January 23, 2018
Meeting was called to order at 7:30am. Paul Martin led the flag salute.
Sam from WorkSource (new Director of Strategies for Success program), Sandy Long (PA School Board), Doug Oaks (retired), Richard Wade (resident).
Peggy N provided a “Thought of the Day”.
Dues are due! You can also pay online.
Jim McEntire has resigned from the Board. Kevin Hoult is Chair of the committee to nominate a new board member. If interested, contact current President Matthew Rainwater or 2017 President Kevin Hoult.
Matthew announced the upcoming Lincoln Day dinner on February 24.
Julie Hatch announced the Boys & Girls Club event.
Betsy Schultz announced Captain Joseph House has received $250k in funding.
Debbie Swanson announced the annual EDC dinner on February 23.
Jack G moved to accept January 16 minutes, second by Paul Martin. Motion carried.
Program – Port Angeles School District Levy
Steve Methner of PA School Board & Dan Schottefer of Citizens for Affordable Schools
Dan’s Opening: The levy is unnecessary. Seniors can’t afford it. 51% of parents who are on lunch assistance can’t afford a tax hike. Nothing in school funding law requires a specific teacher to student ratio. District lost 20% of students from 1997 to 2007. Current enrollment is almost 500 less students vs predictions. Fairview closed. How could all 5 elementary be overcrowded? Modular construction could save 35% or more. Remodeling always costs less. Having 300 students at Stevens will also require more staff.
Steve’s Opening: In 2015 people said to have a long term plan for all schools in stages, have no bond interest, and keep vocational programs. The levy will be efficient, contribute to local jobs, create facilities that are safe. This is what the people asked for. Stevens allows 6th grade to go to the middle school as a best model practice. There is no extra cost for classrooms and fire sprinklers are needed as well as to be made earthquake safe. Why happened to the ask for a new high school? Maintenance said it can wait, the timing was all planned. Voters mandated smaller class sizes. This is a 3-stage, 12 year plan. CLT could possibly be used, good for local economy.
Dan: Genuine overcrowding means Fairview could be another school. At this point levy is unnecessary. Stop75%tax.com has more details.
Steve: School taxation has moving parts, another levy is going down by more than 100% in 2019. Our local programs & operations levy will be about .38 – .60 less than 2017.
Kaj: Is there a lower cost of the project? What would it cost to put Fairview back in operation? For $200k we can put up new modular buildings.
Steve: Fairview is not a big school, only 2 classes per grade. Always less to remodel but a small school is less efficient, won’t work for future expansion. Closer to $300k for modular. We want to make a statement that shows pride in our schools.
Dan: It’s not about feelings. There is lots of room to put more classrooms at Fairview. Most of the growth is on east side of PA so it makes more sense. $3-5 million cost per his research. CLT we don’t have facilities now. Less than 10% has been spent on school renovation over the years.
Steve: It is about feelings, logic and planning. The way people feel about a community is an economic driver. We need to address infrastructure, $ speaks to how much we care. Feeling is why people move here.
Dan: Hazard mitigation is required to care for infrastructure and hasn’t been done.
Matthew: What are modern day modulars like?
Steve: They vary from having axles to panel construction, cost/sf varies. They are not excluded. A blanket statement of savings is not the way to state it. The Marysville School benefit is they had local modular vendors. There’s a reason it’s not all over.
Dan: Modulars are up to 4 story buildings, savings is substantial and should be used to save 35%, $100sf might be for a portable. Any building that’s been maintained can be continually used, it’s how you manage money for renovations.
Betsy: Are modulars equipped for earthquakes?
Dan: Modulars are approved by WA state. Same quake bracing as schools.
Steve: Yes, just as safe. Currently safe? Stevens is not. It would largely be a remodel, it’s expensive to retrofit. $500-$600 sf talking about total project cost; learning ready. Building is 60% of that, rest is furniture, technology, engineers, site planning, etc.
Dan: the high school is in more severe condition, if you spent $47 million, you could upgrade all w/bracing and have money left over, use the rest for Fairview.
Steve: We need a middle school. New would be $70 million. Asking $46 million includes 5 other projects with significant remodels. Other schools $250 million of work to do, this is a step by step progress. About $41 / mo. for $200k home.
Steve: Student safety is a priority. The state says how much money they can spend on a project. High school is not well secured.
Dan: From a terrorist aspect, kids all in one building is not good. Cameras are needed.
Paul: Does there have to be more schools per state mandate? Will we be penalized? What is it and how much?
Dan: There is no penalty. State legislature penalizes each other. No one will come to this district. Brookings, etc., states it is not a panacea for education (smaller classes) nothing from the state says we have to have smaller classes.
Steve: There are studies stating outcomes are better with smaller class sizes. No penalty currently but still a voter approved mandate. It’s the current will of voters, we should plan for it. More impact shows improvement with smaller children. Funding at state level is there. There is no capital budget money for facilities construction / remodel. None since 2015 and none with new budget passed. You must have a bond/levy in place to receive money.
Dan: There is money to aid in local construction.
Tom Carver: Must you prove that there is overcrowding to receiving matching funds? There are actually fewer students
Steve: You don’t have to prove anything. The need is that facilities are past their service life. That’s when you apply. State looks at a 30 year range.
Dan: Buildings don’t just wear out. They need upgrading, just take care of them. There are hardly any rental units. People will move here if there are jobs, not for schools. It’s about what goes on in the classroom.
John moved and Peter H seconded to extend the meeting 15 minutes. Motion carried.
Gayla: Will this project benefit our local contractors?
Steve: Yes, but they’re not legally permitted to only use local, but the RFP can say “strong use of local contractors preferred”. We don’t have a contractor big enough to bond for a project this size. You can break it into small pieces to get around that, but we don’t have one company right now. They will hire subs.
Dan: Renovations can be done by locals and bond won’t be needed.
Dan’s Closing: Citizens are barely making ends meet. He represents people who can’t or who are afraid to speak up. This will affect people spending money in the community. We can do what’s needed with the facilities we have now. Go back to the drawing board.
Steve’s Closing: Public education is the backbone of our civic life. Consistency and access for every child and all social strata is the core. We can’t take it for granted. Our duty is to pay it forward and it’s also a moral duty. We want what’s best for kids. No plans are perfect and they shouldn’t be cheapened. It’s practical, handling as many facilities as we can, step by step, long term.
Jan 30: Nathan West, City of Port Angeles
Meeting adjourned at 8:35am.