Upcoming Meeting Agenda & Minutes
October 22, 2015
The information in the following pages highlights the details shared with the committee during the first Levy Task Force session:
- District’s Strategic Vision
- 2014-15 Budget Highlights Memo to the School Board
- School Funding 101 Presentation
- Levy/Bond Definition Sheet
The next meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 29th from 5:30 – 7:00 pm in the Methow Valley Elementary Library.
During this session, the Levy Task Force will examine the district’s proposed 2016-2020 Technology Plan (currently in draft form) and have an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.
October 29, 2015
During this session, the Technology Committee shared the overview of the Technology Plan for the next four years.
The district’s Strategic Anchors guided the creation of this plan. The Levy Task Force will determine what level of funding will be needed to support the goals of the plan. The information in the following pages highlights the details shared with the committee during the Second Levy Task Force session:
During this next session, the Levy Task Force will Use budget information learned in the first meeting and the Methow Valley Public Schools’ Technology Plan reviewed during the second meeting, to form a recommendation to the Superintendent that includes the next four-year technology levy. The Task Force at this time may also decide if more time or information is needed before finalizing a recommendation.
The Task Force’s recommendation will include recommended levy amounts to the Superintendent for both replacement levies (Maintenance and Operations and Technology) for the Feb. 09, 2016 special election.
In the fall of 2015, a levy task force of 22 staff, students and community members was convened in anticipation of two levies that are set to expire at the end of 2016 – the district’s current four-year Maintenance and Operations levy and current four-year Capital Projects Technology levy.
The Levy Task Force spent several weeks together throughout the fall, learning about how public schools in the state of Washington are funded, including the Methow Valley School District. The Levy Task Force also engaged in critical analysis of the Methow Valley School District’s annual operating budget – closely examining current levies, bonds, and combined tax rates, trends in assessed valuation in the Methow Valley, student enrollment projections, and comparative analysis of combined bond/levy rates regionally and statewide. Through this process, the Levy Task Force learned that the combined levy rates associated with our schools are among the lowest within the region and lowest in comparison to districts with similarly assessed value across the state.
What did we Learn?
Maintenance and Operations: What Does it Fund?
The Levy Task Force learned that in the absence of adequate state funding of basic education, the district’s Maintenance and Operations levy, representing approximately 26% of the district’s annual operating budget provides critical funding in support of:
- Adequate compensation for employees
- Lower class sizes
- Classroom supplies and teaching resources
- Enriching educational programs such as music, arts, Spanish, robotics, engineering, athletics, and many others in support of the development of the whole child
- Maintenance of our facilities
- Many other vital programs and services throughout our district
The Levy Task Force learned that by maintaining the past pattern of increasing the district’s Maintenance and Operations levy by $50,000 each of the four year while assuming no growth in the assessed valuation of property in the Methow Valley, the projected increase in the Maintenance and Operations levy to a homeowner owning a house assessed at $250,000 would be $.83 per month.
Capital Projects-Technology Levy: What Does it Fund?
In addition to learning about the important role that the district’s Maintenance and Operations levy plays in support of the district’s staffing, class sizes, professional development of staff, and educational programing, the Levy Task Force also learned about the district’s past, present, and future efforts to strategically invest in the integration of technology in the classroom as part of the district’s educational program. More specifically, the Levy Task Force learned that previous and current technology levies (2010, 2012), each representing approximately 2% of the district’s annual operating budget, have focused on establishing the initial foundation in the form of infrastructure, mobile devices, and personnel… critical first steps. However, the Levy Task Force noted that important work lies ahead if the district is to successfully increases student access and achieve full integration of technology in support of teaching and learning. After reviewing the updated 2017 – 2020 Technology Plan presented by the district’s Technology Committee, the Levy Task Force applauded their effort to develop a coherent plan that closely aligns with the district’s vision of full integration and increased student access to current technologies, supports engaging approaches to teaching and learning, and promotes increased readiness for a wide range of post-secondary options.
Highlights associated with the proposed 2017 – 2020 Technology Plan, a fundamental part of the district’s educational program, include:
- Education focused on the responsible use of technology and digital citizenship
- District-wide 1:1 ratio of student access to technology within and outside of the classroom
- Student access to industry standard technologies related to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and Career and Technical Education
- Student access to adaptive technology for students that qualify for special education services and accommodations
- Staffing to provide on-going professional development in the use of technology
- Staffing to maintain equipment, software licensure, and a reliable infrastructure
The Levy Task Force learned that the recommendation to increase the four-year Capital Projects-Technology Levy from 1.1 million to $2,225,000 over the next four years would result in an increase in the projected Capital Projects-Technology Levy rate by approximately $4.17 per month for a homeowner that owns a home assessed at $250,000.
Levy Task Force Recommendation
After careful consideration, research, and deliberation, the Methow Valley Levy Task Force unanimously recommended the superintendent present the Methow Valley School District Board of Directors with two resolutions that initiate the following action:
- Replace the current M&O Levy set to expire at the end of 2016 with a $1,800,000, four-year Maintenance and Operations levy, set to increase by $50,000 each successive year of the four-year term.
- Replace the expiring Technology Levy set to expire at the end of 2016 with a four-year, $2,225,000 Capital Projects-Technology Levy.
The Methow Valley School District Levy Task Force concluded by sharing their appreciation for the continued support provided by our local community to deliver on the district’s vision of working in partnership with our families and community to develop creative, compassionate, competent, action-oriented citizens prepared to change the world.
Levy Task Force Charter
- The Levy Task Force will learn how the expiring Maintenance and Operations (M&O levy supports nearly 25 percent of the district’s annual operating budget) helps the Methow Valley Public Schools’ maintain its current education programs for students.
- Using budget information associated with the Methow Valley Public Schools’ Technology Plan, the Levy Task Force form a recommendation to the Superintendent that includes the next four-year technology levy.
- The Task Force’s recommendation will include recommended levy amounts to the Superintendent for both replacement levies (Maintenance and Operations and Technology) for the Feb. 09, 2016 special election.
Task Force: Advisory to the Superintendent to complete specific work within a designated timeline.
Basis for Establishment:
Methow Valley Public Schools’ general operations (M&O) levy, which comprises nearly 25 percent of its annual budget, is expiring. The previous technology levy, which supports the integration of technology in the classroom, is also expiring. Both levies will be placed on the ballot as early as February 9, 2016.
Work with the co-chairs to gather information from stakeholder groups and build agreement on the Task Force’s recommendation to the Superintendent.
Plan of Work:
- Publicize the Task Force’s open positions by Friday, October 2, 2015 with applications due to the District Office by Friday, October 9, 2015.
- Meet three times or more, as needed, starting Thursday, October 22, 2015 to provide a recommendation to the Superintendent by Nov. 12, 2015.
- Superintendent finalizes decision and presents the school board with a resolution for consideration during the December 9, 2015 School Board meeting.
Meeting Times/Dates (Minutes will be posted above following meeting dates):
Thursday, October 22, 2015, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Thursday, November 5, 2015, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Thursday, November 19, 2015, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Thursday, January 28, 2016, 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Additional meetings as needed
Task Force Members:
The Task Force will consist of these regular members:
- Drew Simmons, Curriculum, Assessment, and Technology, Co-Chair
- Anne Anderson, Director of Teaching and Learning, Co-Chair
- Bob Winters, Methow Valley Elementary School Principal
- Deborah DeKalb, Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High School Principal
- Bud Hover, Director of Operations and Capital Projects
- Chase Rost, Liberty Bell Activities Director
- Paul Brown, Computer/Network Services Manager
- Liz Weeks, Assistant Business Manager
- Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High School Student Representative(s)
- Methow Valley Elementary School Student Representative(s)
- Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High School Parent Representative(s)
- Methow Valley Elementary School Parent Representative(s)
- Technology Committee Leader Representative(s)
- MVSD Library Media Specialist(s)
- Methow Valley Elementary Staff Member(s)
- Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High Staff Member(s)
The Task Force will include these ex-officio members:
- Tom Venable, Superintendent
- Open, Board Member
- Open, Board Member
Responsibilities of Committee Members:
- Regular meeting attendance.
- Communicate content of the meetings and gather input from school staff as requested by the Task Force.
- Respectful and collaborative interactions with committee members.
- Communicate the purpose of the task force to district staff and families.
- Committee members serve as key communicators for the groups they represent.
- Post pertinent information such as task force minutes on the district website to keep families informed.
- Use district communication process to inform stakeholders of task force outcomes.