May 28, 2011 in Washington Voices

EV confronts budget cuts

Glenewinkel discusses mergers, layoff situation
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Coming up

The East Valley School Board will hold two public hearings at the next two regular meetings, June 14 and June 28 at 6 p.m. in the administration building, 12325 E. Grace Ave.

For more information, call the district office at (509) 924-1830.

At the latest community meeting of the East Valley School Board, Wednesday, upcoming state budget cuts and plans to merge East Valley and Mountain View middle schools were discussed.

Superintendent John Glenewinkel explained to a large group at East Valley Middle School what he expected in state budget cuts which were approved by the state legislature shortly after East Valley’s meeting. He then outlined plans to ease the transition for students at both schools and took questions from the audience.

“We still have teachers on lay-off status,” he said. He also expects to eliminate three administrative and two central office positions.

He said that of the 25 teachers who received layoff notices last month, only nine to 12 still have them. He hopes to have all staffing questions answered by June 10.

Seventh- and eighth-grade students will attend East Valley Middle School for the 2011-’12 school year. Sixth grade students will stay at one of the district’s five primary schools, Otis Orchards, East Farms, Trent, Trentwood or the Continuous Curriculum School. During the 2012-’13 school year, only eighth graders will attend EVMS and the primary schools will serve kindergarten through seventh-grade students, with the goal of moving to all K through 8 schools by the 2013-’14 school year.

As far as the merger, Glenewinkel said the district plans to keep all enrichment programs it currently offers such as math, science, art, music and the Planned Enrichment Program. The district did find different programs offered at the two middle schools. One school offered pre-algebra to its sixth graders while the other did not. One school offered high school-level science to its middle schoolers. One school had a robust music and art program.

With the merger, Glenewinkel expects these programs to be available to all middle school aged students.

The district will also blend its sports teams. Glenewinkel looked around the gym at East Valley Middle School and pointed out the orange and blue paint in the gym and said while it won’t be repainted, the banners of achievements of both schools will be hung on the walls.

“We will be the Knights,” he said. From elementary school through high school, every school will be united under one common brand with the same school colors.

He said uniforms at both middle schools have been inventoried—the newest uniforms they found were the singlets from Mountain View’s wrestling team. East Valley’s football uniforms were about three years old. The others were approaching the end of their life spans and would need replacing in the next couple of years, anyway.

“The cost of new uniforms is fairly insignificant given that we would have to purchase in three or four years anyway,” he said.

The fall sports schedules have been completed and the district is working on its winter sports scheduled.

Creating a common culture in the district is also on the list of activities in the coming months. There will be events for the students to meet and grow accustomed to each other both at the end of the school year and before the start of school this fall.

“We want parents there,” Glenewinkel said.

There are Associated Student Body officers at both schools, as well as officers that have been elected in other groups, such as the National Honors Society. Glenewinkel said those groups would serve as one body, with co-officers.

Start times during the day may change, with the school day both starting and ending a little earlier than this year.

One resident asked why uniforms were taking precedence over books, since he had heard that some students were going without books.

Board Chairman Mitch Jensen said he looked into this. He found that in a math class, a teacher was using supplemental materials that weren’t district sponsored.

“Every kid has the text the district provides,” Jensen said.

Another parent asked if the district had followed state law in regards to the closure of Mountain View. He asked if the proper public hearings have been held before the school is closed.

Glenewinkel said he believes the school board has followed these procedures during the last year of discussing the district’s re-visioning plan.

“We believe we’ve exceeded it,” Glenewinkel said. He added there are two public hearings scheduled during the school board’s regular meetings on June 14 and 28. The final vote will take place in August.


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