Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - January 27, 2006

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District meets with Port of Walla Walla Economic Development leaders to discuss bond

This week Superintendent Rich Carter presented information on the district’s proposed May 16 bond issue at the Port of Walla Walla Economic Development meeting. Nearly 70 business and agency leaders were in attendance for the meeting regularly scheduled every other month by Port of Walla Walla Executive Director Jim Kuntz. Citizens for Schools chair Jim Hayner also addressed the group, while School Board President Mary Jo Geidl fielded questions after the meeting.

Carter stressed the economic impact the proposed bond would have on the community as research indicates approximately 50 cents of every bond dollar stays in the community through jobs, supplies and services. He also noted the value for Walla Walla taxpayers who stand to get nearly a dollar for dollar match on the nearly $88 million in projects being proposed. Thanks to matching dollars and private donations, Walla Walla tax payers would pay approximately $46 million of the estimated $88 million in projects slated for the May 16 issue.

Kuntz said quality schools help recruit and retain businesses in the area and help spur economic growth. Carter also met with staff members at Pioneer Middle School, Prospect Point Elementary and parents at the Blue Ridge Family Fun Night this week to provide information on the proposed bond. Learn more about the bond online - www.wwps.org.

Calendar options under review

Assistant Superintendent Linda Boggs met with members of the district’s calendar committee to review results of staff input on calendar options for the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years.

The district is expected in the next week or so to narrow the options down to one calendar choice for each school year. The two options will then go to the school board for consideration. The district supports approving a two-year calendar to improve educational and family activity planning efforts.

Blue Ridge Family Fun Night a Success

This week Blue Ridge scheduled a K-1 Family Fun Night and a had great turnout, more than 150 people. Special thanks to the leadership and efforts of Gail Callahan who was assisted by Erica Swingholm, Angie Escoto, Leah Crudup and the Childrens Home Society crew lead by Ruth Triebwasser. Family members ate pizza, played games, and learned more about services available to them and their children.

In addition, a special thanks to all those staff members who pitched in to help and lead game activities: Joyce Moreno, Alex Covarrubias. Diane Eayrs-Mendoza, Tina Holbrook, Lucy Gregoire, Kim Cerna, Gail Callahan, Leah Crudup, Ardie Dick, Karen Smeed, Alicia Dankel, Gloria Olivos, Brenda Kirk, Luis Rosales, and the Millennials Crew (Noe Rueda and the rest).

Superintendent Rich Carter salutes school board members

January is School Board Appreciation Month in Washington State and nationwide. I want to express my gratitude to our dedicated board members and ask the community to join me in saying “THANK YOU” to those who volunteer to work for our children and youth and our community:

Mary Jo Geidl, President - 5 years on the board;
Anne Golden, Vice President - 19 years;
Tim Donaldson – 7 years;
Cindy Meyer-newly elected in 2005
Toni Rudnick - 7 years; and
Dr. Richard Jacks, who retired in December after 12 years of board service.

These public servants are elected to serve and receive no compensation for their tireless efforts. They represent you as a link between the community and the classroom and they take this responsibility seriously. They unselfishly contribute hundreds of hours leading our district, crafting policies, choosing curriculum, approving employee contracts, studying and adopting budgets, all with the focus on what’s best for all the children in our schools.

Being an effective school board member is no easy task. The time spent in board meetings represents just a small fraction of the hours school board members devote to leading the district. They must read and study to be knowledgeable about many complex educational issues and ensure compliance with both federal and state directives. To do so, they give countless hours of personal time. They work together as a team toward a common goal – helping students achieve to performance standards and gain knowledge and skills to be responsible, happy, productive citizens. School board members know their decisions affect our children – what they learn, who will teach them, and what kinds of facilities are adequate for their learning experiences. They make a difference for every child in the Walla Walla Public Schools.

Too often, we neglect to recognize and honor the dedication, hard work, and selfless attitude of our school directors for their service and commitment to our children. Please take a moment to tell a school board member, “Thanks for all you do for our children’s education.”

Rich Carter, Superintendent

Bond ‘Tidbits’ of the Week...

Did you know...
“Edison PE storage is big heavy inconvenient drawers under the stage. I have actually strained my back opening these drawers. There is no secure storage at all, nothing that can be locked up.

I have lost items over the years, the most memorable, a Razor scooter which I had purchased myself for about $50. I have no real office, just a partitioned off section of the stage with no phone.," said Bob Van Donge, Edison PE teacher.

NOTE: The new Edison will have a new gym and cafeteria area. Currently, Edison’s gym is also used for the cafeteria.

Did you know...
Borleske Stadium has only 187 parking spaces, plus about 83 at nearby DeSales High School.

The proposed Wa-Hi plan calls for approximately 750 parking spaces on campus, while nearly 200 additional spaces are available at nearby Murr Field.

Did you know...
Construction costs for the Sharpstein Elementary modernization project were estimated at $120 per square foot when it was built in 2000. Construction costs for the May 16, 2006 bond are estimated at $220 per square foot. Business Manager and financial expert Aron Rausch projects construction costs will increase at least 10 percent annually.

Did you know...
Due to the cramped space and location, trucks delivering goods to the Support Services building block traffic on Park Street as they get in position to use the docking area. Once in position, the sidewalk is completely blocked until they are finished.

Wa-Hi music needs...
“The Wa-Hi Music Department is the only high school music facility I have ever seen that has no (that’s 0) practice rooms for students. Where do they practice? Not here,” said Andrew Ueckert, Wa-Hi Band Director.

NOTE: The plans for the proposed new and improved Wa-Hi call for more space for music classrooms and practice areas. Marching band students will also get to practice on campus in the PE/Athletic facility.

Hayner leads Citizens for Schools planning meeting

Citizens for Schools chair Jim Hayner organized a planning meeting this week to help organize efforts to inform the community about the district’s proposed May 16 bond issue. More than 60 people were in attendance.

Hayner has selected community members Jeffrey Hill, Katie and Carl Christianson, and Dondi and Andrea Cortinas to take on leadership roles to organize committee efforts. Carl Tyler has once again agreed to lead communications efforts.

The mission of this non-profit, community organization is to ensure Walla Walla Public Schools have the resources and support necessary to provide essential educational programs and activities to Walla Walla children.

Contact Hayner at 527-3500 or jkh@innw.net if you are interesting in learning more about Citizens for Schools.