Vancouver Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Voters approve VPS levy - 02/11/20

Vancouver Public Schools’ supplemental levy passed on election night. The district’s first supplemental levy received 59.27 percent approval. By state law, levies for school funding need a 50 percent simple majority vote for passage. Historically, late-arriving ballots have caused the percentage of yes votes to rise after election day.

“I am extremely grateful to this community for providing more than 55 years of continuous financial support for our students and schools,” said Superintendent Steve Webb. “This election shows the value our voters hold for the education of our children and youth.”

The three-year supplemental levy will maintain current levels of programs and services through 2023. It will make up a $10 million budget deficit the district experienced due to changes in state funding for K-12 schools. 

Levy results will be certified on Feb. 21. 

For more information, go to the VPS website.

Dedication of new Vancouver iTech Preparatory set for Feb. 20 - 02/10/20

The community is invited to see the new iTech Prep, a project-based STEM magnet school for sixth through 12th graders. The new building is the second in Vancouver Public Schools to be constructed with funds from a 2017 local bond measure. The school’s location on the Washington State University Vancouver campus is unique in the state and supports iTech’s early college model with access to college classes.  

Dedication 

  • Time: Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 to 7:30 p.m. 

  • Location: 16100 NE 50th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98686

  • Carpooling is encouraged. Limited onsite parking will be available around the school. Guests also may park in the gray lot on the WSU Vancouver campus. Shuttle buses will be provided to/from the school. 

  • The program will begin at 6 p.m. and will include remarks by students, Principal Darby Meade, Superintendent Steve Webb, VPS Board President Wendy Smith and WSU Vancouver Vice Chancellor Lynn Valenter. Gov. Jay Inslee also is scheduled to attend as the keynote speaker.

  • After a ribbon-cutting, guests will enjoy self-guided tours, student demonstrations and refreshments from 6:25 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

About the new building

  • Architect: LSW Architects

  • General contractor: Robinson Construction

  • Building square footage: approximately 80,711

  • Three stories, 23 classrooms and six collaboration spaces

Timeline of planning and construction

  • September 2012: School opens in two locations. Middle schoolers are located at the Jim Parsley Education, Family and Community Center. High schoolers are located in the Clark College building at Washington State University Vancouver. 

  • September 2015: Teachers and staff, students, parents and community members attend a design symposium with architects to develop conceptual designs for a new building.

  • February 2017: Voters approve a $458 million bond measure to rebuild and upgrade schools.

  • 2017-2018: Teachers and staff participate in planning the architectural details of the new building.

  • September 2018: Groundbreaking ceremony. Construction begins shortly afterward.

  • December 2019: Teachers and staff move into the new building over winter break.

  • January 2020: School opens to all students.

Vancouver iTech Preparatory is a collaboration among Vancouver Public Schools; Battle Ground Public Schools, in whose district iTech is located; WSU Vancouver, Clark College and several business and industry partners. Admission is granted through an equitable lottery selection process, and iTech has achieved a 100% graduation rate every year since its inaugural graduating class in 2016.

For more information about bond construction projects, subscribe to our e-newsletter or visit our website.

Deadline to turn in school levy election ballots is Feb. 11 - 02/07/20

Ballots are due on Tuesday for Vancouver Public Schools’ levy election. A three-year supplemental levy for VPS is on the ballot. If approved, the levy would continue the current level of district services, programs and staffing through 2023.

As of Friday morning, 23.8% of ballots had been returned countywide for the Feb. 11 special election. 

Ballots can be dropped in the mail (no postage necessary) and must be postmarked by Feb. 11. Ballots also may be dropped off in one of the 24-hour drop boxes located in several Vancouver locations. On election night, ballots must be dropped off by 8 p.m.

On election day only, voters may drop off ballots at several school drop-off locations from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Anderson Elementary School, 2215 NE 104th Street
  • Chinook Elementary School, 1900 NW Bliss Road
  • Felida Elementary School, 2700 NW 119th Street
  • Hazel Dell Elementary School, 511 NE Anderson Road
  • Minnehaha Elementary School, 2800 NE 54th Street
  • Salmon Creek Elementary School, 1601 NE 129th Street
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School, 6103 NE 72nd Avenue

More information is available on the district website.

Vancouver Public Schools and Superintendent Steve Webb honored with national award - 02/07/20

AASA, The School Superintendents Association, will honor Vancouver Public Schools and Dr. Steve Webb for providing academic and non-academic support to all students, improving graduation rates and closing opportunity and achievement gaps. Along with the late Joe A. Hairston—former associate professor at Howard University and co-founder of the AASA/Howard University Urban Superintendents Academy—VPS and Superintendent Webb will receive the Dr. Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award at the AASA National Conference on Education later this month. 

The late Dr. Effie Hall Jones was a teacher, counselor, school administrator and AASA associate executive director who maintained strong professional and personal commitments to diversifying education.

Dr. Webb and VPS were selected for the honor based on a systemic commitment to equity, excellence and innovation as exemplified by these programs and initiatives.

  • Vancouver’s network of Family-Community Resource Centers has grown 800% over the past decade. The network helps remove barriers to learning at all VPS schools through onsite centers and two mobile centers. FCRC/community partnerships provide basic needs assistance, early childhood education, access to medical and mental health services, parenting support, before- and after-school programs and more.

  • To help boost educator diversity and better match the demographics of the student population, VPS re-established the Careers in Education program magnet program to create a pipeline of diverse, homegrown teachers and paraeducators. 

  • Admission to Vancouver iTech Preparatory, the district’s STEM-focused, early college school, is granted through a lottery process that reflects student demographics.   

  • To make college accessible to every student, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education, VPS has made a major investment in the Advancement Via Individual Determination program at 24 schools.

  • Students have equitable access to digital learning tools. Thanks to voter support for technology levy measures, more than 18,000 students in third through 12th grades benefit from individualized technology. To extend the use of those digital learning tools, the district has installed Wi-Fi on buses and secured a ConnectED grant from Sprint to provide internet access for families at home.

  • A recent Stanford University analysis of American schools found that VPS provides higher than average educational opportunities while children are in school. VPS also has 14% higher student learning growth rates in a single year and standardized test scores that are higher than those in U.S. school districts with similar socioeconomic statuses.

  • In 2019, the on-time graduation rate was 85%, up from 64% in 2010. The extended graduation rate was 88.6%. Over the past four years, VPS’ rate of improvement for on-time graduation has exceeded the state average for English learners, low-income students, students with disabilities and students with 504 plans.

School Board Director Mark Stoker submitted the award nomination. “VPS has made significant progress toward more equitably serving students and families,” he said. “That work is ongoing, especially in the area of student discipline, but this award underscores Vancouver educators’ commitment to all children.”

“Vancouver’s whole systems approach is accelerating student achievement, closing opportunity gaps and getting more students to graduate and be prepared for college and careers,” said Superintendent Webb. “I am inspired by the work that I see taking place every day by the more than 3,000 professionals  around the district, and I’m grateful for their dedication to children, families, one another and the Vancouver community.”

New enrollment forecast results in fourth option for review of bond program - 01/29/20

After experiencing unprecedented inflationary costs in the construction market and examining new projections for student enrollment, Vancouver Public Schools is conducting a bond program review and holding several community forums to seek public input on future school construction and renovation projects. As part of this effort, district leaders are presenting a new option to consider.

Previously, VPS  identified three possible options for two elementary schools that were slated for construction under the bond program. Those options include the following:

With an updated enrollment forecast, VPS has developed a fourth option that the board of directors would like the public to comment on: 

This new fourth option would allow both schools—the NE 25th Ave. school and VITA Elementary— to be built. However, instead of housing a combined total of 900 students at the two schools, the new option reduces capacity to 300 students at each school for a combined total of 600 students.  

The cost savings of building smaller schools would enable both schools to be constructed within budget while still meeting the enrollment needs of two high-growth, high-development areas in the district.

Updated enrollment projections for Hough, Harney, Minnehaha, Eisenhower, Anderson, Walnut Grove and Hazel Dell elementary schools will be shared at the following public forums.

Jan. 29, 6-7 p.m. – Hough Elementary School, 1900 Daniels St. 

Jan. 30, 6-7 p.m. – Hazel Dell Elementary School, 511 NE Anderson Rd.

Feb. 5, 6-7 p.m. – Harney Elementary School, 3212 E. Evergreen Blvd.

Feb. 6, 6-7 p.m. – Eisenhower Elementary School, 9201 NW 9th Ave.

The public forums provide interested community members an opportunity to receive more detailed information. Parents, staff and community members are invited to attend the date and location of the meeting that is most convenient for them. Feedback forms are available at each forum and online on the district’s website.

Flat enrollment district-wide and rising marketplace costs have caused the need to scale back the original bond project list. However, a new enrollment forecast completed by a third-party demographer and updated multi-family development schedules in the city and in the county prompted district leaders to re-evaluate the recommendation to defer one of the new elementary schools.

“We have been working with our demographer and city and county planners to update our 2015 planning assumptions,” said Todd Horenstein, assistant superintendent for planning and facilities. “This work now has been completed. We can meet our current and future K-5 enrollment need by scaling back the size of both new schools and providing enrollment relief to the adjacent schools.”

Ballots for school levy election are in the mail - 01/28/20

Ballots for the Feb. 11 special election are in the mail. A three-year supplemental levy for Vancouver Public Schools is on the ballot. If approved, the levy would continue the current level of district services, programs and staffing through 2023.

The supplemental levy would make up a $10 million shortfall in the district budget following major changes to state funding over the past few years. The changes included a cap on local levy requests limiting them to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. After 253 districts statewide reported budget deficits, the Legislature raised the levy cap to $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

VPS is asking voters to authorize the following amounts:

  • $10 million for 2021
  • $10.415 million for 2022
  • $10.875 million for 2023

The projected rates per $1,000 of assessed property valuation are:

  • 43 cents in 2021
  • 41 cents in 2022
  • 40 cents in 2023

The proposed levy supplements the education and operations levy for $1.50 per $1,000 passed by voters one year ago. If approved, the supplemental levy would bring the local levy rate to an estimated $1.93, which is well below the new state cap of $2.50 per $1,000.

The total local and state school tax rate, including all levies and bonds, would be an estimated $6.45 per $1,000 in 2021. This rate is equivalent to the total rate in 2017, the year prior to the implementation of the levy cap.

Ballots can be dropped in the mail (no postage necessary) and must be postmarked by Feb. 11. Alternately, they can be returned to a dropbox by 8 p.m. or to an Election Day-only drop site (list of locations included with ballots).

More information is available on the district website.