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Pipeline to facts about your public schools -


Commonly played in summer camps and sleep-overs, the game of “Telegraph” is more than just a party game. It is an example of how humans process information. As individuals our experiences and personal “filters” influence how we process the information we hear about the world.

In the “telegraph” game, youth form a circle and one person whispers a phrase into the ear of their neighbor. That phrase is repeatedly whispered from neighbor to neighbor until the message travels full circle returning to the originator. Often, what is whispered into the originator’s ear bears little resemblance to the initial phrase which usually prompts a good laugh from the group.

Sadly, no one is laughing when this misinterpretation impacts children and their education in our public schools. Education is the key to each child’s successful future and is taken as a very serious matter by all of us at Monroe Public Schools.

This webpage is dedicated to bringing our community a direct “pipeline” to the facts and ensuring the information you hear about your public schools retains its origins.

Below are a few topics we have heard through our community’s “telegraph.” Everyone is entitled to hold personal opinions; however, facts are always facts. We also invite you to offer your own topic. We will do our best to research its origin and provide you with the facts in context of the situation.

Topic?

Rates are only part of the local tax equation

 

 

Unlike other local agencies that set a tax rate, schools present levies to voters as a fixed dollar amounts. By law, schools can collect no more than the fixed dollar amount approved by voters. In some situations it can even be less.

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Monroe maintains high quality rating  
 

Recently Monroe Public Schools refinanced bonds for a lower interest rate saving taxpayers more than $600,000. During this review, Monroe Public Schools maintained its high rating of Aa3 which it has held since 2010. In addition, through the State of Washington School Guarantee Program, the District's bonds received an enhanced rate of Aa1.  Both of these ratings were important in the successful sale of bonds.

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Cutting School Budgets  
 

The financial challenges families are experiencing in these harsh economic times also affect our public schools.  Rising costs, state cuts and declining enrollment make it difficult to balance next year’s budget while keeping schools operating as usual.

Sadly, our state does not make budgets for public schools very easy to understand. A new system is starting this year that will hopefully make the process easier to understand and explain to our community.

In the current system, simple math does not fully explain the intricacies of how our schools are funded. Monroe Public Schools annually provide documents to help with clarification in what we hope are easy to understand terms.

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Monroe scores on state assessments:  
 

No one takes the results from the state assessments lightly.  Where there has been stability in state standards Monroe students have consistently showed improvement, i.e. writing and science.

The state has implemented more academically rigorous math standards, especially at earlier grades. Our 2010 math scores reinforced that we should change our math programs to align with those new standards that are being assessed. This year, all K-5 classrooms have a new math program, last year, 6th through 8th put a new math program in place, and three years ago, we moved from an integrated approach to a more traditional, Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II approach at the high school. 

Math is very sequential so as students move to the next grade level with a stronger foundation, we will see a change in performance on the MSP.

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Administrative salaries and contracts:  
 

Monroe sets its salaries for administrators at the average as determined by surveys of other districts.  There are no automatic increases as is typical in union contracts. This practice began more than 10 years ago with principals then to the superintendent and in 2007 to central office leaders.  During these harsh economic times Monroe’s administrators have consistently given back contract benefits to lessen the impact on student learning.

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$500,000 Frank Wagner parking lot proposed in 2010 Capital Levy:  
 

“Improve safety and efficiency of auto and bus circulation” is the title given to this project that is far more than a parking lot. Safety is the priority when an entire school convenes in the parking lot at the beginning or end of the school day.  From school buses to families picking up their children, flow is important.

This project requires demolition of current structures, creating driveways where none currently exist, drainage and water retention work as well as several truck loads of fill as the area is currently below road grade. Ultimately the area will also be paved paving of that area.

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