Posted by Charles Rehberg on Jan 29, 2018
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
January 29, 2018
          Congrats!: Brian Hipperson has achieved a Paul Harris Award-Plus 1 and was honored by President Chad Haverkamp at the Jan. 29 luncheon.  Brian, a member since 1979, was club president in 1990-91.  His dad, Roy, was club president in 1968-69.
          Surveys due: President Haverkamp said on-line club survey questions about membership, meals, board positions and other topics will be sent later this week.  Responses are requested by Feb. 12.
Levies are for learning, and ballots
          As placards, mail and yard signs all over in Spokane, Mead and Central Valley it’s school district levy time.
          Ballots have been mailed and returns are due by Feb. 13 in most affected districts.
          At the Jan. 29 luncheon, District 81 Supt. Shelley Redinger and Associated Supt. Mark Anderson detailed the three-year levy proposal.  District 81 does not have a new bond issue this spring, though continuing bond funding will continue on several new buildings and other items.
          Board Secretary Melinda Keberle, principal at Eagle Peak School, introduced our speakers.
          Redinger is a Spokane native and also lived in Chewelah.  Her bachelor’s and master’s degree were from Washington State and her doctorate was from the University of South Carolina.  After leading the Spotsylvania, Virginia, district, she joined Spokane Schools in 2012.
          Anderson heads School Support Services operations and long-range improvement planning.  He supervises directors for budget and finance, school construction, custodial services,
maintenance and information, safety and security, nutrition services, payroll and voice communications.  His bachelor’s degree was from Seattle Pacific, with a master’s from Central Washington and a doctorate from the University of  Oregon. He joined District 81 in 1994.
          The district covers 82 square miles and has 5,000 employees.  Redinger said languages in Spokane now total 77, up from 49 languages when she came in 2012.
           She reminded the group of the long-time school motto: “levies are for learning; bonds are for building.”  The second stanza adds that levy passages need 50 percent, while bonds need 60 percent passage.
          If there is another theme, it’s “M is for McCleary.”  That’s the state supreme court mandated issue on school size.  Adding full-time kindergarden to the mix, means expanding new schools and seeking several elementary and middle school buildings.
          At least local residents get some levy relief this year with state-ordered support for districts in less wealthy venues than richer environs in Puget Sound districts.
          Essentially the “levy replacement” issues – requiring less tax rate revenues.  For example, the 2018 rate of $3.77 per $1,000 assessments would, if passed, cut the rate to $1.50 per $1,000 in each of the next three years.
          The 2018 levy funded $69.5 million; the next three levies would be $32 million, $35 million and $$38 million.  The lower rate helps “property poor” districts like Spokane.
          The levy relief, Anderson said, “will be a big step this June.”  He said the state share of levies were 10 percent, but now could go to 24  percent “to even the playing field for districts not in the Puget Sound.”
          Redinger said District 81 had 32,000 students several years ago, then dipped to 28,000 and now is rebuilding to 30,000.
          To accommodate growing enrollment and lower class size – K-to 3rd grade are down to 17 students per class – the district is looking for school possibilities everywhere, from Beacon Hill in Hillyard, to Albi Stadium and from crowded Mullan Road in South Spokane to Linwood Elementary, which formerly was in the Mead District.  An elementary in the Qualchan area near Eagle Ridge is also possibility if overpasses can be built for safe transportation. 
          Anderson noted that the state has not funded projects yet to support school expansion.
          Asked about charter schools, Redinger said the two now running are doing well, but another state supreme court case is at stake.  She said finding adequate facilities for new charter schools also is an issue.
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Eric Johnson
Program coordinator: Brad Stark