San Juan Island School District meetings recap

Submitted by the San Juan Island School District

This is the first of a regular installment of San Juan Island School District School Board meeting recaps.

Nov. 29 regular meeting:

• The district celebrated Brent Snow’s eight years of service to our schools. Former School Board Director Boyd Pratt continued the long-standing tradition of reading a poem to commemorate the end of a term, and Snow topped off the celebration with a second poem and selected words of wisdom.

• Two new board directors were inducted, Sarah Werling-Sandwith, position 1 and Barbara Bevens, position 2.

• The Friday Harbor High School Hiking Club’s annual Grand Canyon trip was approved for spring break.

• The procedure for the Staff-Board-Superintendent Communication Policy, 1620P, was accepted.

• Superintendent Danna Diaz, Ph.D., shared that she has organized a community presentation of the newly released documentary “Dolores” about Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez, of the American Farmworkers Association, now known as United Farm Workers, scheduled for Jan. 29 at the San Juan Community Theatre.

Dec. 6 special meeting:

• The SJISD Board of Directors met in open session for new board director orientation.

• The superintendent shared the recently developed strategic plan.

• The communication process was reviewed with an emphasis on listening to all stakeholders, but, as a board, speaking with only one voice.

• Special programs were examined through the lenses of data, assessment and support.

• Student engagement was cited as the focus for this year.

• The public school funding model was explained. Most of the school funding from the state is based on reported student enrollment and staffing. Additional funds are funneled through the local levy (property taxes), grants from the federal government and additional targeted funding from various local sources such as Island Rec., United Way, PTA (and PTSA), Purple and Gold Club, several foundations, businesses, and citizens.

Dec. 20 regular meeting:

• The Turnbull Gym remodel was granted final approval.

• A Local Support Levy (formerly the M & O Levy) was discussed. San Juan Island School District will prepare a ballot measure for a special election in April 2018. Full figures will not be available until the state legislature finalizes changes to the McCleary Act during the next legislative session.

• The board’s proposed “values” were presented for second reading. The board will review comments from staff and a third reading will be held at the regular Jan. 31 board meeting.

• The superintendent shared the news that on Jan. 29, Huerta, co-founder of the United Farmworkers Movement, will be here in person at the showing of the documentary “Dolores.” Contact Diaz for further information at