• Welcome to my Gar-Pal Homepage!
     
    Calvin Johnson, Palouse Superintendent
     
    You can reach me by email at: cjohnson@garpal.net or you can leave a message at my school: Palouse School District - 509-878-1921 or 406-781-0738 cell.
     
       

    SUPERINTENDENTS CORNER

    January 2019

    OUR MISSION is to provide educational programs of the highest quality for all students in order to prepare them for their future.

    LEGISLATIVE UPDATE:

    Yes, it’s that time once again as the 2019 Legislative Session is slated to begin on January 14th in Olympia.  Our State Legislature meets every 2 years for a regular session and in the off year for a shorter session.  This is the year for the main regular legislative session so we will be following closely and monitoring legislation pertaining to school funding and general legislation that might affect education.

    The last 2 years brought major changes to school funding both for school districts and tax payers.  A main change last year decreased our local levy taxes, but increased state controlled taxes for schools and mandated employee salary increases.  Of special interest is this session is SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board) – a state insurance pool schedule mandated to take effect January 2020 and the increased cost it will have on the Palouse School District. We will also be monitoring and advocating to increase the limit placed on the amount local tax payers can approve to support their school. This restriction reduced our local Palouse levy down from 510,000. to just under 200,000. this year – a reduction of about 60%!

    NEGOTIATIONS:

    Last year’s legislature set the stage for major salary increases for school employees by mandating an increased and progressive beginning salary structure for teachers. Not only did they mandate this increase, but at the same time did away with the state teacher salary schedule which left schools having to negotiate salaries on their own for the first time in recent decades. Most increases across the state were in the 10 – 15 % range and we ended up on the lower end of that range here in Palouse.

    BUDGET:

    Because of last year’s legislative changes our long term financial outlook is like most other school districts, which is not very promising.  We are hopeful that with some legislative modifications such as the ones mentioned above our outlook and financial stability will improve, however in the interim we are proceeding cautiously. 

    Some District’s across the state are planning for staff layoffs and reductions because of the new budget restructure, levy restrictions and increased salaries. Here in Palouse we will continue with the process we have had in place the last 4 years of trying to absorb the duties of anyone retiring or leaving the district.  This practice has allowed us a gradual reduction of labor cost and has put us in a much better position than if we had just carried on as always. Although we are still facing a serious funding challenge, this strategy and efficiency has given us a couple of extra years to make the adjustments, thus saving us from the staff reductions other districts are facing this spring.

    FACILITY UPGRADE SCHEDULE:  (tentative)

    Dec.         -     New flooring in HS restroom

                    -     New paint & flooring in 4-5 wing restroom

    Feb.          -    Replacement of the remaining 4 entry doors and the installation of keypad access

    April          -    Replacement of the single pain windows in the elementary   

                    –    Locker room floor upgrades

    Summer    –   Replacement of ceiling & lights in 4-5 hall and the library

                   -   Replacement/repair of sidewalks by the gym

                   -   Replacement of entry awnings

                    -  TBD

    Palouse HS Restrom Renovation  Palouse High School Restroom Renovation - December 2018

    These improvements are possible because of the generous support of our local tax payers and their support of our Capital Projects Levy the last few years. Thank you!

    Please feel free to stop by for a visit or to contact me for further information! 

    Have a great day!

    Calvin L. Johnson, Supt.

    cjohnson@garpal.net

    509-878-1921  sch

    406-781-0738  cell