SPOKANE, Wash.--Big changes were coming to the East Valley School District in March. After four years of transitioning away from middle schools, leaders decided to bring them back for the 2014-2015 school year. The school board also had parted with its Superintendent in the 2013-2014 school year.
The school board made the decision to go back to traditional elementary, middle and high school system in February. The school board thought that in order to do that successfully, they needed to have a new leader in the superintendent’s office. Both moves come at a cost.
READ: East Valley School District goes to preschool-6th grade for 2014-15
The 2013-2014 school year marked the first where East Valley operated without middle schools. It took at least three years to get there.
The almost entirely new school board decided to go back to the old way of doing things.
“We'll have to hire a staff for a middle school. And obviously, it's going to have some moving costs, things like that,” said School Board Chair Mike Novakovich.
Novakovich said he expected the transition to cost $650,000 to $700,000. In addition, he said there would be the cost of buying out the remaining portions of former Superintendent Dr. John Glenewinkel’s contract. That includes normal paychecks for the rest of the school year, plus $130,000 and annuity for the 2014-15 contract year, and a lump sum of $171,500 for the 2015-16 school year.
“We just found, that if we were to move in this direction, the financial costs were going to be beneficial just to be able to have everything work smoothly and go into place,” said Novakovich.
Novakovich said there would be savings in the long-run. The District was $1.2 million over budget on bussing costs in 2013. Novakovich said he expected to close the gap by re-opening old middle schools and taking advantage of current assets.
“We need to put our own house in order. And we need to sell or lease properties that we aren't using, and use the resources that we have as a district before we go out and start asking the public for more,” said Novakovich.
The district said the middle school format would require fewer teachers. Novakovich told KREM 2 News that some teachers would lose their jobs. He said they hope to re-assign as many teachers as possible. Those notices were set to go out April 1.