Below is a summary of news from the Snoqualmie Valley School District from last week. The school year began on August 31 for students in grades 1 to 12.

Farm animal

At its August 26 meeting, the school board approved plans to use the old softball fields next to Mount Si High School to build a barn for animal science lessons.

Students of animal science courses previously had to travel offsite for these courses, including to Meadowbrook Farms.

“It was a challenge because the students couldn’t get there on a daily basis,” said Ryan Stokes, assistant district superintendent.

The barn will be 1,000 square feet and will have space for raising goats and rabbits. Construction of the farm is expected to begin next fall.

The old softball field has been largely unused by the district, Stokes said. The field is often flooded and unusable seven to eight months a year. The new barn will be raised to prevent flooding.

Shortage of bus drivers

The district said it had suspended several routes due to a shortage of bus drivers.

The shortage will have an impact at both elementary and secondary levels. The district said it was focusing on eliminating routes that offer safe walking options or have a relatively low number of cyclists. The district has also prioritized public transportation for students with disabilities.

This summer, the district hired nine new drivers, but it will take at least eight more to fully service all roads in the district. If new drivers are hired by the district, the drivers will need eight weeks of training before they hit the roads.

“We are in the process of training drivers, but we are short of resources,” Superintendent Lance Gibbon said at the August 12 school board meeting. “We hope to persuade as many parents as possible to carpool. ”

The district said the route suspensions would last for at least the first eight to 10 weeks of school. Some routes may be reinstated if more drivers are hired or if traffic is low on certain routes.

Route shortages will be most acute at the college level, where the district has canceled four routes to three schools. Cascade Elementary students will continue to have no bus service like last year.

High school students will benefit from a bus service to and from the corresponding colleges, then to the high school. Parking at Mount Si High School will also be free for students this year.

If the situation worsens, the district may need to reduce courses at the primary and secondary levels.

If you would like to apply for a bus driver position, visit svsd410.org/Page/97.

Budget approval

The Snoqualmie Valley School District School Board approved the district’s 2021-2022 annual budget at its August 26 meeting.

The district plans to run a small budget deficit this year, but overall, district officials said they were not affected.

The district is expected to spend about $ 3.2 million more than it makes this year. Compared to the 2020-2021 budget, the district expects to receive approximately $ 1 million less in revenue, while spending an additional $ 3 million.

The district will have to rely on $ 1.8 million in general fund reserves to balance the 2021-2022 budget. The district also relied on general funds during the 2020-2021 school year, when the district used $ 2.2 million to balance the budget.

Stokes said the district had increased its spending this year out of a desire not to stop projects already underway. He also said the district general fund balance remained in the same place as last year, mainly due to one-time COVID-19 relief funds provided by the state and federal government.

Most of the revenue the district lost this year was due to declining enrollment. Enrollment has increased 2% since last school year, but is still slightly below pre-pandemic levels. The state provided the district with a stabilization fund to account for the loss of enrollment.

The district used part of the one-time funding to hire more teachers and staff, with the aim of reducing class sizes, especially at the elementary level, to curb the loss of learning due to the pandemic.

Exempt Fees

As part of this year’s school budget, the district has waived class fees for all programs that take place during the school day.

This includes fees for art, CTE and music lessons as well as fees for a PE shirt. Students will only have to pay fees for art or CTE classes if their projects use excess material beyond the scope of the assignment.

“It is important that no fees are associated with the needs of the students,” said Superintendent Gibbon. “There may be a charge for scaling, but you would do all the necessary classroom projects for free. ”

Fees will still apply for all extracurricular activities – including sports, theater, jazz bands and clubs – and directories.

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