District Update by Superintendent Rick Thompson
There are several items I would like to bring to your attention now that school year is well underway. First are some issues with regard to school finance. The district has begun the 2015-16 budget process. An advisory committee has been formed to explore how the district brings in federal, state, local, and private revenues, as well as how the revenues are expended. For the next several months, we will examine complex school finance issues and how they relate to district programs. The committee will include school board members, district staff, and union leaders. The work will be reviewed at school board meetings as well. To access the district's board agendas, minutes, and agenda items please see our website at www.sjisd.wednet.edu. The link is under "BoardDocs". We are carefully reviewing both the class size initiative I-1351 as well as legislative progress made due the McCleary Supreme Court decision. Please see www.waschoolexcellence.org for more information about WA school finance.
Thank you for your recent support of the annual Phone a Thon. Over $40,000 was raised for direct classroom support. See www.sjpsf.org for more details on the foundation.
The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative is well underway. You can see progress being made at the building behind the high school. Construction activities include completing the exterior siding, windows, and roofing. Fiber and electrical improvements are also underway. Structural steel has been delivered and is being installed for additional building space near the tennis courts. New technology and equipment have been ordered so that instruction will begin second semester. I want to thank Senator Ranker for spearheading this fabulous legislative gift for the island community. Many other supporters and donors are coming forward to make this program a success. The building has been designed to receive a solar array once the communities in solar program completes fundraising.
Please note the Community Fields progress continues thanks to a cooperative effort among many parties. Sidewalk work on Carter Avenue continues; so does development of the park, including new fencing, water tanks, concessions with restrooms, a maintenance facility, and field development. This would not be possible without the efforts of FHAA, Island Rec, the Town of Friday Harbor, and the school district--not to mention a generous donor for supporting the work. Expect a flyer soon explaining the donation match opportunity.
Please note the district continues to work with local health care providers to implement the District's immunization policy, and to better prepare for infectious diseases. As you have surely seen, issues of community health are front and center. The San Juan County Health Department provides ongoing updates at www.sanjuanco.com/health on a regular basis. Our staff is continuing to update immunization records and individual health care needs. The county also needs to be recognized for the ongoing support our students receive with counseling needs. I would also like to give a shout out to the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition sjipc.org for the excellent dedication to developing and implementing drug and alcohol prevention strategies for the youth of the island. At a recent board meeting I saw a list of activities and it was impressive. Please note on the district website safe schools reporting information and links should one of our students need immediate help.
Finally, please note that if school is closed or delayed due to inclemency this winter we will use the same reporting television, radio, and website avenues to inform you, gust as we have done in the past.
Don't hesitate to contact me about our district. I would love to hear from you.