Walla Walla Public Schools
Week in Review - October 5, 2007

In this Issue:

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Board supports Simple Majority issue
School board members passed Resolution #14-2007, EHJR, Simple Majority Tuesday night to officially go on the record in support of the November 6 ballot issue.

“BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the Walla Walla School District No. 140 strongly supports EHJR 4204 to allow citizens throughout the state to support student learning and success through simple majority approval of school levies,” the resolution states. (see entire resolution below)

EHJR 4204 Facts
How does Washington’s current school levy system work? Currently, local school levies must receive both a 60% supermajority approval and meet the 40% validation requirement to pass.

What would EHJR 4204 do? EHJR 4204 would amend the Washington State Constitution and would provide that a simple majority of voters (50% + 1) could authorize local school district levies.

The amendment also removes the 40% election validation requirement for levy elections. It does NOT apply to school bond elections. EHJR 4204 will be on the November 6 ballot.
What do school levies pay for? Local levies support school needs. Our levy pays for approximately 14 percent of the District’s operating budget.

What happens if school levies don’t pass? Some school levies have failed because they do not meet the supermajority requirement. Levy failures can result in budget cuts, which require program cuts, staff and/or teacher layoffs, and other disruptions.

RESOLUTION #14-2007 — Support of EHJR 4204, Simple Majority
WHEREAS, the Washington State Constitution says, “It is the paramount duty of the state to provide for the education of all children residing within its borders; and
WHEREAS, the fundamental mission of Washington’s public schools is to ensure that all students possess the knowledge and skills to be responsible citizens and enjoy productive and satisfying lives;
and WHEREAS, adequate, stable funding is critical to the fulfillment of this mission;
and WHEREAS, resources provided through voter-approved school levies are essential to local school districts’ability to provide a well-rounded, quality education to each student;
and WHEREAS, local levy dollars account for a significant portion of school district operating budgets in Washington;
and WHEREAS, despite their overarching mission, school districts are subject to obsolete laws that require a higher “supermajority”  threshold for voter approval of school levies;
and WHEREAS, school levies are routinely supported by a majority of voters only to fail because of this unfair and antiquated threshold;
and WHEREAS, the supermajority requirement allows a minority of voters to obstruct resources for student learning when those resources are clearly supported by the majority;
and WHEREAS, EHJR 4204 would restore fairness and equity by allowing school levies to be approved by a majority of those voting;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of the Walla Walla School District No. 140 strongly supports EHJR 4204 to allow citizens throughout the state to support student learning and success through simple majority approval of school levies.
WALLA WALLA SCHOOL DISTRICT Walla Walla, Washington BOARD OF EDUCATION (approved 10/2/07)


Board discusses 2008 M&O Levy
School board members conducted a public work session last night to begin looking at M&O Levy rates and amounts. Although a date has not been set, the district is expected to put a four-year, replacement M&O levy proposal on the ballot this winter.

The district’s four-year levy expires in December of 2008. Funds from the proposed 2008 levy would replace levy funds approved by voters in 2004.

“It’s important to remind voters this is a replacement levy,” School Board President Anne Golden said. “We are not asking the community for something new.”

More information will be coming out to staff and the community later this fall.

What do school levies pay for? Local levies support school needs. Our levy pays for approximately 14 percent of the District’s operating budget. In Walla Walla, the M&O levy helps to support education programs and school operations such as:
• approximately 30 additional teachers
• approximately 50 additional non-certified staff
• school safety staff
• elementary music specialists
• health clinicians
• library-media specialists
• elementary physical education specialists
• school supplies
• building maintenance
• technology
• athletics
• transportation for school activities

Technology’s Rick Pummel named October’s Staff Spotlight Employee of the Month
Congratulations to Technology Department’s Rick Pummel for being named this month’s Staff Spotlight Employee of the Month. With a quick glance Network Engineer Rick Pummel scans seemingly endless wires, blinking lights and buttons all in an effort to provide staff and students with the technical tools necessary to do their work. When he’s not doing techie work, Rick loves to sing and explore the outdoors through mountain biking, snow skiing and caving.

Learn more about Rick Pummel...
Place of work: District Office, Technology Department

Job Title: Network Engineer

Years in District: 6

Birth place: Irrigon, OR

High School & College: Upper Columbia Academy and Walla Walla College (University)

Favorite food: Italian

Favorite movie: Contact

Favorite band (or music): Various a capella groups

Favorite book: Sam Campbell’s series of nature stories

What do you love most about your job: I love the daily technical challenges and making order out of potential chaos. I also really enjoy helping people and providing them the tools they need to do their jobs.

Hobbies: Singing, volunteer work with teens, digital photography, gardening and a variety of outdoor activities including mountain biking, snow skiing and caving.

Most memorable life experience: Teaching school for a year on the island of Namu in the Marshall Islands

Tell us something about yourself that nobody else would know: I have a Private Pilot license

Wa-Hi Drama Department fall play set for November
This fall the students involved in Walla Walla High School’s THEATRE ARTS PROGRAM are working on two plays, “Courtship” and “1918” in Horton Foote’s Orphans’ Home Cycle, a nine play epic.

Show dates:
November 8, 9, 10 (7 p.m.)
November 15, 16 (7 p.m.)
November 17 (2 p.m.)

Horton Foote has been called “The Supreme Musician” of American playwrights, along with Tennessee Williams. The plays take place in small town, turn of the century Texas, and are loosely based on Foote’s own family. Never vulgar, but plumbing the depth of human experience through humor and tragedy, themes that flow throughout the piece are love, forgiveness, honor and sorrow. At its center is a love story and an exploration of the intricacies of family life. Tickets are $8 adults and $6 for seniors & students.

Please call the ticket office at 526-8613 for reserved seating.

Regional college fair comes to Wa-Hi
Walla Walla High School is hosting a Regional College Fair Thursday, October 25 in the gym from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. More than 50 colleges/trade schools from across the nation are scheduled to attend this free, public event.

“More registrations are arriving every day,” said Wa-Hi Career Information Specialist Pat Hanford. “This is the occasion to ask questions of admission representatives about applying, deadlines, essays, SAT/ACTs, costs, financial aid, scholarships, WUE, majors and campus life. Twenty four area high schools have been invited to attend as well.”


Cross Country Team Fun Run
Tuesday, October 9
4:00 p.m.
(3:00 to 3:45 p.m registration)
Murr Sports Park
(corner of Fern & Abbott Road)

• Running categories:
Grades K-2 (1/2 mile - 4:00 p.m. start)
Grades 3-5 (1 mile - 4:20 p.m. start)
Grade 6 (1 mile - 4:40 p.m start)
• Plaque presentation at 4:55 p.m.
• Participation fee - one can of food
• Transportation NOT provided

Head Start/ECEAP programs help kids catch up
District Head Start/ECEAP Director Donna Painter reported to school board members Tuesday night students entering the district’s program are on average 20 months behind other children academically and developmentally.

“We have a tremendous job to do to get these kids caught up,” Painter said. “Children enter our program with very limited skills in social, emotional, literacy, math, science, and oral communication.”

The district’s program serves 213 students, ages three to five years, at Blue Ridge and Green Park Elementary schools. Families must be living in poverty to receive these services for their children. Head Start is now 40 years old and is funded through federal dollars.

Painter said parent involvement is a key component of the program. She said parents make program decisions, serve on the policy council, attend monthly meetings and volunteer in the classrooms.

“I’m amazed at the growth I see in parents who are in the program,” Painter said. “They provide leadership and even gain job readiness skills.”

Students attend 3.25 hour sessions -- AM or PM -- Monday through Thursday. Staff work Fridays. They participate in professional development, review student progress, attend planning meetings and make home visits.Painter thanked school board members for their support of the program and encouraged people to visit the program to learn more.

Garrison Science teacher this week’s Classroom Close-Up feature
This week you will be able to visit Garrison Middle School Teacher Sue Parrish’s classroom via the Classroom Close-Up feature series. Learn what subjects are being studied this week and what are some of the learning objectives. You will also hear about the strategies being used to enhance achievement and how technology is linked to classroom lessons.

Look for her fun, photo-filled newsletter and 60 second radio spot to be posted next week on the district’s website (A to Z area — Classroom Close-Up).

Next week we’ll travel to Lincoln Alternative High School and discover how Natalie Allen-Tibbling helps students learn social studies skills.


Retirees Association sponsors tethered hot air balloon rides event
The Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association is sponsoring Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides Saturday, October 13 at Tietan Park from 4 to 6 p.m. The cost of each ride is $25.

Money raised from this event will be used to fund scholarships available to Walla Walla/Columbia County High School graduates who will be student teaching during the September 2008-June 2009 school year. Applications for the scholarships are available the first week in November 2007 and are due by April 1, 2008. For more information about the scholarships, interested parties may contact Linda Jacky at 529-0189 or Mardel Bierwagen at 525-6117.

Special thanks goes to Jerry Cummins for donating his time and hot air balloon, and to the Walla Walla-Columbia School Retirees Association for sponsoring the event. Bring your family and friends!