The Seaside School District’s budget process for the 2015-16 school year came to a conclusion when the board of directors approved an approximately $21 million budget and passed a resolution to help establish a local option tax.
At its regular meeting Tuesday, the board voted unanimously to approve an overall budget of $21,031,919, making no changes to the budget proposed by staff and approved by the district’s budget committee.
The general fund includes an approximately 4.7 percent increase from the adopted 2014-15 general fund budget, or an increase of about $17.58 million to $18.406 million. The general fund covers all operating costs.
The overall budget also includes about $2.3 million in special revenue and $201,000 for capital projects, such as a roofing project for Gearhart Elementary School’s gym, two roof packs at Broadway Middle School, addressing ADA compliance issues, engineering and construction of walls at Seaside Heights Elementary School and a restroom renovation at Seaside High School. The full budget can be viewed online at the Seaside School District’s website.
The district also is pursuing a successive local option tax, formerly titled a levy, in November 2015. The board voted unanimously on a resolution for the district to call a measure election to submit to the district’s electors to renew a five-year local option tax to provide funds to finance certain district operations.
In November 2010, voters in the district approved a local option tax at the rate of $0.52 per $1,000 of assessed value for five years beginning July 1, 2011, and ending June 30, 2016. According to the resolution, the board has determined there is need to continue this level of funding for district operations at the same rate over the next five-year period following the expiration of the current five-year operating tax. The district is calling for a measure election to give local electors the ability to vote to renew the local option tax through June 30, 2021, at the current fixed rate.
At the meeting, the board also approved new English Language Development and English Language Arts curriculum for the elementary schools and middle school for the 2015-16 school year. The Oregon Department of Education has a seven-year cycle for schools to introduce new curriculum at a rate of one subject per year; school districts have the option of asking for a one- or two-year delay. Last year, the Seaside School District asked for an extension on adopting new ELA and ELD material and will do the same for math curriculum this year.
The district’s Literacy Committee led the charge on reviewing options given by the state to choose the best curriculum to fulfill several criteria, such as meeting Common Core state standards, balancing fiction and nonfiction and representing all students served at local schools. In the process of making a selection, committee members reviewed the state’s list of options, met with vendors, viewed online materials, asked teachers to pilot units in their classrooms and slowly whittled down the options. The committee chose Reach for Reading, a National Geographic reading and language arts program, for the elementary schools’ ELA departments. For ELD at the elementary level, the committee chose National Geographic’s Reach. One of the benefits of the curriculum, Seaside Heights Principal Sande Brown said, is Reach and Reach for Reading use the same nonfiction material, so students whose second language is English will get more exposure to the same materials, which may help close the gap between their language skills and those whose native language is English.
“With ELD sharing the same books, that will allow them to get double-dipped,” Gearhart Elementary School Principal Juli Wozniak agreed.
At the middle school level, the literacy committee chose Code X, produced by Scholastic, which specifically addresses state Common Core standards. The curriculum also fits well within the school’s class-period lengths and school-year terms and features a good selection of literature to keep the students engaged.
“I think it’s going to meet the needs of our students very well,” Broadway Middle School Principal John McAndrews said.
The high school is waiting an additional year, because a consortium of states is working together to craft a completely online curriculum that supposedly would be free for school districts, which is an opportunity the school cannot pass up, Principal Sheila Roley said. Many teachers, however, will introduce new literature and novels to the school’s collection as supplemental texts.
In other news:
• The school board formally swore in members Patrick Nofield, Steve Phillips and Mark Truax, incumbents who were re-elected to office in the May 19 Special District Election. The board voted for Steve Phillips to be chair and Mark Truax to be vice-chair.
• After a closed session, the board unanimously approved a motion to enter into an agreement with Duane Johnson Real Estate to negotiate the sale of district property on the district’s behalf.
• The board also made a motion to make a counter-offer of $20,000 to Wayne Poole, who, on behalf of the Marianne Poole Trust, made an offer of $18,250 to purchase 1,912 square feet of school district property adjacent to his parent’s former residence at 2015 North Holladay Drive. The purpose of the acquisition, according to a letter from Poole to the school district, is to “resolve the property boundary issues between my parent’s former residence and the adjoining school district property.” The district estimated the property to be worth closer to $22,000 — when considered within the context of the whole lot — and decided to split the difference in its counter-offer, Superintendent Doug Dougherty said.