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Washington Voices

East Valley School Board weighs options after bond failure

Sat., April 30, 2011

The East Valley School Board met Thursday to discuss what to do now that its $33.75 million school bond failed to garner a supermajority April 26.

The board threw around several options. One was how to brace for a possible $1.5 million to $2 million cut in funding from the state. Closing a middle school or two is still on the list of options.

There was discussion about keeping this year’s fifth-grade students at their elementary schools for their sixth-grade year. The seventh- and eighth-grade students from Mountain View Middle School could be sent to East Valley Middle School and the district could use the savings from not operating Mountain View to fund portables at each elementary school, making a slow transition to the pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school system.

Brian Wallace, the executive director of operations, said there are about 100 sixth-grade students projected to go to Mountain View Middle School next year, and it is projected East Valley could save about $1 million if it closed Mountain View.

But they don’t know for certain just what they will do next.

One option discussed was to move all the seventh- and eighth-graders into East Valley High School.

Superintendent John Glenewinkel said that if the board decided to do that, the district would have to lay off two principals, two deans of students, quite a few classified and support employees, and teachers. That idea was quickly taken off the table.

Some board members didn’t like the idea of using portables for cafeteria space if that first option was explored.

Board member Heidi Gillingham wondered if students should have lunch in their classrooms to save money on a portable cafeteria during this transitional period. She hopes the district could pass a bond to renovate its buildings down the road.

The staff didn’t make any decisions at this special meeting Thursday, but did schedule a meeting for Friday to decide whether to declare a fiscal emergency in the district.

This would allow district officials to start exploring ways to make financial cuts to its 2011-’12 budget.

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