Nine Mile Falls School District

Superintendent's Message 

Superintendent Brian Talbott
 Brian L. Talbott 
January 2015
Dear Neighbors,  

I hope this message finds you well and that the unusually mild winter has been good to you. In early fall, the district opted to purchase
SchoolMessenger, a communication system to notify parents/guardians and staff of emergencies such as late-starts and closures due to inclement weather, and for daily calls regarding attendance and food-service balances. Rather than parents having to sign up to receive the message, the new system automatically makes the contact to households and cell phones depending upon the level of emergency and/or notification. Other than a test message that went out the day after Thanksgiving, we have fortunately not had to use the system for emergency calls. I am hopeful that Mother Nature will continue to be kind during the last throes of winter and early spring.

As you are hopefully aware, the Nine Mile Falls School District is currently running two propositions on the February 10th ballot. Proposition 1 is a levy that, if approved, would replace the current levy that is set to expire in 2015. The levy rate is expected to remain flat and potentially decrease during its three-year life. Proposition 2 is a bond measure, that if passed, would allow the district to reuse/repurpose approximately 40% of the current Lakeside High School and would newly construct the remaining 60% of the facility. This is a 20-year bond proposal and is a new tax. 

The bond proposal came as a unanimous recommendation to the Board of Directors from a committed group of people who participated in a facilities study. The committee consisted of 25-30 community residents who met frequently over the better part of seven months. The individuals on this committee included staff members, community members, parents, and students. The main priorities for the proposal to create a new building consisted of the following five reasons in order of importance to the committee: 1) School Safety and Security; 2) Enriched Teaching and Learning; 3) Extra-Curricular Improvements; 4) Enhanced Community Assets; and, 5) Building System Upgrades. The Board accepted and adopted the proposal by resolution at its regularly scheduled Board Meeting in October of 2014.   

There is no question that the bond proposal is a big ticket ($1.35 per thousand), and it is a big ask of our community members and taxpayers. However, there is never a good time to seek a tax increase.  The middle school bond was paid off in 2013, which reduced property taxes by seventy-two cents ($0.72) per thousand of assessed valuation. This year, taxpayers will receive another decrease of twenty cents ($0.20) per thousand of assessed valuation as the district pays down on the elementary bonds. I am certainly not trying to minimize the impact of this proposal. At the same time, I know that my personal school taxes have been offset by those that have come off and those that will continue to go down. 

In September of 2014, the Supreme Court held the State Legislature in contempt for not amply funding public education as is its paramount duty per the State Constitution and as defined by the McCleary Decision. The Legislature has yet to deliver on this ruling and time is running out as they have been ordered to fully fund basic education by 2018. The Nine Mile Falls School District and its Board of Directors is committed to decreasing property tax rates as additional allocations are provided by the State.

As always, I welcome open and honest dialogue with you. Please feel free to contact me, and if I am not available, I will return the call as soon as possible.    

Warm Regards,
Brian L. Talbott, Superintendent

Last Modified on January 29, 2015