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Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors earns prestigious Board of Distinction award - 10/17/18

WALLA WALLA – The Washington State School Directors’ Association announced Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors has been selected to receive the ‘Board of Distinction Award’. The district will receive the award at the state directors’ conference ceremony to be held Nov. 15 in Spokane. This is the first Board of Distinction award in district history for Walla Walla.

The Board of Distinction award program recognizes school boards that show evidence of applying best practice standards endorsed by the Washington State School Directors’ Association. Recipients must document they meet rigorous accountability and leadership practices through evidence-based actions. Selection criteria also includes aligning and incorporating high quality governance attributes to improve district operations and student learning.

The application process was open from July 9 to Sept. 20. School board applications included an accounting of the most relevant work accomplished leading up to submission. Focus areas included ensuring there were non-negotiable goals in place for student achievement. Recipients also had to demonstrate how they were providing for learning essentials, including rigorous curriculum, technology and actions to attain high-quality facilities. Award merit was also based on evaluating the superintendent on clear and focused expectations, including evidence of making gains on the opportunity gap based on student achievement data.

School board member Ruth Ladderud helped coordinate the award submission. She has served on the school board since 2012.

“I’ve always felt as a board this is something we should aspire to and this spring as a board we felt we were making the adjustments and turning the corner so the timing was right to apply,” said Ladderud. “All means all in Walla Walla and we were able to demonstrate that every student is valued, cared for and important, and I believe this is what led to the award selection.”




Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Business Meeting: October 16, 2018 - 10/11/18

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1001835

Walla Walla Public Schools Board of Directors Regular Study Meeting: October 2, 2018 - 09/27/18

Supporting documents are available via the following link:  https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicHome.aspx?ak=1001835

Longtime patrol deputy named Walla Walla High School School Resource Officer (Photo) - 09/24/18

WALLA WALLA – Walla Walla High School graduate Ian Edwards has been named the new School Resource Officer at his alma mater. He replaces Deputy Allan Thonney who accepted a promotion at the Sheriff’s Department. 

“I am a very social person and I strongly believe in the concept of community policing,” said Deputy Edwards. “I have the chance to be a role model for these students by developing positive relationships.”

Edwards has been employed by the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Department for 15 years, which includes two as a jailer and the last 13 as a Patrol Deputy. He has taught the DARE program to 5th grade and 8th grade students for the past nine years. Edwards graduated from Walla Walla High School 1999 before attending Whitman College and graduating with a Major in Sociology and minor in Education. Edwards has his Basic Law Enforcement Academy credentials, is a graduate of the Nevada DARE Officer’s Academy and is a certified School Resource Officer.

“I’m committed to enhance the overall safety of students and staff,” said Edwards. This position is a perfect fit.” 

Edwards is married to Kayla and they have three school-aged children. He enjoys golf and spending time with his family.

Attached Media Files: Deputy_Ian_Edwards.jpg
Rating Agency Affirms Strong District Credit Prior to Potential Bond Sales - 09/19/18

WALLA WALLA – At last night’s school board meeting Superintendent Smith commended the school board for their commitment to financial stewardship and conservative fiscal practices, maintaining a commendable Aa3 credit rating. Landing within Moody’s Investor Services “High Quality” category, the third party rating agency affirmed Walla Walla Public School’s “double a” rating in their most recent issuer’s comment.

Among many factors, Moody’s called out the district’s credit position as very healthy, noting its strong financial position and healthy local economy and tax base. Most notable was their praise over the district’s negligible debt load of .4%, noting that Walla Walla School District’s debt burden is, “materially below other Moody’s-rated school districts nationwide.”

This favorable credit rating bodes well for the district should the community choose to support the proposed no-tax-rate increase replacement bond appearing on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot. If approved by voters, such strong credit backing helps motivate greater interest from investors, often driving down interest costs at the time of sale. As Smith noted, “I have witnessed first-hand what a positive impact a “double a” credit rating can have at the time of sale. In a similarly-sized bond sale in a former district we were able to save an estimated $5.0M for taxpayers, reducing both the rate and term of the bond.”

The replacement bond appearing on the November ballot, as proposed, is set to maintain the current bond rate of $1.23/$1,000 assessed, one of the lower school bond rates in Walla Walla County. “Should we receive similar heightened interest at the time of sale from investors due to our strong credit rating, taxpayers may actually experience a decrease in rates over current levels due to favorable conditions,” noted Smith.

The replacement bond will renovate Walla Walla High School, Pioneer Middle School, and Lincoln High School and fund specific district-wide health, safety, educational and infrastructure improvements. In addition to the $65.6M generated locally, the school renovation projects are eligible for an estimated $52.6M in State Match funds. All State Match funds will be applied only to the voter-approved projects. Any excess dollars remaining following the completion of the projects will be used to pay down debt to reduce the rate for taxpayers. An 11-member Community Bond Oversight Committee will oversee the entire program to ensure transparency, accountability and fiscal stewardship of the community’s resources. To learn more, visit: http://www.wwps.org/2018bond