Message from the Superintendent - December 1, 2015
Message from the Superintendent - December 1, 2015
Posted on 12/01/2015
SuperintendentDear Puyallup Staff,

 

I hope that each of you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Holiday with family and friends, and that you returned to our work rested and thankful for the opportunity that we have each day to serve the over 22,000 students of our community.

 

There is indeed a great deal to be thankful for in our district at the moment. With the 69.09% passage of our school construction bond, our community has very positively supported the future direction of the district as we begin our work to upgrade and expand the permanent educational facilities within the district.  Over the last three weeks the district has been working with bond rating agencies and local governmental entities to make certain that bond sales can go forth as planned and that the planning and construction processes can begin quickly as promised.

 

On Tuesday, December 8, 2015 the district is planning to sell bonds that will deposit $80 million into the capital projects fund to begin the initial projects that were outlined in the bond package (the construction of a new elementary school and the replacement of Firgrove and Northwood elementary schools, with Sunrise and Pope elementaries to follow).  In addition, the district operations department is in the process of applying for a state “class size reduction grant” which would have the possibility of providing funding for additional elementary school classrooms as well.  It is the intent of the district to move quickly and inclusively in the educational specification process for these projects. It is also our intention to garner extra funding wherever possible to enhance the very generous support of our local voters.

 

The passage of the bond and the subsequent steps that are in process will begin a five to six year period where the district as a whole will see a great deal of facility improvements and enhancements.  We are also aware that there will continue to be needs beyond the scope of the planned projects, and for this reason we are looking into the future and beginning to plan for next steps, even as the new bond package is just being moved into action.

 

In the coming weeks our School Board, which was just honored with a statewide “School Board of Distinction Award” for the second straight year, will be considering several  steps that have been in the planning for over a year.  These items for consideration include dedicating the funding  for a 1:1 electronic device initiative which would impact students in grades 4-12 and is proposed for full implementation over a four year period.  The Board is also considering funding  for a required local contribution for the before mentioned “class size reduction grant” and the next installment of funding for the continued modernization of our district bus fleet. All of these proposed initiatives which are being considered by the Board not only support the strategic direction of the Board and the district with their intended purpose, they also bring the added benefit of bringing long term operational efficiencies to our district.  It is our goal as a district whenever possible, to make improvements that bring the students, staff and community a long term return on their investment in our schools.

 

As we look forward to 2016 and 2017 there are a number of additional steps that the board will be considering.  The commissioning of a “Bond Oversight Committee” of citizens and staff to work regularly with our operations and capital facility department on the stewardship of our bond proceeds as the projects take shape will be one of these.  The board will also consider the commissioning of a “Boundary Review Committee” which will consider the location of our existing children, new construction and growth in our community and consider what the attendance boundaries for all schools (Elementary, Junior Highs and High Schools) will be as we move into the future.  These committees will perform a very important advising function to our School Board, and everyone within the district will benefit from their thoughtful and carefully considered recommendations.

 

With so much work taking place with our facilities and in the community, it is very important to remember that our main mission of making sure that each child is well prepared for a meaningful post-secondary opportunity from our schools remains our primary focus. The work of teaching our students every day, and supporting our students with food service, custodial, maintenance, transportation, security, office support, warehouse and delivery, nursing, counseling, ESA services and co-curricular opportunities is what makes our district such a great place for each child.

 

I wish to add a personal note of thanks to the staff and students of the district. During this past election we experienced a record number of our staff members who live in Puyallup partaking in the election. Thank you for voting!  We also experienced a record number of parents of our children voting in this election.  I believe strongly this was due to the relentless efforts of our staff members to “get the word out” to our community about the very real need.  This occurred with a record number of “yes votes” from our community.  Thank you for making the distribution of factual information to our parents and community members a priority!  Lastly, as many of the staff heard me say in our one-to-one conversations, there are 80 new homes a month being sold in our community.  The number one reason that most people are relocating to Puyallup with their families is the quality of the education that their children will receive.  Thank you for your fine work in making Puyallup such a positive community in which to live and work.

 

Puyallup is a great place to be!  Thank you all for your work in making it so for each child in our community.

 

Tim

 

Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans, Superintendent

Puyallup School District