Vancouver Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
High school students, staff share inspiring personal stories - 04/17/19

Skyview High School students and staff members will take the stage next week for the school's annual series of talks called BOLT, or "Building Our Legacy Together.” The event is a platform for sharing the unique life stories, dreams and talents of Skyview’s students and staff through speeches, anecdotes, original music, dance and more. Topics include overcoming obstacles, friendships and interests.

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

Date: Wednesday, April 24

Time: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Skyview High School auditorium, 1300 NW 139th St., Vancouver, WA, 98685 

BOLT is organized by high school juniors and seniors in Skyview's leadership elective class. This is the fourth year of the event.

Administrative changes announced for the 2019-20 school year - 04/12/19

The following changes in administration will take place in August for the 2019-20 school year. These changes do not increase costs in the district’s administrative budget. Five central office administrative positions have been eliminated as part of next year’s budget cuts. The responsibilities of three of those positions will be assigned to others. All personnel assignments are subject to final approval by the school board.

Jim Gray, principal at Skyview High School will be executive director of teaching and learning for high schools. Gray’s position also will include oversight of district safety/security and athletics.

Andy Meyer, associate principal at Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies, will replace Gray as Skyview’s principal. Kirstin Kunisha, currently dean of students at Fort Vancouver, will fill Meyer’s position as associate principal at Fort.

Fort Vancouver High School principal Jody ViDelco will move to Jason Lee Middle School as principal. Current Jason Lee principal Curt Scheidel will become principal at Fort Vancouver.

Mick Hoffman, assistant superintendent for facilities and operations, is leaving the district to become the executive director of Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. AJ Panter, who currently oversees facilities, will be director of facilities and transportation, which was previously part of Hoffman’s responsibilities.

Debra Hale, executive director of teaching and learning will continue to oversee elementary schools and  also will cover early childhood programs. Chris Olsen, executive director of teaching and learning, will continue to oversee middle schools and will assume oversight of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Additional preliminary budget cuts recommended for 2019-20 - 04/09/19

Over the past few months, Vancouver Public Schools has projected a budget shortfall of approximately $14.3 million in its 2019-20 budget. The latest preliminary recommendations add another $2.5 million in cuts that may be necessary due to a lack of legislative progress in state funding for special education and increasing employee health benefits costs.

Positions and costs in these recommended budget cuts previously have been funded through the district’s local levy dollars, which are now capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value—nearly half of what the district has collected in the past. At this point, state funding projections are not adequate to make up the shortfall in local levy funding and continue the district’s current level of staffing and services.

Special education costs
Even if passed, proposed special education funding bills currently in the legislative chambers still would not fully pay for the state’s basic education obligation to support special education. VPS subsidizes approximately $5 million of special education expenses from its local levy. The legislators’ most generous funding bill would provide approximately $75 million statewide—far short of the total local levy funds needed, estimated by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to be $350-$400 million statewide in the 2019-21 biennium.

Health insurance benefits
Next year, the legislature also is likely to expand full health benefits to school district employees working 0.4 full time equivalent or more, significantly increasing health insurance costs for districts. If the legislature authorizes a transition to the School Employees Benefits Board health insurance program and does not cover the full cost, it could obligate districts to use capped local levies to pay for an estimated $300 million statewide in additional expenses for employee health benefits.

Preliminary budget adjustments
With the uncertainty of state funding at this point, the superintendent is requesting additional flexibility to implement cost reductions. In total, the district is addressing a potential $17 million budget shortfall—depending on legislative action—through cost reductions and use of fund balance reserves for next year.

The following recommendations would reduce the 2019-20 budget by an additional $2.5 million.

  • $100,000 – Closing the Jim Parsley Community Center pool, climbing wall and community room
  • $450,000 – Reduction of five FTE professional/technical staff members from central office
  • $260,000 – Reduction of two FTE basic education deans of students
  • $1 million – Reduction of 15 FTE custodial positions
  • $300,000 – Reduction of four FTE grounds maintenance positions
  • $400,000 – Fifty percent reduction in district travel

Some of the staffing reductions could be achieved through retirements and other employees seeking different opportunities.

“It’s important to keep in mind that these are preliminary budget recommendations. If the district’s financial position improves or worsens, my team and I will reconsider these recommendations,” said Superintendent Steve Webb. “Our employees are valued members of our district and I hope we do not have to make these cuts. I am frustrated to be put in this position because of the inadequate legislative response to the McCleary court decision. Now, more than ever, we all need to advocate for a comprehensive set of sensible policy solutions to the ‘McCleary mess’ handed to us by elected leaders in Olympia.”

Previous budget recommendations were shared with the board of directors on Jan. 22 and Feb. 26:

  • $3.9 million in cuts to central administrative services including $1.5 million saved by a 3.5 percent reduction of central administration and school discretionary budgets and a hiring freeze on non-mission critical employees in 2018-19
  • $3.8 million from undesignated ending fund balance
  • $2.3 million saved through a reduction of 23 full-time equivalent teaching positions reflecting the anticipated decline of approximately 450 FTE students
  • $3 million achieved through a reduction of 33 FTE instructional staff and specialist positions not funded by the state
  • $1.3 million saved through reduction of clerical support by 185 hours per day district wide

Kindergarten registration begins April 9 - 04/08/19

Parents may register their children for kindergarten starting Tuesday, April 9. Any child who will be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31, 2019, is eligible to enter kindergarten in the fall. Full-day kindergarten is offered districtwide in Vancouver Public Schools.

Parents can find out which school their child will attend by using the district’s online boundary map or calling the elementary education office at 360-313-1010 or communications office at 360-313-1230.

Parents should bring proof of their child’s birth date, immunization records and emergency contact information to their neighborhood school to register their child.

School offices are open for kindergarten registration Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration can take up to one hour. 

Applications also are being accepted for the district’s Mandarin Language Learning Program and Spanish/English Dual Language Program. Enrollment in these programs begins in kindergarten. Applications and details on upcoming information nights are available on the district’s website and in school offices.

Kindergarten visitations 
Registered students and their families will be invited to visit their elementary school, meet teachers and learn more about the kindergarten program. Dates and times are available on the district's website.

Jump Start
Parents who register their children for kindergarten also will have a chance to sign up their child for Kindergarten Jump Start, a program for incoming kindergarteners that takes place a few weeks before the school year begins. Students will meet teachers and other kindergartners; learn routines; become familiar with school surroundings; and participate in math, literacy and hands-on learning activities. Jump Start will be offered at all 21 elementary schools. See dates and times on the district's website.

Technology for all students leads to recognition for Vancouver Public Schools - 04/08/19

The Consortium for School Networking selected Vancouver Public Schools for its Community Leadership Award for Digital Equity, defined as access to devices and high-speed internet and the promotion of digital leadership.

Thanks to a two-time voter-approved technology levy, all VPS students in third through 12th grades have access to individual iPads or laptops. To support the use of those tools, the district installed Wi-Fi networks on school buses and secured a grant to cover the cost of hotspots for families who do not have internet at home. VPS also has developed programs and resources to empower staff and students in using technology for teaching and learning and to engage families and the community.

Said Superintendent Steve Webb, “Vancouver Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all students have equitable access to technology and the knowledge to integrate those tools into meaningful learning. We are continuing to fulfill the community’s direction to make technology part of our strategy for preparing students for college, careers and life. We are grateful that voters reaffirmed their support of this work by reauthorizing the technology levy last February. Future-ready learning tools produce future-ready graduates!”

VPS is the third recipient of the award, and the first recipient from Washington state. The district was honored in Portland, Oregon, in early April and received a $2,000 honorarium.

The Consortium for School Networking is a professional association for school system technology leaders.