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School Board thanks Capital Projects Team
School Board thanks Capital Projects Team
Posted on 09/24/2019

Board Highlights for September 23, 2019

During District Highlights, Chief Communications and Arts Officer Brian Fox shared an invitation to attend any of the several events scheduled to take place at the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts during the 2019-20 school year.

Promoting the first Culture & Arts Festival of the year, Fox invited directors to the Karshner Center on Saturday, October 12, when the Puyallup School District will host the Trappers & Pioneers Festival. This free family festival will feature music, dancing, art projects, and family activities thanks to partnerships with Fort Nisqually, Fort Steilacoom, and the Washington State History Museum. “Live entertainment will keep visitors tapping their toes and singing along” said Fox. “The free event will take place from noon to 5 p.m.”

Fox also invited directors to view the new Secretary of State’s Legacy Washington Exhibit currently on display at the Karshner Center called “1968: The Year That Rocked Washington.” Directors were invited to a grand opening and reception for this exhibit with dignitaries from the Secretary of State’s Office on Thursday, October 10 beginning at 6 p.m. Some guests will include honorees of the exhibit whose stories are portrayed. The public is welcome.

To learn more about the Karshner Museum and Center for Culture & Arts, visit their website: Karshner Center.

Next, Director of Instructional Leadership for Athletics, Health and Fitness Jim Meyerhoff provided directors with an overview of the summer athletic season featuring student athletes from Puyallup High School.

Puyallup High School started their Unified Softball program two years ago. The PHS team played in the Southwest Regionals which were held July 27. They won gold and advanced to state tournament where they were bumped up to a more challenging division. The team did not disappoint the crowd. Coming from behind with five runs late in the game, they claimed the state championship on August 18.

A small contingent of the team was present at the board meeting and were congratulated by directors with hand shakes and high Jim with teamfives.

District Highlights concluded with a chance for directors to thank the Puyallup School District Capital Projects Team.

“Thanks to community support for Puyallup children, September 4, the first day of school, was a really big day for many elementary students, staff, and parents,” said Fox. Four newly constructed or rebuilt elementary schools opened their doors to students for the first time – and they opened on time and under budget.

In 2015, voters approved a $292.5 million School Construction and Facility Improvements Bond which has added permanent classroom space for an additional 2,500 students at the elementary level. This includes a Pope Elementary remodel scheduled to open next fall, and a 12-classroom addition at Hunt Elementary which opened last fall.

As of September 4, students and staff at Dessie Evans, Firgrove, Northwood, and Sunrise elementaries are learning and teaching in new schools equipped with modern classrooms, shared project spaces, upgraded technology, and visibly controlled entry points to improve safety and security.

While each of the schools has a unique design and its own personality, they are each larger, designed for today’s learning needs, immersed with natural light, and have improved vehicle access for buses, parents, and visitors.

Mario with teamThe planning and execution of such work was only possible because of the hard work of talented people behind the scenes.

Helping honor the many staff members who made the implementation a success was Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello.

Those honored included:
Gary Frentress, Executive Director of Capital Projects
Brady Martin, Assistant Director of Construction Management
Les Gerstmann, Assistant Director of Construction Management
Larry Vandeberg, Assistant Director of Construction Management
Frank Eshpeter, Assistant Director of Construction Management
Mike Meadows, Assistant Director of Construction Management
Debbie Haworth, Administrative Assistant
Heidi Ashlock, Facilities Use Specialist
Randy Averill, Executive Director of Capital Technology Operations
Andrea Goetsch, Project Expeditor
Frankie Topasna, Project Management Technology Specialist
Larry Klingele, Critical Building Systems Specialist
Mark Pitsinger, Critical Systems Technician
Tom Shields, Construction Project Management Specialist
Judy Piger, Director, Educational Planning/Principal
Connie Thompson, Administrative Assistant
Kim Newstrom, Administrative Assistant
Nancy Oliver, Office Professional
Kristina Keenan, Specialist
Melissa Brassard, Specialist
Phillip Anderson, Director, Maintenance
Jack Widmann, Director, Operations
Brian Devereux, Director, Facilities Planner
Darrell Petorak, Maintenance Specialist Planner
Josh Hatt, Operations Supervisor
Katie Dickinson, Project Management Systems Coordinator

Additional thoughts shared by Superintendent Yeomans highlighted the excellent stewardship of taxpayers money. “We promised our community seven projects, and we’re going to deliver 14 projects for the same money,” said Yeomans. “That only happens because every single nickel is looked after every day. The team in front of you has overdelivered for this community in a way that happens nowhere.”

Board President Chris Ihrig also praised the Capital Projects team saying, “Each one of you has been amazing . . . thank you for all your dedication and for working together.”

To read more about the opening of new schools and see photos in a gallery, visit the PSD website: Four new elementary schools opening September 4.

Board Policy Updates – Directors were presented with the second reading of school board policies which have been revised due to legislative changes, suggestions by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA), or to implement district efficiencies and effective use of available resources.

Assistant Superintendent Casey Cox provided directors with a review of the changes being recommended.

Policy 6102 - District Fund Raising Activities

Directors approved the changes as presented. To view the talking points used, visit PSD website: Policy review talking points.

Report – Chief Communications and Arts Officer Brian Fox presented an overview of the communications plan developed by the PSD Communications and Information Department for the upcoming Bond Election.

Dr. Fox shared the goals of the Communications and Information Department including:
1. Consistently and effectively provide stakeholders in the Puyallup community with current and relevant information about the work of students and staff in the Puyallup School District.
2. Consistently and effectively promote the Puyallup School District as the best education choice for students and parents, an asset within the community, and a responsible steward of taxpayer's money.
3. Consistently and effectively engage members of the community in support of students and staff in the Puyallup School District.

Of note are the several ways the Puyallup School District provides stakeholders with access to information including:
The PSD website is the centerpiece for all communications efforts, the home base for all school information and all school district information, and a resource to all who are interested in finding information about the district.
The district uses a variety of communications tools to maximize reach and engagement with a diverse population of stakeholders including social media, printed newsletters, digital newsletters, email, phone calls, and texting.
The district maintains proactive media relations practices to promote the district’s primary purposes.

Dr. Fox used several visuals to support his presentation. To view these slides, including links to videos and posted stories, visit the PSD website: Bond campaign presentation.

Report – Chief Operations Officer Mario Casello presented a report on a proposed aquatic center to serve the entire district and community at Rogers High School.

Casello reviewed masterplans for each of the high schools as developed by the Bond Advisory Committee (BAC). These were developed using information from the Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee’s (CFAC) work done in preparation for the 2015 Bond program. The masterplans were used as a starting point for the high school needs.

Within the masterplans is the vetting of an aquatic center for the district. With a regionalized configuration in place, an aquatic center is seen as something that could serve the district and community well. The Puyallup High School masterplans would include relocating the gymnasium to attach it to the main building to support a safer and more secure campus. In doing so, the district would add a second 25-yard pool to the current pool at Rogers High School. The district would then have Sparks Stadium as a regional facility to serve all three high schools (in Region 3), a gymnastic center located on Emerald Ridge High School’s campus (in Region 1) and an aquatic center located on Rogers High School’s campus (in Region 2).

To see the slides used in this report, including drawings of each high school campus, visit the PSD website: Aquatic Center report.

Report - Director of Business Services Laura Marcoe presented directors with financial statements for July 2019. Key messages included the following:

In July, scholarships amounting to approximately $61,100 were paid out of the Private Purpose Trust Fund. A total of 70 scholarship recipients across all four high schools received awards ranging from $100 to $2,000.
General Fund expenditures exceeded revenue, markedly decreasing the fund balance. The fund balance is expected to decline through the end of the fiscal year.
The Transportation Vehicle, Capital Projects, Debt Service, Private Purpose Trust, and ASB Funds are all operating as expected.

To view the July 2019 Financial Statements, visit the PSD website: July 2019 Financial Statements.

Public Comment - Several people addressed the board during the public comment portion of the agenda. The board welcomes the public to its regular meetings. If you wish to address the school Board, please fill out a blue comment card upon arrival and give it to the board president or any administrator. Your name will be called by the board president. Public comments are limited to three minutes each. See the Puyallup School Board brochure for guidelines.

Action – Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Amie Brandmire reported the district had reached a tentative agreement with the Puyallup Education Support Professionals Association (PESPA). The PESPA employees ratified their tentative agreement for September 1, 2019 – August 31, 2021.

Directors approved the PESPA Collective Bargaining Agreement as presented.

Human Resources Report – The Human Resources report approved by the school board can be found on the HR webpage

Upcoming meetings – The next meeting of the Puyallup School District Board of Directors will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 7, 2019, at Ferrucci Junior High, 3213 Wildwood Park Drive, Puyallup, WA 98374.