Message from the Superintendent - February 5, 2019

Dr. YeomansTo Our Puyallup Community,

Over the course of many previous weeks I have had the occasion to speak with the Puyallup School District Board of Directors, staff members, and students about the extensive work taking place in the Puyallup School District to improve the education of our children and young adults. The construction of many new school buildings scheduled for opening in the fall of 2019 are all on time and on budget and will greatly enhance our community. The expansion of educational technology in the form of one-to-one computer devices for all students grades 4-12 and increased technology access for our youngest children will transform the manner in which our students are able to access educational materials and enhance their learning. The district will also create new opportunities for families of pre-school age children and continue our growth of before- and after-school care at all elementary locations in the coming years. In addition, the expansion of highly capable opportunities at all levels, partnerships with higher education providers, and industry-standard career and technical education programs will continue their growth in Puyallup.

As you are all aware, this past fall in our district brought many challenges. The manner in which the new education funding laws brought forth by the legislature in Washington impacted Puyallup and our neighboring districts in ways we had not seen before. Discrepancies in funding formulas from the state have placed the district in a situation where providing compensation to our employees that is equitable when compared to other school districts in the Puget Sound region created budgetary challenges that will reach many years into the future. These challenges will not only be felt in Puyallup, but by many school districts in the South Sound region.

I want the community to know that, as superintendent, I am deeply committed to the well-being of our students and staff members and the long-term health and stability of the school district. Sometimes these interests appear to compete with one another. This has caused some hard feelings and challenges and is a situation we will need to work together as a community to solve moving forth.

Earlier this week I had a discussion with the Board of Directors where I shared with them it is my intention to retire from the Puyallup School District and state of Washington in June 2020, at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 school year. The Board was very thoughtful in their responses, and they have graciously accepted my proposal to complete the remaining 17 months of my employment with the district and see to fruition the many projects that are in process at the current time. The Board also expressed the intention to retain a search firm for the hiring and transition of a new superintendent beginning in just a few months.

Knowing there will be a transition in the superintendent role provides the district the opportunity to come together, have very meaningful conversations, and collectively address the question of how the entire community would like to move forward in the future. What long-term goals and near-term solutions shall be considered? How will ongoing financial pressures impact the district over the next few years? Most importantly, what will be necessary to build upon the good work done by all in the recent past? Working together, these conversations can serve to help with understanding and provide for a very positive transition in the near future.

My purpose in sharing this information now is to allow us all to focus upon the work of the district and the conversations that will need to occur as we, as a community, focus on the future. It is my hope, and that of the Board, that we will be able to successfully negotiate contracts with all of our employee groups with open contracts this year. We will also need to work together to pass the bond measure for the expansion and safety and security upgrade to our high schools in February of 2020. I am committed, over the next 17 months, to seeing through the many capital projects, opening of new schools, enhanced curricular programs, and early childhood initiatives which are currently underway. When the transition occurs in June of 2020 I am very hopeful the district will be in a very positive place to move forward with new leadership having a plan for the future of the district and community that can build on the work we have all done together.

Thank you for your work with our children and service to our community every day.

Tim

Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans, Superintendent
Puyallup School District