Name of Observer: Robin Porter
Observed Meeting: South Whidbey School Board
Date of Meeting: Aug. 30, 2023
Members present: Directors Andrea Downs, Joe Greenheron, Marnie Jackson, Ann Johnson, Brook Willeford, Superintendent Jo Moccia, Student Members Audrey Gmerek and Katya Schiavone, Principals John Patton, Kayla Phillips, Dr. Jeff Fankhauser, and Susie Richards, Assistant Superintendent Dan Poolman, and Communications Director Kristina Macarro.
Members absent: None
Others present (staff, media, public): This meeting was observed via zoom, and there appeared to
be approximately four people in the audience.
Summarize the main issues discussed at the meeting:
Assistant Superintendent Dan Poolman presented the following financial report summary:
General Fund $ 5,234,027.96
Capital Projects Fund $2,058,503.27
Debt Service Fund $ 1,489.60
Associated Student Body Fund $ 69,776.79
Transportation Fund $151,689.15
Private Purpose Trust Fund $ 805,437.93
Poolman has stated previously that the district’s budget continues to be adversely affected by inflation, declining enrollment (since the 1990s), and loss of federal funds (pandemic aid). A final budget was due to OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) by this August (2023). The most recent school bond vote failed by 129 votes (it’s required that a bond vote pass by a 60% majority).
School lunch prices: The board voted in favor of gradually raising the school lunch cost by 5 cents each year, rather than to raise these all at once by 25 cents. The school lunch calculations are set by OSPI at a rate of $3.62, with the federal rate being $4.33 for free and reduced lunches.
SWSD Superintendent Jo Moccia and Assistant Superintendent Dan Poolman have consolidated three more roles within the district: Moccia’s responsibilities now include serving as Director of Special Education; and Poolman’s responsibilities have expanded to include Director of Maintenance and Director of Human Resources. This occurred when two positions- one, a half time position and another, a part time principal position closed. They anticipate that this will be a cost savings to SWSD of about $200,000 annually.
The Mother Mentor non-profit group’s lease at South Campus was approved for the upcoming year. The organization will be leasing more space and paying the SWSD a commensurate rate.
SWSD is waiting on an anticipated electric charging station and electric school bus. Arrival is expected in October 2023. The SWSD has also joined with a consortium of smaller WA school districts in applying for a second electric school bus. The route the new bus will take has not yet been determined. There was discussion that hilly routes should be avoided; that the bus’s use may be rotated between several routes so that as many students as possible may get to ride.
List any issues on the agenda relevant to any LWV state or local positions or programs:
(League positions can be found here.
Do you recommend local League action or study on any of these issues? No
If ‘yes’ what action do you recommend? NA
Was the meeting conducted in an open, business-like, and civil manner? Yes
Consider the following questions and respond if relevant:
Was the agenda made available prior to and at the meeting? Yes
Did members adhere to the provided agenda? Yes
Were any non-agenda items discussed? No
Was there adequate discussion of issues? Yes
Were any “Executive Sessions” called? Yes, for “negotiations.” An executive session followed the Board’s business meeting, to discuss negotiations for one hour.
Was there adequate opportunity for public input? Yes.
Was background material available to the public? Yes.
Did any member recuse themselves during the meeting? No
If yes, for what reason? NA
List any other concerns or observations: None
Observer E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date submitted: Sept. 4, 2023