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Washougal School District board votes to run levy in Feb. 14 election - 11/29/22

Washougal School District board votes to run levy in Feb. 14 election

Three year measures replace EP&O Levy and Capital Levy expiring in 2023.

Washougal School District School Board voted unanimously on November 22, 2022 to place replacement Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) and Capital levies on the Feb. 14 special election ballot. If approved by voters, the EP&O and Capital levies would provide funding for three years: 2024, 2025, and 2026. Each levy replaces a three year levy that expires on December 31, 2023. These are not new taxes.

The EP&O and Capital levies work in tandem, keeping students safe, warm, and connected. Board President Cory Chase said, "With the proposed levy rates, we will have a lower rate than what voters approved in 2020.  The board was intentional in not asking for more than is needed to support students. The levies fund the programs and services beyond what the state funds that help every student feel welcome and included in our district.  Our athletics and technology programs have specifically benefited from our past levies."

At a rate of $1.99, the proposed EP&O levy rate is lower than the $2.14 rate last approved by voters in 2020. These local levy dollars account for 14% of Washougal School District's overall budget. Board member Sadie McKenzie said "With this levy, our students benefit not only from the basics of reading, writing and math but they also benefit from athletics, visual and performing arts, after school clubs and activities, librarians, and counselors. I hope our voters will consider the importance of the levy, which benefits all students in our district, as they cast their ballots." The levy also provides funding for teachers to reduce class sizes, and for security staff, custodians, nurses, paraeducators, and substitute teachers who support all students.

WSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Templeton said, "Local levy dollars fund the staffing and programs our community expects for students, and keep our schools in great shape. Levy supported activities engage students, connecting them with caring adults to build job-readiness skills and contribute to their community. These programs help ensure that every Washougal student is known, nurtured, and challenged to rise."

The Capital Levy, if approved by voters, would fund important safety, facility, and technology improvements. This includes replacing the roof at Washougal High School, security door and access control updates, heating system replacements, instructional technology resources, and more. Templeton added that, "Voter support for the levies will make sure our students are kept safe, warm, and connected as they prepare for their bright futures." As the 2015 bond tax rate approved by voters decreases from 2024 to 2026, the Capital Levy rate increases by an equal amount to fund these additional security and facility improvements. The result is a consistent overall school tax rate across all three years.

Director of Business and Operations Kris Grindy shared, "The district's voter approved 2015 bond included a step-down that begins in 2025. In order to keep tax rates stable and consistent, the proposed capital levy would use the step down in the bond payments to raise additional funds without a big year-to-year change in people's property taxes."

For the EP&O levy, the district is requesting authorization for $9,500,000 for collection in 2024, $10,500,000 for collection in 2025, and $11,500,000 for collection in 2026.

For the Capital Projects levy, the district is requesting authorization for $950,000 for collection in 2024, $3,950,000 for collection in 2025, and $4,150,000 for collection in 2026.

More information is available on the Washougal School District website. 




Left to right: Sadie McKenzie, Chuck Carpenter, Cory Chase, and Jim Cooper. Not pictured: Angela Hancock
Left to right: Sadie McKenzie, Chuck Carpenter, Cory Chase, and Jim Cooper. Not pictured: Angela Hancock
Washougal School District School Board Receives Board of Distinction Recognition (Photo) - 11/18/22

On October 25, 2022, the Washougal School District school board received the Board of Distinction recognition from the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA.) The annual WSSDA Boards of Distinction program honors school boards across the state of Washington that demonstrate successful leadership through effective use of the Washington School Board Standards. 

This award recognizes the board’s focus on professional development, closing the opportunity gap, and development of a visionary path forward for Washougal School District. The Washougal School District School Board is among 30 recipients of this prestigious statewide award in 2022, out of the 295 school boards.

Board President Cory Chase and board members Jim Cooper, Angela Hancock, Sadie Mckenzie, and Chuck Carpenter work alongside Washougal School District leadership to nurture a solid educational foundation for Washougal’s students. “I am honored and humbled to work with an amazing group of volunteers to serve the young people in our community.  The support of the Washougal community has been unwavering through unprecedented times.” said Cory Chase.  

The board has invested in staff training around Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that focus on boosting student achievement for all students by focusing on teacher collective efficacy. Board leadership have participated in some of the training to ensure they understand the important role this plays in increasing student achievement.  The board has also prioritized funding for the Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support work that focuses on proactively managing student behavior which maximizes instructional time for students and creates a strong sense of belonging and hope in each classroom. 

The board process to update the strategic plan also contributed to the recognition.  The mid-point check-in process, which began in January of 2022, asked community members, students, families and staff to share ideas about the shared work serving students and the community.  The opportunities for feedback, listening posts, surveys, and board presentations resulted in clear metrics for success that are highlighted in the new Strategic Plan. These metrics will help the board reach the vision of seeing every Washougal student known, nurtured, and challenged to rise. Chase added, “this award recognizes the hard work, dedication, and perseverance of the Washougal School District Board of Directors.  I am proud of what we have accomplished in the past year. It is rewarding to be recognized at the State level by WSSDA for our work in Washougal.”

Washougal School District has earned many notable achievements since Cory Chase began serving as board president. The Washougal School District was recently one of 13 districts in the nation to be selected as a Lighthouse Demonstration district with the national Superintendents Association Network, recognizing the district’s work in supporting the social, emotional, and cognitive growth of students. The board also oversaw the district’s expansion of resources for families who speak Spanish, as well as the launch of Transitional Kindergarten programs as full-day pre-kindergarten options.

During Chase’s tenure, the board opened Columbia River Gorge Elementary, finished the 2015 bond projects, created and expanded the Dual language program, and brought culinary services in-house to support chef-inspired, scratch-made cooking.  Under his leadership, the board was recognized as a WSSDA board of distinction in 2021 and 2022 for the focus on equitable outcomes for all students and data showing growth at closing the achievement gap. The Washougal School Board has created additional opportunities for community input, including town halls, listening posts, focus groups, student representatives to the board, and surveys, as well as expanding opportunities for citizen comment during board meetings.  The board has focused on expanding opportunities for families through programs the community identified as needs during the strategic planning process and established a focus on high levels of student engagement. 

In order to see the work firsthand, the school board spends time in classrooms during site visits for every school each year.  During these opportunities, the board engages directly with students and staff, seeing first hand the great teaching and learning activities that take place each day. These visits also provide time for the board to hear directly from students and to ensure the high-quality programs and educational opportunity that every Washougal student needs to be known, nurtured, and challenged to rise. 

Learn more at the full announcement by the WSSDA.

Pathway Conference Connects Washougal Students with Trades Industries (Photo) - 11/10/22

On Thursday, November 3, students enrolled in the Career & Technical Education (CTE) program at Washougal High School gained valuable insight into the work world at the annual Pathway Conference. Students toured the job sites of major trades employers in Washougal and listened to presentations by industry partners about an array of career pathways available post-high school. The Washougal High School Career Center at Washougal School District coordinates the Pathway Conference in partnership with local trades companies to bring relevant job-readiness experiences to our students.

The Pathway Conference included two components: field trips to three facilities of local trades employers, and job-readiness panel presentations in the school auditorium.

Students boarded buses to visit three trades facilities in Washougal: Ballard Marine Construction, McDonald Excavating, and Nationwide Boiler. The CTE program cultivates local, homegrown talent by preparing Washougal students to fill high-skilled, high-demand, high-wage career positions in our community.

“The Pathway Conference is something that we look forward to every year. After emphasizing job-readiness and trade skills in the classroom, we get to connect the dots by bringing students out to trade facilities to meet employers in their career interest areas,” said Margaret Rice, Director of Career & Technical Education at Washougal School District. “It’s amazing to witness students find their passion, and to support their ambition as they make their dreams a reality.”

In the high school auditorium, students listened to a panel of presenters describe their path to a career in the trades and valuable skills to develop now for success in trades careers. Presenters included representatives from the Port of Camas-Washougal, Local 1-Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers, Legacy6, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, Greenbox Mechanical, Elevator Operators, Dynalectric, Tradesmen Electric, OR & SW WA Mason Trades, International Union of Elevator Constructors, Dynalectric, and the Washington & Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers.

“The Port of Camas-Washougal has ladders of opportunities for students,” said Derek Jaeger, director of development and real estate at Port of Camas-Washougal. “In the summer, we also hire students from the school district for landscaping and grounds.”

Josh Brock led a group of students through the facility at McDonald Excavating during the conference. “When we say that the sky's the limit, it is. You all are in a great position to make the successful career that you want,” said Brock, general manager at McDonald Excavating. Emmett Dubose, a student at Washougal High School, begins an internship at McDonald Excavating this week.

As students navigate choosing their own career path, Washougal School District works to open doors for them. The Career Center at Washougal High School creates opportunities for students to find and develop their interests. The CTE program delivers hands-on lessons in trades skills and connects students with professionals working in skilled trades and careers. Learn more about the Career & Technical Education program at Washougal High School, and the CTE career pathways offered at the high school, on our website: Career and Technical Education (CTE) - WSD (washougal.k12.wa.us)