We are up and running!
One Month In on a Great Year in Toutle Lake School District
It has been a great start up to our school year at Toutle Lake School District. Since I am new to the district this year, and will only be here for this year, while I assist the district in selecting a permanent replacement for the superintendent role, I have been busy getting to know the students, staff and community. I have been so thrilled to meet so many parents with their children that I had as students at Castle Rock or Kalama Elementary, during my 13 years in those buildings. I heard last spring about the excellent manners and care students exhibit at Toutle Lake, and that has proven true over and over, as I move about campus.
In addition to acquainting myself with the people in this area, I have been eager to understand transportation services and our facilities. Understanding buses means to understand the condition and age of the fleet. Newer buses come with updated safety features and reduce chances of breakdown while in service. Our transportation supervisor, Daryl Spinneberg, has done an excellent job making sure the fleet is updated regularly. Buses are purchased through what is called a depreciation schedule, where the testa funds annually. After 13 years a bus drops off of that schedule, hence funds cease to generate for our fleet, so a district must stay current with buses within the 13 year window. Mr. Spinneberg purchased 2 new buses this year from this fund, and likely will be able to purchase one additional bus next year, keeping all of our active buses on schedule. It should be noted that our vans are not included in these state supported purchases, as vans are the responsibility of the school district only. Districts fund the vans through local levies.
Although maintenance has done an incredible job of maintaining the grounds and buildings, well beyond what I have ever seen in any rural district, we do have some glaring concerns, which our maintenance director, Dillon Anderson, pointed out to me in my first week. One such is our roof over our cafeteria/multipurpose room. It is in severe need of replacement. Since a small district’s annual budget does not cover such a large expense, we are seeking an Emergency Repair Grant from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The school board authorized me to seek architectural and engineering estimates right away, which is a first step required by OSPI. Once that is completed, we will submit a request for the Emergency Repair Grant at OSPI, where they are more than willing and eager to help small districts in emergency repairs. The beauty of this is that it will not need to come out of our local school funds. We are hoping to continue working with ESD 112, and their excellent Construction Management program to seek other available funding for our district needs. They have been amazingly helpful to us in this process.
Finally, thank you to our great community for all of your support to our school district. Because of the last levy we have been able to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) on campus daily. David Hammond is well trained in safety and security in supervision of a school campus. It is great to have him on board. In future letters, I am eager to share the many other things our Levy has been supporting!