Monday, Nov. 16, members of the incoming Peninsula School Board addressed the Key Peninsula Democrats Club during its meeting. Each shared campaign experiences and what they hope to accomplish as board members.
Re-elected PSD District 3 school board member, Rand Wilhelmsen joined newly elected District 1 member, Marcia Harris, District 2 member, Deborah Krishnadasan, District 4 member, Leslie Harbaugh, and David Olson, current District 5 school board member for the presentation. All, save Olson whose term has two more years, will be sworn in during the upcoming PSD board meeting Dec 3, at 6p.m at the district office.
“I am very happy with the new board and the new energy it has,”said Wilhelmsen.
“The incoming board is very dynamic and diverse. The members bring strong involvement in PTA and VPOs, IT, communications and community development, school district leadership, banking and finance, and other community services,” Olson said.
Hiring a new school district superintendent to replace retiring Chuck Cuzzetto was one of the highest priorities of each board member.
“Building off of Chuck Cuzzetto’s and the district’s great work, we look forward to the opportunity of bringing in a superintendent with new energy and a new vision to help meet the needs of a growing community,”said Krishnadasan. “The board looks forward to reaching out to its stakeholders to get feedback on what community members are looking for in a leader and what questions they would like asked of the candidates.”
According to the many, another key priority for the new board is the upcoming renewal of the educational programming & operations levy.
The current levy approved by voters in 2011 will expire the end of 2016. Board members explained that local levydollarsaccount for approximately 24 percent of the district’s operating budget. The majority of these funds are used for basic education costs including staffing and professional development needs, classroom text books, technology and some routine repair projects on school facilities.
The current boardapproved a four-yearContinuation Educational Programs and Operations (M&O) Levy after seeking community input. It willcontinue to fund about 24 percent of the district budget. The proposed continuation levy has a lower estimated tax rate of $2.19 for 2017, decreasing each year with an estimated tax rate of $2.16 in 2020.
Director Olson explained that “the school board has made a strong focus to reach out to all citizens within the Peninsula School District to educate them on the purpose of the operations levy.
Additionally, the board released a cover letter to the Levy Spending Plan signed by all five current members with the intent of holding incoming board members accountable to the community’s stated priorities.”
This continuation levy will be put before voters at the Feb. 9, 2016, Special Election.
“This is a very important levy for day-to-dayoperations in our schools and directly impacts the educational experience of our children,”said Harris and Harbaugh.To help promote the levy, Krishnadasan has taken on a community role outside her school boardposition.
All five members of the incoming board voiced strong support of the upcoming levy.