School Funding

On February 22, the Edmonds School Board prepares to discuss mask-wearing policy and project funding

The Edmonds School District Board of Trustees, at its regular business meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22, is set to discuss mask-wearing requirements as well as budget approvals for several upcoming projects.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced Feb. 17 that statewide mask orders will end for most indoor settings on March 21, including K-12 schools and daycares. However, school districts can still choose to have students and teachers wear masks.

The governor’s office said the Washington State Department of Health will release updated guidelines the week of March 7 for K-12 schools that will then take effect March 21. Guidance will be released early to help schools prepare for the transition.

Schools will still be required to report cases and outbreaks of COVID-19, and also to cooperate with public health authorities to respond in a manner consistent with procedures for other communicable diseases.

Students and staff showing symptoms of COVID-19 will still need to self-quarantine away from school buildings. Schools must also ensure access to testing for staff and students who show symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they should stay home and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Health isolation protocol.

Other agenda items include a presentation to students at Mountlake Terrace Elementary School and a separate update on the school improvement plan.

In addition, the school board will discuss budgetary authorizations for several planned projects, including:

– Improvements to the softball field at Mountlake Terrace High School. The project involves replacing the turf and drainage system, as well as improving the canoes and bleachers on the softball field. The School District‘s Capital Projects Office is requesting Project Authorization and Preliminary Budget Authorization for $200,000. The upgrade project would be funded by the district’s 2020 levy, which was approved by voters, and its total budget is estimated at $3 million. If approved, the district will then initiate the preliminary design and cost estimate. This process also includes evaluating a range of all-weather surface options and costs. The staff would then bring back a recommendation to the school board to authorize a construction budget and request a call for tenders. Construction work on the project is proposed for the summer of 2023.

– Additional budgetary authority for the replacement of Oak Heights Elementary School. The District Capital Projects Office recommends approval of a $3 million budget increase for the project, for a total authorized preliminary budget of $3.5 million. The school replacement project has been approved by voters as part of the 2021 funding draw. If approved, the district will then begin final planning and design work on the project. The school board had previously authorized a preliminary budget of $100,000 for initial planning and then another $400,000 to begin the design phase.

– A contract for the purchase and installation of servers and security cameras through Security Solutions, as well as an additional budget authorization of $900,000 for the 2021 Safety and Security Upgrades project. These products are needed to update outdated safety equipment throughout the district. The project would be funded by the 2020 levy. The board previously approved a preliminary budget of $750,000 for the 2021 safety and security upgrade project, followed by additional budget authority of $1 million. A portion of the $1.75 million already approved is earmarked for other safety and security improvements, such as road safety mitigation.

The school district’s capital projects office is requesting additional funds for a total budget of $2.65 million, which includes the purchase and installation of a new server and 450 security cameras. If approved, Security Solutions would be awarded a nearly $1.5 million contract to purchase and install the server and security cameras. The project is expected to be substantially complete by October 31, 2022.

According to the council’s agenda, the district’s current 600 cameras need to be replaced due to malfunction, outdated technology, or exceeding their functional lifespan. It was also determined that 300 additional cameras need to be strategically placed in the district for better overall security coverage. Additionally, the current server does not have the capacity for current and future district-wide security camera recordings.

The capital projects office plans to seek school board approval in the next fiscal year to fund the purchase and installation of the remaining 450 cameras.

the remote meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. on February 22. There is also an opportunity for public comments, and the full agenda can be viewed here.