Superintendent's Message

Message from the Superintendent - Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans January 4, 2012

 To the Meridian Community,                                                                                                                                                    January 4, 2012

Yesterday the Meridian School District received some very challenging news.  We were informed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) that the funding laws, rules and formulas for school construction would most certainly be changing under two bills, HB 2184 and SB 6002, which seem to have broad bi-partisan support in the state legislature. The focus of the new legislation proposes to remove “out of district alternative education students” from the calculation for state support of school building projects. We have been informed by OSPI to plan for the impacts of the reductions in funding which are contained within this legislation. The initial projected impact of those rule changes appears to be about $12.37 million to our district.

It appears at first review, that the Meridian High School project which is currently underway would not likely be impacted.  I must emphasize that this is only a preliminary statement from OSPI and, as we have seen over the last few years, the situation can change very quickly.

What is very clear is that the Meridian Elementary School replacement project (IRPS and TMCE) and the Meridian Middle School remodel project will most certainly be impacted.  In addition, this will very likely impact the facility situation at our MP3 program as well. After receiving the information from OSPI yesterday morning the district began the process of analyzing the potential impacts of the legislation on our proposed capital projects and formulating questions for OSPI.

Yesterday afternoon we made several very specific inquiries to OPSI regarding a number of key points within the legislation and how those new regulations will impact the overall financial capacity of the district to address the facilities needs at the elementary and middle school sites.  When the picture becomes more clear, and at this time I do not know when that may be, I will work with the school board to determine the scope of the potential projects at these sites.

On a personal note I wish to express how much I have appreciated the work of the school board, staff and community in the facilities planning process. I understand that disappointment, frustration and perhaps even anger are emotions that many of us might be feeling this morning. 

This being said, there were a committed group of people who believed and worked very hard so that our district would be in a position to undertake improvements to our facilities.  We are one of a very small group of districts that have passed a bond measure in the last three years and the work on Meridian High School is underway, on time and on budget.

Working together we have made great progress in our district and tangible improvements to our facilities, technology, curricula, athletic venues and equipment.  As soon as we know what the specifics of the new legislation are, we will get right back to work figuring out how to make the very best of the funds that may remain.

As our state continues to face unprecedented financial challenges I am quite certain that there will be more modifications to the various funding streams upon which our school district depends.  We will meet that challenge, just as we have over the last four years, with hard work, creativity, and a collaborative approach to improving the educational experience for each child in our district.

I will provide more information on the capital facilities situation as it becomes available.  Thank you for your tenacity and perseverance in serving each child in light of this challenging news. 

We will keep working together to make Meridian a great place.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Timothy S. Yeomans, Superintendent