:35 pm

ATTENDANCE

In attendance: Marta Mikkelsen, Jackie Mueller, Martin Buckley, Jennifer Harrington, Joseph Jun, Sarah Manningsmith, Rory Mullen, Carrie Hipsher, Jeff Jarrard, George Metcalf, Amita Mathur, Fred Rundle, Kim Clarke, Rachel Auffant, Kimberly Montague, Andrew Pedersen, Lori Riskin, Jonathan Koshar ,Jonathan Grudin, Dawn Peschek, Alicia Veevaert, Leslie Lederman, Jane Harris, Christy Otley, Casey Stookey, Michelle Caponigro, Seth Adams, Sena Camarata, Carrie Reckling, Doug Wolff, Laila Collins, Dana Rundle, Doug Jones, Susie Kelly, John Gorow, Jody Mull, Don Burnett, Damon Muller, Nick Croppi, Chirasmita Kompella, Blake Johnson, Shriya Kurpad, Aimee Iverson

Mr. Turney asked the Committee to review the minutes from the previous meetings. 

A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as presented; the motion was unanimously approved.

PROJECTED TAX RATES

Jake Kuper began the discussion on tax rate or taxes (revenue or investment); he noted the Committee could recommend two different tax rates to the Superintendent.

He directed the Committee to the tax rate documents, Projected Tax Rates for 2019-22 Levy @ 24.97% and Projected Tax Rates for 2019-22 Levy @ 28.97%. The charts include the Assessed Valuation change year-over-year from 2003 to 2018 with modeling after. Assessed value (AV) means the year-over-year change of the District’s 110 sq miles of assessed valuation (all real and personal property that can be taxed). For example in 1998, there was $6.19B in assessed valuation in the system; in 2017, it is $26.3B.  Mr. Kuper said that due to the way the county assessor reports assessed valuation, the District must “guess” what AV will be a year in advance; the District levies taxes in November but does not have the assessed values until February. He added that historically we model a 5-7% increase (for example, 2018 shows a 7% increase). As noted on the charts, the only years of AV decline were in 2010-2013.

The County historically has a 3-year running average on assessed valuation however; the assessor did a one-time adjustment during the recession. This caused the rate to jump up dramatically (2014) even though we tax across the aggregate (a flat amount of taxes). The rate is the result of the aggregate taxes.

Further explaining the columns on the chart, Mr. Kuper noted that bond levy is how much we pay in debt service for construction (similar to principal and interest on mortgage). Also included on the chart were the Projected Levy Rates on the M&O Levy, the Transportation Levy, the Tech Levy and the Capital Levy. The rates are broken down by year; for example, in 2017 the combined rate was 4.06 per thousand.

This model projects 7% AV growth which Mr. Kuper believes is accurate given appreciation and the addition of new housing and commercial property; he acknowledged it is more difficult to predict the out years. It is assumed the District will continue to grow in assessed valuation as well as the addition of property to the tax rolls.

This chart shows the resulting tax rate if the levy authority is lowered to 24.97% which is the statutory level we had pre-recession; there is talk from the Legislature that this rate could go lower. Mr. Kuper said the charts reflect the best data we have and assumes full adoption of the Springboards by Committee; the resulting tax rate would be 3.96 per thousand if the levy rate were lowered by the Legislature.

A Committee member asked what the rationale was for lowering the tax rate. Mr. Kuper responded that the tax rate would be lower only if the Legislature lowers our taxing authority that is currently at 28.97%. Based on assessed valuation projects, he projects that a higher levy authority (28.97%) would increase taxes by .10 per 1000. The Legislature extended the “levy cliff” for one year (2018); however, this levy would run from 2019-2022. This makes the Committee’s decisions more difficult because we don’t know if our authority will remain at 28.97% or if it will be 24.97% or lower, Mr. Kuper said.

A Committee member asked for some history on the levy authority. Mr. Kuper explained that in 2011 the Legislature decided that school districts could increase their levy authority to collect more taxes locally. Because the state was not collecting as much in revenue, the Legislature allowed school districts to “tax themselves”. As a result, the District was able to increase its levy authority by 4% with this decision. In the meantime, class size reduction and educator COLA increase measures have passed that are not funded by the state. Mr. Kuper noted as a result the District has lost $16M in revenue; we have gotten back about half in local levy authority and some was made up through reductions and raising class sizes.

Mr. Kuper stated that he is not proposing lowering taxes, but rather keeping rates stable. However, he acknowledged that an estimated increase of 10 cents per thousand may be considered by others to be an increase. Ultimately, this is a decision for the Superintendent, Board and community to make when it comes time for an election.

A Committee member summarized that the District has been able to tax itself at the higher rate (28.97%) although this rate should have gone down to 24.97% in 2018; that is why two charts have been provided for the Committee to review. Because the Legislature has been unable to decide how to “fully fund” education we must look at both levy rate options. Mr. Kuper added that in the late 70’s (when the State was previously sued for lack of funding), the Levy Lid dropped to 10%; over time when the State was not funding education sufficiently, they raised the ability for districts to tax until it reached the level it is today. Mr. Kuper said that although the State may lower the rate again, and provide more state funds, we do not want to undervalue our ability to tax either. Historically, if we are able to tax at 28.97%, the District wants to collect every dime it can to compete with other districts who can tax more.

A Committee member asked what happens if there was variance in assessed values both up and down. Mr. Kuper answered that the District cannot collect any more money, but the rate can change because it is computed on assessed valuation and the aggregate amount of taxes we levy.  For example, if housing values went down, the tax rate would go up to meet the aggregate value; if homes appreciate, the rate goes down. He reminded the Committee that while some districts tax per thousand, we are only allowed to tax on an aggregate amount. OSPI determines annually the levy base or percentage we can tax and takes into account federal and state revenue and “as if” or ghost money from the Legislature. Mr. Kuper said that once the electorate approves those amounts, we are capped even if the levy authority goes up; in other words, the rate is not capped but the dollar amount is capped.

Mr. Kuper then presented the graph, Projected Tax Rates: 2019-22 Levy Measures showing the delta between the two proposed levy amounts.

A Committee member noted that there were different dollar amounts presented for the M&O levy on the tax rate charts. Mr. Kuper responded that they model the full cost of Springboard proposals but the difference in M&O amounts is determined by the state legislature based on statutory authority. While the M&O levy amounts fund the same things, we may collect less under certain Legislative conditions. For example, if the State provides more money, they would lower our local taxing authority; or they may give us a little more money and keep our authority higher. These are just two scenarios we have to work with. 

A Committee member commented that the rate is what a taxpayer looks at to determine if their taxes are going up; regardless of whether home values are going up, we are only collecting “X amount”. Mr. Kuper responded that appreciation is good but there are down sides for homeowners if rates continue to rise. He noted that the District’s total pie is growing which means as more new homes and commercial properties come on board, we don’t have to rely just on appreciation. A Committee member asked if the Legislature changes its mind on levy authority, would voters have to go back to approve a different rate. Mr. Kuper said we would not have to do that if we approve both options. Although the Legislature allows districts to run another M&O Levy, it would be a community/Board decision to go back to voters.

A Committee member asked if we voted to approve the 28.97% levy rate but the Legislature decided to lower the levy authority in 2020 to 12%, are we grandfathered at this higher rate. Mr. Kuper answered no, that the District is grandfathered only at 24.97%; other districts are grandfathered at higher rates (Bellevue - 34.33%, Mercer Island - 37%. He commented that there may be an opportunity to litigate grandfathered rates in the educational funding system. 

A member asked if the Committee tried to fund everything on the Springboard proposals, and the tax rate became too high based on the Legislature’s decisions, what items would fall off the lists. Mr. Kuper answered that there is no regulatory cap on the Capital or Transportation levies; those amounts cannot be changed by the Legislature. The cap would only apply to operation dollars (M&O) which of course are the funds most needed to fund teacher and staff salaries.

A Committee member asked if our levy authority was reduced and our tax rate falls, would there be an opportunity to increase the Tech and Capital levies to keep our tax rate stable. Mr. Kuper responded that this may require the Committee to reconvene to make a decision on a smaller package. He acknowledged that it could be difficult to bring an entire group back. The Board and Superintendent can and have changed levy packages in the past. The Board is pragmatic about maximizing the District’s levy authority.

Technology Springboard Proposal

Mr. Kuper introduced Kathy Cropp, Director of Technology Infrastructure, and Diana Eggers, Director of Instructional Technology. He acknowledged the Committee’s previous discussion regarding the lack of District planning for One-to-One computing; he added there was further discussion in Cabinet about the District’s plans for devices and student use. The current proposal does not fund One-to-One but makes inroads for all student access. Mr. Kuper said that the District likes to be data driven but we “like not to do things because other districts do them”.

Ms. Eggers and Ms. Cropp then presented the 2019-2022 Capital Levy: Tech Springboard Proposal. Ms. Eggers said that there was a need to explain the intent of IT Infrastructure and Educational Technology related to spending tech funds. She noted that in the last meeting, the Committee wanted to know the real intent of dollars requested on the tech proposal. From the educational side the goal is to create a rich digital environment for students; from the infrastructure side we look at reliability for teachers doing instruction, creating a safe environment, and supporting our business processes in a robust manner. Ms. Eggers noted that the two go hand-in-hand; if infrastructure is slow or not supportive, staff will be less likely to use technology as intended.

Directing the Committee to the Student Computer Ratios sheet, Ms. Eggers noted as of April 1, 2016 there were 18,540 enrolled students and there were 13,242 computers provided by District. Ms. Cropp said the number of computers that are District-purchased are designated as classroom or student devices or in a laptop cart. Teacher stations, office staff computers and IPads are not included in this total. Ms. Cropp said the number is based on the OSPI definition of “instructional” which means the machine must be used at least 50% of the time by students. She noted that in 2016-17 there are 4500 IPads in the District. Ms. Cropp added that all of the devices in these counts are 5 years old or less; computer replacements are every 5 years for computer devices (desktop and laptops, but not IPads). Buildings have the option of keeping laptops in the system once they are replaced to extend their use and these are included in the totals.

A Committee member asked how many of devices are Ink-ready. Ms. Eggers responded she was not sure of the total number of Surfaces or IPad’s in the District. Ms. Cropp added that there were a few IPad Pro’s and Inspiron tablets in the system, but not many due to the cost.

A Committee member asked why some of the buildings had higher computer ratios than others. Mr. Kuper responded that Challenger is skewed because it currently has Grand Ridge’s kindergarteners which impacts its enrollment for one year. Ms. Cropp noted that some of the numbers are skewed for several reasons: initial purchasing; the high schools want different things because teachers deliver instruction differently by building; purchases can be more device-intensive than others; PTA technology purchases. The Issaquah Scholar (Start Strong) program provides some high school students a computer for the duration of their high school year. Ms. Eggers noted that the District offers an ITP program for teachers which is an intensive summer program in technological instruction; upon completion teachers receive devices for their classrooms and these numbers can impact building counts. Some schools historically send more teachers to ITP which builds up their hardware numbers. Mr. Kuper noted that the program has been in existence for 17 years and the District was one of the first to have a “Pay for Hardware” program.

A Committee member asked how many of the computers that are distributed based on the OSPI definition are integral to what students are doing day-to-day in the classroom. Mr. Kuper responded that this question is tied to the conversation of One-to-One computing; if we don’t change how teachers teach, these computers can end up being “glorified EReaders”. Ms. Eggers added that the majority of work done on the computers is related to curriculum; it is based on what the teacher is teaching in the classroom and computers in the lab also support classroom instruction.

A Committee member asked how many hours a day computers were in use. While this would be difficult to determine, Ms. Eggers said that the District has been working to locate technology closer to points of instruction; for example, desktops in computer labs have been reallocated to laptops and located in spaces closer to classrooms. Ms. Cropp added that lab-to-classroom conversions have been popular with the schools as they can shift from desktops to laptops.

A Committee member asked for the target ratio for computers in a new high school or middle school. Ms. Cropp answered that there are several factors that affect the ratio as ITP teachers may bring equipment with them from other buildings. The standard classroom package however is one teacher station and four student desktop computers.

A Committee member acknowledged that pedagogy is important for teachers to use the technology provided. He noted however that the concept of One-to-One computing means that students are issued the same device that they can take with them wherever they go; as a result, teachers know students can do digital work at home because they all have a device. Ms. Cropp mentioned that in this District, most families have computers and the District can provide computers to families in need. The Committee member stated that the following Districts would be going to One-to-One computing in the next year: Bellingham, Edmonds, Puyallup, and Everett; he added that this District will be behind others in 5 years if we don’t get started now. He said there is strong educational value to this program and asked if the District could find teachers to pilot this program.

Ms. Cropp felt that the District is well-positioned for a One-to-One system with our change from desktop to laptops in recent years. She added that the District use to be heavily desktop oriented; currently we are more than 50% laptop to desktop, and are pushing more laptops into the system during the replacement cycle. Mr. Kuper added that the District has piloted some One-to-One systems through the Start Strong program, Science-Tech magnet programs and Gibson Ek. He said that the District wants to make sure that by the end of this levy, all students who need access to computers can get them; however, we have not figured out a system to do so without flagging students. The District will continue to pilot more One-to-One programs and look at how we procure to drive more devices to student levels. Mr. Kuper agreed that there are advantages to One-to-One, but if he had to prioritize funding, it would be toward the District’s operating fund. In addition he noted that One-to-One will require work with the teachers. The program would cost $6-7M to roll out with the right staffing and we would want it to impact instruction. With a change to our procurement and pilot programs, the District believes it could be at One-to-One by the end of this levy if data warrants it. Mr. Kuper commented that technology evolves and cited the purchase of student response systems (Eggs) to get immediate feedback in classrooms; the devices do not get used and are expensive. At one time, Activeboards were popular but now that technology is old. Mr. Kuper stated that the District must be thoughtful in how it invests tax money; he feels the District has many devices that can be redeployed to students who need them without implementing One-to-One in this levy.

Ms. Eggers pointed to the Staff funding sheet that shows how staff funds are allocated in the levy. In terms of new trends in technology, she noted that the District just purchased 40 sets of Google Expeditions for teachers who want to take students on a Google Expedition. She called the units “Viewmasters on Steroids” that provide a full immersive experience; the student wears the device and the teacher leads them on an expedition (tour of the moon, underwater, historical sites); it is a virtual field trip. She noted that the technology was tested in several classrooms last year prior to the purchase of the devices.

A Committee member noted that based on his research, his building does not want more devices but rather more people to help teachers learn how to use technology and keep equipment working; he asked if the District had enough staff to meet this demand. Ms. Eggers answered that the levy will expand the Professional Development staff (TOSA’s) from 4.5 to 6 staff. She added that each building has an Ed Tech Lead who receives a stipend to assist their colleagues in testing new equipment, share professional development training and support tech instruction; the buildings also have a tech specialist who makes sure that equipment is working. Ms. Cropp added that there are other means of support such as the “Connect Expert” at each building, who assists teachers with their web sites. Ms. Eggers agreed that you need professional development for teachers or the technology sits.

A Committee member asked what the staffing numbers meant in terms of people; is it an increase over previous years and is the increase due to inflation. Mr. Kuper answered that the levy adds another 1.5 staff at Central Admin and frontloads a slight increase in FTE for building growth. There will be four new buildings by the end of this levy cycle and each will need an appropriate level of staffing; there are also inflationary estimates on wages. Ms. Eggers reminded the Committee that this levy fully funds tech staff which is different than previous levies. Ms. Cropp noted the budgeted increase includes 6 tech specialists and 1.5 staff at Admin. Staff would roll in depending on when the new buildings open which may be in 2020-2021.

A Committee member asked if current staffing is sufficient. Mr. Kuper answered that current staffing is adequate; Ms. Cropp added that three more tech specialists were recently hired to support laptop related summer work. Mr. Kuper noted that the staffing numbers would not support a One-to-One implementation; One-to-One increases summer work to reimage thousands of laptops, a check-in/check-out process and repair work.

A Committee member commented that even with an additional 1.5 in staffing, six TOSAs did not seem adequate to support each school and classroom in meeting tech needs for the 21st century. Ms. Eggers explained that Ed Tech is part of the Teaching and Learning Department. In addition to the Tech TOSAs there are also 15 content-area TOSA’s who specialize in curriculum (science, writing, math, etc.). The Ed Tech TOSAs work support content-area staff with technology; in turn, these TOSAs become technology trainers while supporting teachers in various areas of curriculum. Mr. Kuper said that every curriculum adoption will have a technology component that may or may not be online; technology must work alongside the curriculum with the integration of hardware or software. He added that this puts weight on the system because each vendor has a different way to authenticate accounts. Ms. Eggers explained that they are working on creating a central location for online access to curriculum materials for parents, students, and teachers. Previously, students had multiple logins and passwords to access various curriculum. The District recently adopted a system (Classlink) which allows just one username and password for access to multiple publishing sites. Mr. Kuper noted that this first attempt to single sign-in is part of getting to One-to-One computing; there must be a seamless way for staff and students to access devices and we are working on this behind the scenes.

A Committee member asked the building principals on the Committee if they felt they had enough tech support. An elementary principal answered that computers in the classrooms are dedicated to those classrooms. She would classify them as 100% in use although technically not every minute of the day. Younger students still need paper and pencil as well as other interactions; however, there is a rotation of learning by grade level that goes on daily in each room as teachers lead students through reading, math, and science using technology.  She added that classrooms typically have up to six computers per room and there are carts for teachers to checkout for special projects that creates One-to-One computing on demand. She agreed without training, it would be futile to put dollars into One-to-One; she said there is a strong infrastructure of support and teachers do access TOSAs. In her opinion, the buildings are in a good place and have what they need from Admin, building tech specialists and online support.

The Committee moved to the Network component of the proposal. Ms. Cropp said this includes all hardware and software components that maintain the infrastructure, support the server, telecommunications, some email, backup system, anti-virus programs, the District website, video security, and ongoing work to upgrade cabling infrastructure.

A Committee member asked what the District pays for internet connection. Ms. Cropp said that the K20 network is our internet provider and we pay a relativity low fee that is billed as a utility expense on the operating side. Mr. Kuper said it is only about $50K per year and it is free to bump up bandwidth. Mr. Kuper said that the District must show a sufficient “load” before bandwidth can be increased; it is a fixed cap up to 10GB and the District is currently at 1-2GB.

Ms. Eggers noted the list of items in the Springboard proposal that are dedicated for the schools. Her goal is to bring technology closer to the point of eliminating any barriers for students to access computers. As noted before, this means breaking down the lab model and bringing devices to classrooms via laptops. Another goal is to maximize the use of technology within content areas. Ms. Eggers noted that we currently have an Ed Tech TOSA who splits time as a Social Studies TOSA; in this role, she looks for innovative ways to embed technology in social studies curriculum. For example, some classes have “Skype in the Classroom”; eventually Ms. Eggers hopes elementary students will be able to talk to each other across the District, state and beyond.

A Committee member asked what new items were included in the proposal For Schools. Ms. Cropp answered that the District is making $200K annually in repairs and replacement of old AV systems in libraries, gyms, and theaters. The Audio/Visual/Theater Upgrades request alleviates the need to include this under critical repairs; it has also been scaled back to meet financial goals. Ms. Morgan noted the request for WiFi Cams for school buses. She explained that while the District has cameras on buses they must be physically removed to view content; WiFi Cams allow transportation staff to download info from the camera onto a computer to view. Mr. Kuper added that while this sounds like a luxury, it is a very valuable tool when a parent calls to check on a student; it also helps with response times related to student safety and misconduct.

A Committee member asked if this AV request rolled into the projector work requested on the critical repairs list. Ms. Cropp answered that this was separate. Mr. Kuper answered that if there is a large AV request that is out of cycle (not addressed in a levy or bond) we have to provide funding centrally or by building; items are replaced but funding must go across the system. While the amount requested in the proposal is a quarter of what is actually needed, Ms. Cropp said this will help with planning. A Committee member said related to the replacement cycle, it would help to know age of devices as the prices keep going down. Ms. Cropp responded that this year’s student laptop is $463; she added that Netbooks were an inexpensive option but were slow and useless and kids didn’t want to use them. Mr. Kuper said the age of the devices is apparent given the variation in the replacement cycle dollars. He noted that purchases of equipment for new buildings are front-loaded in this request; this levy also assumes that new equipment will be funded out of the bond when we open new buildings in 2021-22.

Ms. Eggers commented on Professional Development (PD) requests in the Springboard proposal. She said the District aligns PD with the ISTE (International Society of Technology in Education) standards for teachers and students. Under PD, the District focuses on a digital learning environment where students can use a variety of technologies and explore their implications in the classroom. Some of these technologies include Google Expeditions, Sphero robots, and Code.org training for Tech TOSA’s. In addition, the District is a founding district for TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in School); middle schools are adding more Project Lead-the-Way classes; and there is an effort to push more computer science to elementary level.

A Committee member asked what is involved in the maintenance of teacher websites. Mr. Kuper answered that this is a contractual piece; the District is one of the first districts to mandate teacher websites and pay for software and staff time to keep sites up-to-date. The teacher’s contract outlines what is required on their website and certificated staff are compensated for 25 hours annually. A Committee member asked about the new request on the proposal for Training – Tech Staff. Ms. Cropp responded that it was an annual allocation for central tech staff to stay current in technology.

The Committee took a short break and reconvened at 7:20 pm.

Mr. Kuper asked that the Committee take action on the Technology Springboard. He added that there would be a few other items to revisit before looking at the final levy package.

A Committee member asked if the District knew the number of students without internet access at home. Mr. Kuper responded that 2% do not have internet. The Issaquah Schools Foundation reaches out to these families and offers a $10 per month Comcast program for internet access. He said that it is hard for the District to provide this service due to accountability and optics. Given our demographics and access rate, Mr. Kuper did not see this as an essential area for funding. The District makes accommodations at the building level and can support students who do not have internet.

A Committee member stated that there is a great deal of expertise available from local tech companies; while we seem to be moving ahead in a discussion on technology there does not seem to be time to shape a decision. If there is a forum for discussion, she felt we should tap into this expertise and invite others to participate. Mr. Kuper noted that the District has great relationships with these local companies but they are still vendors. The District must walk a fine line in welcoming their participation but remembering they are selling product. The District does look to Microsoft and other companies as technology becomes more complex; however, the District must be careful with relationships as a matter of public transparency. Mr. Kuper added that there could be a forum but the District could not commit to a date.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the Technology Springboard proposal as presented. Mr. Kuper reminded the group that incremental changes can be made before the final package is approved.

A Committee member commented that while new technology programs were important, it was important that the overall tax rate did not change in order to get this levy approved; adding new laptops for every student could make voters unhappy. She asked Committee members in favor of One-to-One computing if they felt comfortable that the District was getting closer to this philosophy. In response, another member answered that while he did not think the District was working on it strongly, he hoped the District would listen to Committee feedback regarding One-to-One and take it into account as it moves forward in the decision process.

Mr. Kuper noted that the Committee discussion mirrored conversations among the Superintendent’s Cabinet. The District is at a tipping point; we have an affluent community where most people have access to internet and personal devices, and our test scores are high. We would be doing One-to-One for different reasons than most districts with less technology access and high poverty. The District would need to enhance its instructional environment, change pedagogy among teachers, develop a single sign-on system, and provide something greater than E-readers. Mr. Kuper said his first priority has been to take pressure off operating dollars; therefore, One-to-One is not as high a priority due to the uncertainty in the Legislature. He acknowledged that if our levy authority was cut dramatically, there may be a conversation about adding more into the levy; conversely if our levy authority goes up there may need to be a different conversation. He reiterated that as we get closer to the end of the legislative session the Board will review the levy request and take action. Mr. Kuper said that these committee conversations greatly influence how the District sets policy; it is one of the few opportunities that the Admin and Board hear from constituents in a less formal setting.

A Committee member commented that from a financial perspective he could understand the District vision and plan to maintain a stable tax rate. While he understood what the District wants to achieve in Critical Repairs or construction,  he felt there was still something missing on tech side. He asked if the District could be missing something that could change student success in the next 3-10 years. Mr. Kuper said the tech proposal is an articulation of our need but noted that technology changes throughout the levy cycle. The District can move and adapt to current technologies but there is still debate about how much tech should be implemented in the classroom as well as when and at what grade level.

A Committee member said it would be helpful to have talking points for selling the package to voters. Mr. Kuper responded that there would be materials provided and that it would demonstrate that the District is thoughtful in its spending.

A middle school principal commented that while he was a proponent of One-to-One computing, he felt this tech proposal was sufficient for the next 5 years. He would not want more tech in his building at this time; he felt this proposal is fiscally responsible and allows us to strengthen the foundation for conversations on where One-to-One can be in this District in 5-10 years. Currently, his teaching staff can bring laptops into their classrooms anytime, they have access to tech TOSAs for training, and they have access to more laptops and current technology. However, he could not fully implement One-to-One with his staff in the next 5 years even if he had the computers as more training and preparation is necessary. In his opinion, this is a fiscally responsible recommendation.

A Committee member commented that parents would want full buy-in from teaching staff if One-to-One computing was implemented. Mr. Kuper added that staff in the Bellevue School District said there were many factors involved planning for One-to-One: implementing a pilot program, planning for summer work, creating a check-in/check-out process, and managing classroom sets. He had some optimism that the reductions in price for tech devices would help. Another Committee member felt that the District was well positioned to move forward with One-to-One with this levy. Mercer Island for example continues to struggle with vendors and online texts. In his opinion, technology is not keeping District students from getting a great education. He said that other districts would be able to share their stories (good and bad) on One-to-One. He also noted that this District is far ahead of many districts in other areas including elementary science curriculum (5th year).

Mr. Kuper asked the Committee to vote on the motion as presented. By a show of hands, the motion to approve a 4-year $53.9M Tech Levy was approved unanimously.

Mr. Kuper noted that the Maple Hills representative had asked about an original request made by the building for additional parking. Mr. Crawford responded that he reviewed the original request and had discussed it with the school staff. The request included additional parking as well as separating the parent drop-off from bus traffic. He noted that the current configuration was in place since the original building construction. He agreed there are some areas for improvement in the parking and traffic flow. He originally designated the project as a Priority 0 on the Critical Repairs list because the District has a bond fund project at Maple Hills that will include this work. Mr. Crawford said that there is a way to separate the bus traffic from the parent drop-off and the work could be started earlier than the actual bond project addition.

Mr. Kuper said that a request had been made to add Maywood field lighting to the Critical Repairs list. As noted at the previous meeting, lighting fields at IMS and PLMS were included on the list as contractors are currently mobilized at both sites and the projects were included in previous SEPA documentation. Mr. Crawford added that the District had made provisions for infrastructure, transformer power, stubbing and lighting controls at those sites. However, while Maywood has a turf field there were no provisions to light the field in earlier construction and there is currently no infrastructure for lighting. The other projects are estimated at $250K but the Maywood project would need $350K - $450K due to the additional expense of bringing electrical to field. Mr. Crawford noted that if the project was added, there would be one lit middle school field on the south end, on the Plateau and in the core. He said that the District would need to go thru a planning and public process with approval from the County.

Mr. Kuper said that the south end had $150M in Capital funds in the previous bond cycle; he felt the equity conversation is good and having regional lighting is beneficial. Mr. Kuper said that the recommendation should be voted on as an alternate to present to the Superintendent as it requires more research on its effect on tax rate. He also said that this conversation is contingent on political discussion with the Board and adjacent neighbors; the decision to light the PLMS and IMS fields was made because they were included in previous planning and permitting process and their proximity to adjacent neighbors.

The Maywood principal noted that club sports currently bring portable lights with them to the Maywood field and there are no known complaints from neighbors. The portable lights also do not require permits. The Pacific Cascade representative noted that a request for field lighting was not on the list but the PCMS principal was not interested in adding them. Mr. Kuper commented that whenever we review our capital systems, standards evolve; it may take a few cycles and political discussions to approve lighting on other fields. From a regional access and equity standpoint, he felt it is a good idea to add the Maywood lighting proposal. Mr. Kuper also said that adding the request as an alternate sends a good signal to the community and Board of Committee approval and provides sufficient info to other stakeholders.

A motion was made and seconded to add Maywood field lighting with a $400K placeholder as an alternate for consideration to the Capital Levy. By a show of hands the motion was approved unanimously.

Mr. Kuper introduced Committee member George Metcalf who asked to speak to the group about funding for additional Science Tech programs throughout the system. Mr. Kuper noted that action on the request would be outside the Committee’s charter but he wanted to give Mr. Metcalf the opportunity to speak to the group.

Mr. Metcalf said that he is looking for ways to build capacity for the District’s Science Tech Program which is currently located at just three elementary schools (Briarwood, Clark and Cascade Ridge). The District currently has 9000 elementary students with 15 elementary schools serving a growing population. The current Sci-Tech program serves approximately 50 kids per program site; this means less than 2% of District elementary students have access to the Sci-Tech program. He added that this is a lottery based program and not merit based. As a result there is always a waiting list; 25 students are selected each year with some students on the waiting list for up to two years with no guarantee they will get in the program. Mr. Metcalf is proposing that the District assign capital to create new Sci-Tech classrooms. The current Sci-Tech programs use two classrooms as well as a Computer or Video Lab. He would like to see the District add one Sci-Tech school in each region (Plateau, Core, South end). There was no allocation in the 2016 Bond to add this capacity and there is none in this levy. Mr. Metcalf believes that as the District grows we will serve a smaller percentage of students in Sci-Tech; we have proven that we have more demand than we have capacity. Mr. Metcalf asked that funds be allocated for this purpose just the same as they may be allocated for Maywood field lights. He did not have a cost estimate to fund this request but felt it an important item to present for discussion.

Another Committee member agreed that Sci-Tech is important but personally she is more interested in language immersion programs like other districts offer. She added that parents who have students enrolled in these programs must provide transportation which is difficult with siblings attending different schools. Other districts are able to transport students to these special programs. If we are going to add capacity for a program such as this, it requires a larger discussion around all types of District programs.

Mr. Kuper acknowledged that program placement is difficult because of growth. Historically when we add elementaries we do not earmark them for specific programs as we mainly need new construction for growth. The 2016 Bond has 36 classrooms being provided by additions and remodels, 64 in new elementary classrooms (2 schools), a high school built for 1500, and a 6th middle school adding 900 seats.  What happens in the interim is we may be able to have conversations about adding programs such as language immersion, Sci Tech, Merlin, or a 7th period. These discussions take place when the District has capacity and opportunity and intersect with boundary changes and new construction. In his opinion, this discussion may be premature and outside the purview of this Committee. This is also true for boundary change discussions; program placement involves logistics and reasons for how programs are placed beyond neighborhood discussions. The District is at a disadvantage for adding capacity because of growth and geographic limitations compared to neighbors like Bellevue that have excess capacity and a small geographical area. Mr. Kuper noted that there are different life cycles in the District; Issaquah used to be a small rural district but that has changed. Mr. Kuper is glad to provide forums for these discussions, but there may also be times to discuss eliminating programs which can be more difficult.  Program conversations are broad and must involve educational staff and the Board.

A Committee member asked where these conversations should be held. Mr. Kuper responded that programs may be created out of legal necessity (Merlin, ELL); in other cases, they may grow from building level to district-wide (TEALS). Ultimately, these discussions are up to the Board and Superintendent who are the decision makers for educational programs. From an operational standpoint, the District must be able to finance and equip buildings to manage these programs; it may take a few years to determine how to execute a program so it doesn’t fall flat. Often these discussions can happen at board meetings; Principals have influence with Admin staff as they interact with parents and students and have a good pulse on community. Mr. Kuper cautioned that the District should not follow what other districts are doing without proper research and discussion.

Moving back to the levy discussion, Mr. Kuper asked the Committee to take action on both tax rates because he doesn’t know what the M&O authority will be. It may be the case that we have to report back to the Committee electronically or at a Board meeting that our projections were incorrect. The Transportation, Capital and Technology proposals are solid recommendations; the M&O is a moving part in the total combined rate. He is showing two separate M&O amounts of 24.97% and 28.97% and including the Maywood lights in the calculation.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the total combined levy rate as presented on the Springboard proposal. The Maywood lighting proposal would be included as part of the proposal although the Board and Superintendent would decide if it would remain in the package. As there was no further discussion, the Committee approved the motion.

Mr. Kuper thanked the Committee for their work. Superintendent Thiele added that he appreciated the discussion on One-to-One computing noting that it gives him, the Board and Cabinet more to think about moving forward. He agreed that as the system grows the District serves a smaller percentage of students in specialized programs such as Sci-Tech. The Superintendent mentioned that discussions on Dual Language is in process with a Board member researching this program. He added that there have been discussions on expanding Sci-Tech and Gifted programs, offering a 7th period and providing transportation for these programs. These are valuable discussions but must be put in context of what we can do together. The Superintendent thanked the Committee again for their time and the hours spent to drill down on these conversations. He introduced the Committee to Dawn Peschek and Alicia Veevaert who will chair the levy campaign. Ms. Peschek said that they were excited to be to take on this task and reminded Committee members that they were welcome to help and be involved in the campaign process.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Materials - 22 Committee Approved Critical Repairs


Materials