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School Board Report – August 20, 2019

The school board meeting this week was a collection of topics, focusing heavily on long-term budget planning. Board candidates Pete Miller and Katrina Montgomery were in attendance. Topics covered included:

-A reflection on the district’s recent shift to e-flyers through the website PeachJar.com. A district-wide survey showed that parents overwhelmingly preferred email for their communication from school.

-An initial report of potential levy revenue for the district, looking at projected growth and recent state legislature changes to levy allowances. The recent McCleary Act from the state legislature leaves us without the ability to project our exact state revenue in coming years.

-A discussion on the district fund balance (sort of the district savings account) and what minimum percentage of our operating budget we should always keep. We currently have a large fund balance, but our yearly spending is more than our yearly revenue, so the fund balance is projected to decrease rapidly.

No decisions were made tonight, but the board received reports and asked questions to deepen understanding.

As far as highly capable interests go, Superintendent Tony Giurado made a comment that excited me. When talking about the Tahoma Education Association (TEA, the teachers’ union), Tony shared that one of their priorities is the social and emotional health of students. Specifically, they are concerned about the heavy load each school counselor has. I was encouraged to hear that TEA is focusing on social and emotional health, as that is an area that concerns many PATH parents, as well. I hope to be able to chat with TEA soon about our shared interests.

I am proud to be in a district where so many people care deeply about the welfare of our students. As we come together to advocate for needed changes, I am confident we can improve the overall educational experience for our children.

Michelle Smart, PATH president