Peninsula district board talks finances, curriculum

Board sets tentative dates in June for community meetings

Staff writerApril 16, 2014 

The Peninsula School District Board of Directors talked about the budget, financing measures and curriculum at its regular meeting Thursday night at Key Peninsula Middle School.

Before the meeting started, students from KPMS unveiled a new mural outside the school. The mural is by the Two Waters Arts Alliance after-school arts club at KPMS. School board members, district officials and parents were on hand for the dedication.

The board has set tentative dates for special meetings to address the financing measures, which will be on the ballot in August. Meetings likely will be June 9, 10 and 11. The meetings will be similar to community meetings in January to discuss funding measures.

The district has two measures on the upcoming August ballot: A bond and a levy. Both include capital financing, but should both measures pass, there is a contingency that the levy amount will be reduced to only fund technology.

Board member David Olson asked the district superintendent whether it was possible to commission drafts of new buildings. Should the bond or levy or both pass, a new school would be built on district-owned land in Gig Harbor North. There will also be a new building for Artondale Elementary. Olson said that having a visual aid for the financing campaign would help.

“People have told me that they really would have liked to have seen what the school was going to look like,” Olson said.

Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said money isn’t available for the district to commission preliminary drawings.

Olson said he wanted to get work underway so the projects can begin immediately after the election.

Cuzzetto said that site drawings won’t take much time — it’s more of a matter of money. With the financing measures, Cuzzetto said the district would start right away on new buildings.

“The hope would be that we could start building in spring,” he said.

Board president Harlan Gallinger said sending out a request for qualifications might not be a bad idea as a way to get a pre-bid on the potential projects.

Cuzzetto said the district would look into what amount of staff time an RFQ would take.

The board also heard a brief update on the district budget for the 2014-2015 school year. Chief Financial Officer Karen Andersen said the district is still waiting for final numbers on state funding. The board will hear more on the budget in May.

Much of the meeting was curriculum-focused. The board heard about changes to highly capable programs due to state requirements. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction mandates that schools have highly capable programs.

Peninsula School District already has a program, but 60 percent of schools statewide do not have highly capable programs, said Claudia Thompson, academic officer.

The board will have a special work session at 5:30 p.m. April 22 at the district office. The next regular meeting for the board is 6 p.m. May 8 at Discovery Elementary.

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