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Enumclaw levy on Tuesday’s ballot

Enumclaw levy on Tuesday’s ballot

For Enumclaw School District voters who haven’t mailed their ballot yet, the 4RKids Committee is hosting another informational meeting at 7 tonight, Wednesday, at Thunder Mountain Middle School.

It will be one of the last chances to ask questions and get information, other than online, about the district’s $8.4 million capital facilities and technology levy that will appear on Tuesday’s ballot.

Unlike past elections, Tuesday’s levy vote is mail-in only and polls in the area will not be open. Voters must mail their ballot or drop it at the Black Diamond Library, 24707 Roberts Dr., before Tuesday.

The district needs a simple majority – 50 percent plus one voter – to pass the levy.

Those who cannot attend tonight’s meeting may be able to get questions answered at the district’s Web site, www.enumclaw.wednet.edu, or by watching the Superintendent’s Report on Enumclaw TV or streaming the video on their computer from the city’s Web site, www.ci.enumclaw.wa.us.

The levy, if passed, will purchase technology and pay for a new roof at Enumclaw Middle School and updated heating systems at EMS, the high school and Westwood Elementary School.

The district would not begin collecting money for the four-year levy until 2010. Plans call for collections to be front-loaded to cover the more expensive construction projects right away, so the first year will will see $2.9 million collected at a rate if 87 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay $261 a year. By 2013, that number will be $1.2 million at a rate of 33 cents per $1,000, or $99 for the owner of a $300,000 home.

White River board to discuss budget

The White River School Board is planning a workshop to discuss its 2009-10 budget at 6 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, at the Glacier Middle School library.

This meeting is open to the public, but is not set up for public comment or discussion, and there is no action planned.

The agenda includes a 60-minute session on the White River High School’s refocus and master schedule work and will be followed by approximately 90-minute focus on the 2009-10 preliminary budget recommendations.

WASL will likely undergo change

State Superintendent Randy Dorn unveiled his plans for a new state assessment system beginning in 2010, including the replacement of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). Superintendent Dorn released details of his plan at a press conference in his offices Jan. 21.

“I was elected on a promise to replace the WASL with a fairer, less expensive system of measuring student learning. This announcement today affirms my intention to do what’s right for our kids and our schools and to deliver on that promise as quickly as is possible,” said Dorn, who was sworn in as the state’s 15th superintendent of public instruction on Jan. 14.

Because of time constraints, Dorn said no changes can be made to the WASL during this school year. However, beginning in spring 2010, the state will replace the WASL with two new tests: the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) in grades 3-8 and the High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE).

The new state assessment system will be called the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP). Dorn has six goals related to state testing:

• Shorten the tests

• Reduce the amount of time students spend on written responses

• Return scores more quickly

• Increase the use of technology (statewide computer testing)

• Provide more diagnostic information (strengths and weaknesses) to teachers/families

• Minimize costs

Dorn’s plan calls for computer-delivered reading, math and science tests to be available as an option to school districts beginning in 2010 with the goal of statewide implementation by 2012. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will look closely at the feasibility of computerized scoring of the writing test. That would further reduce costs.

“We need a state testing system that makes sense to teachers, students and families,” Dorn said. “Our tests need to be tied to technology and provide immediate feedback to teachers so they can better assist their students. Computerizing the tests will also require far less resources, both in time and money.”

The grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress tests will be offered twice each school year, beginning in the fall of 2010. This allows students the opportunity to show proficiency more than once and provides diagnostic and educational growth information to better support individualized teaching plans.

The High School Proficiency Exams will be shorter and contain significantly fewer extended answer questions. Computerizing the tests will also allow a much faster turnaround on results, allowing students, teachers and families more timely information on those students who need to be retested. Additionally, computerizing the tests will save school districts significant resources in time, money and staffing when administering the tests.

To learn more about Superintendent Dorn’s plan for a new state assessment system and to view supplemental materials, please visit the OSPI Home Page at www.k12.wa.us, or click on the links in the box above.

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