Name of Observer: Robin Porter
Observed Meeting: South Whidbey School Board
Date of Meeting: Sept. 27, 2023
Members present: Directors Andrea Downs, Joe Greenheron, Marnie Jackson, Ann Johnson, Brook Willeford, Superintendent Jo Moccia, Student Members Katya Schiavone and Carter McKnight, Principals John Patton, Kayla Phillips, and Susie Richards, Assistant Superintendent Dan Poolman, and Communications Director Kristina Macarro.
Members absent: None
Others present (staff, media, public): Rose Hughes, Goosefoot Finance Director
Summarize the main issues discussed at the meeting:
Rose Hughs of the nonprofit organization – Goosefoot – made a presentation to the board regarding the Island Roots Housing project in Langley. This project is planned to construct 14 affordable housing units in Langley. School board members stated that affordable housing is a “major concern” for school staff, as SWSD has lost teachers due to the lack of affordable housing within the South Whidbey community. SWSD is one of the top three employers in the South Whidbey community. Currently, the project is in the “preconstruction phase,” Hughs said. The project is being financed by the WA State Housing Trust Fund and a grant from Island County. Estimated rent/cost of a two-bedroom unit will be $1,504. This is based on a HUD formula that estimates 80% of the Island County median income. A community workshop was held in August in which 73 participated. Public survey results may be viewed at islandrootshousing.org
A collective bargaining agreement was reached between SWSB and the two unions which represent school staff: SEIU and PSE. Both memorandums passed, though one board member abstained as he stated he had not yet seen the final contract. The new contract included “a wage increase of .3% and a retention bonus for one year only,” according to SWSD Superintendent Jo Moccia.
SWSB Assistant Superintendent Dan Poolman presented the monthly finance report:
Fund Balances Summary
General Fund $ 5,100,001.34
Capital Projects Fund $1,978,709.90
Debt Service Fund $ 1491.76
Associated Student Body Fund $ 81,150.43
Transportation Fund $679,034.32
Private Purpose Trust Fund $ 806,239.33
FTE Budget for 23-24 Sept 2023 Sept 2023 YTD Avg
Enrollment 1,106.00 1,106.29 1,106.29 1,106.29
He reports that the property taxes are “basically flat,” and that the state funding is based on FTE. An unexpected expense, Poolman said, was the repair of a septic system.
The charging station to be used by the SWSD’s electric bus has arrived. The District expects to soon receive the new bus.
A 10-year facilities study, required by WA state, was authorized by the board. The contract is with the Integrus company for $87,720 to cover the whole 10-year span. Integrus is the architectural firm that has done recent preliminary work for SWSD.
A new “Transition to Kindergarten” program began this school year with 16 students. This is a program which prepares students for Kindergarten entry in the upcoming school year. Students must meet specific criteria to qualify for the program. Currently it has reached full capacity.
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? No
Was there adequate opportunity for public input? No, members of the public requested time to address the School Board at the meeting.
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: NA
Observer E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Date submitted: Sept. 29, 2023