Learn about School Board positions at info sessions
This fall, two of the five Mercer Island School Board seats will be up for election: positions 2 and 4, which are currently held by Dave Myerson and Adair Dingle. Board members are elected to four-year terms by Mercer Island voters.
Specific responsibilities of board members include, but are not limited to: systematically measuring the district’s attainment of Board Policy 2020; monitoring superintendent performance; setting district policy; adopting an annual operating budget; placing levies and bonds before voters; and ratifying contracts negotiated with the local bargaining unit.
The Board will present an overview of board governance for interested community members at meetings at 6 p.m. on March 9 at Mercer Island City Hall and at noon on March 29 in the MISD Board Room in the Administration Building, 4160 86th Ave. SE.
Individuals who wish to run for one of the two seats up for election must file with King County Elections between May 15 and May 19.
To run, an individual must be a registered voter living in Mercer Island. If more than two people file for a single position, a primary election will take place.
Board discusses education funding
In August 2016, the board approved the 2016-17 budget, with a $1.5 million reduction to fund the balance. Additional uncertainties exist regarding future funding and fund balance levels, according to Ty Bergstrom, the district’s executive director of finance and chief financial officer. Mercer Island will need to have a conversation about the budget situation and community involvement.
The district is in danger of running a deficit because state funding levels did not increase as anticipated this year, and an additional employee was needed to meet enriched programming and staffing requirements, including K-5 Spanish, art/instructional coaches, administrators and smaller class sizes.
In addition, a sixth school in the Mercer Island School District, Northwood Elementary, opened in the fall, creating “additional costs and inefficiencies.” There has also been a recent drop in funding and gifts from the Mercer Island Schools Foundation.
The district faces several funding challenges this year. The first is the levy cliff, which would cause the district to lost 4 percent of its levy authority, for a reduction of about $1.8 million. Another challenge in the Puget Sound bargaining effect. The district agreed to pay the education association an additional 2 percent of base pay, each year, for the ARC, which is paid for entirely by local funding.
The district will keep its eye on action, or inaction, in the Legislature, as the state House and Senate will try to compromise on a budget that fully funds education statewide and satisfies the McCleary decision.
District queues up capital projects
At the Feb. 1 Mercer Island School Board meeting, the district’s construction consultant, Brandy Fox of CPM, Inc., presented a summary of capital projects that are scheduled for this summer and those in development.
The following projects are set for summer 2017: replacement of the Mercer Island High School Stadium field turf; replacement of the fire alarm systems at IMS, Island Park Elementary and Lakeridge Elementary; relocating portables at Island Park Elementary; renovating the district’s bus lot and installing pads for future visitor bleachers at MIHS stadium; improvements along portions of Southeast 42nd Street for safe walking routes to school; and modifying furniture and cabinetry to improve front office safety at Lakeridge Elementary, Island Park Elementary and West Mercer Elementary.
Projects under consideration for development are: replacing the roof at MIHS; resurfacing the MIHS tennis courts; replacing the IMS track; studying the need for two new portables at Northwood Elementary; and renovating the Mary Wayte Pool.
Correction: A previous version of this story said this meeting occured on Feb. 17.