Planning for the future, whether it be adopting new curriculum, preparing balanced budgets, or identifying and responding to facility needs, is a thorough process that is successful in large part due to the involvement of parents, students, and community members who volunteer countless hours offering their input and expertise. For the past year, for example, a 28-member Citizens Bond Planning Committee spent nearly 50 hours researching how to relieve the acute overcrowding that exists — especially in many of our elementary schools — due to surging enrollment growth.
This growth comes as no surprise to the district, which receives annual reports from a demographer who, after a detailed examination of local and regional trends related to birth rates, enrollment, and housing construction, shares growth predictions to assist us in our planning. Since 2007, the district has tried four times to garner the 60 percent voter approval necessary to pass a school bond to build new or add more space at existing schools. While a majority of voters approved the proposals, all fell short of the 60 percent supermajority required by state law for passage. The hard-working Citizens Bond Planning Committee presented to the school board last month a recommendation of projects to be considered for a potential new school bond measure. This group’s extensive planning efforts build on those of several past citizens committees that have used demographic, land use, population growth, financial, and legal information to craft thoughtful recommendations. The board is expected to consider the committee’s work this month during its April 20 meeting.
As was shown with the last voter approved school bond in 2004 and the last two voter-approved school levy measures in 2014, the district is able, through extremely thorough planning and preparation, to bring proposed projects to improve facilities, technology, and educational programs to fruition on time and on budget. For this record of stewardship, the Puyallup School District has received praise and commendations on our financial processes and fiscal responsibility.
The district received its twelfth consecutive perfect audit last year, for example, and it refinanced remaining long-term debt in 2012 that amounted to more than $23 million of savings to our taxpayers. Planning is also ongoing in the district’s regular and thorough examination of changes in municipal and other governmental agency laws, policies, and regulations that have a direct impact on how children are educated and served. The district makes every effort to be both responsive to and supportive of these changes whether they were part of the planning process or occurred without prior notice. It is important that our community is aware that the Puyallup School Board and the district are deeply committed to careful planning, as well as continuing to be excellent stewards of our public resources. As always, your ongoing support of our schools and children is appreciated!