The following are highlights from the Dec. 11 board study session and regular meeting.
During its regular meeting, the board selected First Creek Middle School as the name for the new middle school at Portland Avenue, after narrowing the list of the possible names to First Creek, Salish and Fred Haley. First Creek symbolizes the revitalization of the community and its transformation to a safe and attractive place to raise and educate children. First Creek was a salmon stream and is the first creek on the Puyallup River. The Puyallup Tribe’s first and main village was located at the mouth of the creek. The creek is currently being revitalized and cleaned up. Future plans include planting native plants, putting in a walking trail and placing signs that explain the natural and human history of the area.
The board approved the hiring of Dr. Brenda McBrayer of Colorado as the interim principal at Truman Middle School. McBrayer served as an executive director of middle schools in Colorado. Prior to that, she worked for the Federal Way and Franklin Pierce school districts.
The board approved it reorganization with the following changes:
Kim Golding, president;
Debbie Winskill, vice president
Kim Golding, Legislative representative
Jim Dugan and Kurt Miller, Citizens’ Finance and Audit Committee
At a 5 p.m. study session on Dec. 11, administrators presented updates on Camp Joshua Taylor on the Key Peninsula, Lincoln Tree Farm in Pierce County and the future use of the old Gray Middle School and Gault Middle School.
District outdoor education sites
The condition of the property and remaining buildings at Camp Taylor would require considerable repairs to make it viable for outdoor education programs. Board members requested that Camp Taylor property be appraised and that the board be provided with past and current values and market projections so they can determine whether it is more cost effective to retain the property or sell it.
Anita Jinks, director, Career and Technical Education, provided an update on Lincoln Tree Farm, also used for outdoor education, and the agreement with Green River Community College, which has proved very beneficial. The college recently helped with a successful timber harvest. A possible use for the tree farm would be as a site for classes for the Pierce County Skills Center. In addition, Jinks said the district is looking into partnerships with other colleges and universities in light of the focus on future green jobs.
Future use of Gault and Gray middle schools
Administrators discussed the future use of Gault and the old Gray middle schools. Gault would be needed as a swing school when Stewart Middle School is modernized. Using Gray as a swing school for Baker Middle School students is one option, and district personnel are exploring other options. Both Stewart and Baker are scheduled for work in 2010-12 if the bond measure passes. A concern is how Gray and Gault would be used and/or kept in usable condition until that time if used to temporarily house students from Stewart or Baker while their schools are modernized or constructed.
Superintendent Art Jarvis updated the board on the costs for paraeducators for kindergarten classes and professional development for kindergarten teachers. He recommended that the board not consider adding kindergarten paraeducators at this time due to budget projections.
The superintendent also recommended that the board develop a policy for schools that want to solicit donations for specific purposes.
Other board actions:
The board held a public hearing at 6 p.m. on the Performance Audit Report of School District Travel Practices.
At its regular meeting, the board also approved:
- The agreement between the Tacoma School District No. 10 and the Hilltop Artists in Residence for the period of Sept. 1, 2008, through Aug. 31, 2011, for programs at both Wilson High School and Jason Lee Middle School.
- The ecology interagency agreement which provides funding to remove soil from areas adjacent to field and/or play areas and replace the topsoil and grass at Downing, Point Defiance, Wainwright and Whittier elementary schools.
- The pay increase for middle school coaches for the 2008-09 school year.
The board adopted the amendment to Resolution No. 1809 to include authorization for the superintendent to apply for a waiver to use Gault Middle School building for educational purposes, if required, as temporary housing of students while school facilities are being modernized or constructed.
The board authorized:
- The superintendent to approve the award of the telecommunications project for the new Portland Avenue middle school to EZ Interface.
- Three initiatives related to contracting for construction projects:
- Participating in a training program provided by the Seattle School District’s Small Business Development Program.
- Implementing job order contracting (RCW 39.10)
- Requiring general contractors either be ready to award a percentage of subcontract work to MWBE/HUB businesses or demonstrate that subcontract bids from MWBE/HUB businesses are not competitive.
The board proclaimed January 2009 as School Board Recognition Month.
The next regular board meeting will be held on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 6 p.m.