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Message from the Superintendent

Dear families,

 

When I began the role of superintendent in July 2021, we immediately began a community-led process to explore the urgent facility needs in the district. After 18 months of review, the committee made a recommendation to the Board of Directors which became the 2023 bond. After unsuccessful attempts, your feedback helped to inform priorities and reduce the bond amount in 2024. Although a majority of voters approved these measures, none reached the 60 percent supermajority required to pass. The most recent bond is currently sitting at 55.71 percent yes vote and is unlikely to pass. Going back to 1995, the district has put forth 11 bond measures before voters. Just one did not have a majority (50 percent) approve. However, in those 29 years, we have successfully passed two bonds. 

The district does not make these asks lightly and recognizes the impact on your bottom line. I’ve never known a time where every family feels flush with cash. Many continue to struggle to balance their budget every month. As I shared in our mailer, this request represented dire needs in our system that directly impact our students. I am happy to see more voter engagement and more votes in favor of support than we did last year.

The state does not provide money for districts to build new school buildings or maintain, repair, or upgrade existing facilities. Districts must periodically ask their local community to approve bonds for school construction and capital facility improvements. The Board and I will continue to fight for increased resources from the county and state levels to help support growth. But, it will never be enough to take care of our needs without local support.

Over the summer and into next school year, we will add portable classrooms at our elementary schools and our high school. This will bring on additional learning space for the 2024-25 school year and beyond. However, this does not alleviate many of the concerns we shared in our communication about the bond. Issues related to parking, traffic, and crowded facilities will persist. Classrooms will be in the 80s to 90s as temperatures creep up. We will not be able to expand facilities for career-related education as we had hoped.

As our Board of Directors has previously indicated, the earliest we may run another bond would be during the 2024-25 school year in the November 2024 general election. Your voice is always valued. The Board and I would appreciate any feedback you may have related to this bond package. You can share your thoughts and feedback with the Board at schoolboard@orting.wednet.edu or with me at hatzenbelere@orting.wednet.edu. Thank you for walking this journey with us as we continue to strive to support every child. 

In partnership with you,

Ed…

Posted 2/15/2024