What Does 20 Million Dollars Get the Colville School District?

(And How can you fix it?)


By Scott Martin

When stories break about government spending $500 on hammers or $750 on toilet seats, people get furious. When the government spends millions of dollars to prop up Solyndra or corporate bank bailouts, people feel that their hard earned tax dollars are being wasted. They feel cheated, conned, and exploited and it always seems like there is nothing you, as a citizen, can do about it. After all, those things happen in some other state or at some government level that the average citizen could never possibly get involved in.

Well our local Colville School district just spent $20 Million last year to, “Educate” our kids. I have received a preliminary report from the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) whose job is to report Washington State Schools, “Smarter Balanced” test results.

Are you ready…?

42% of all students tested in the Colville School District failed to meet the basic Literacy standard. That is only a 58% pass rate in Literacy. That was the good news.

The bad news… 55% of all students failed the basic Math test. That’s right over half of all students taking the test at the Colville School District are failing to meet their state math standard. Just a 45% pass rate! This is a clear FAIL for the Colville School District Report Card.

Here are the test results from the report.

  • Literacy
  • Grade   3 – 52% Pass
  • Grade   4 – 65% Pass
  • Grade   5 – 55% Pass
  • Grade   6 – 53% Pass
  • Grade   7 – 51% Pass
  • Grade   8 – 67% Pass
  • Grade 10 – 75% Pass
  • Grade 11 – 13% Pass
  • Mathematics
  • Grade 3 – 55% Pass
  • Grade 4 – 59% Pass
  • Grade 5 – 39% Pass
  • Grade 6 – 44% Pass
  • Grade 7 – 40% Pass
  • Grade 8 – 59% Pass
  • Grade 10 – 26% Pass
  • Grade 11 – 42% Pass

My wife and I were the only members of the public that attended the “Special Board Meeting” held June 22nd at 3:00, in which the public was not allowed to talk. At that meeting this WCAP test document was presented to Colville School Administrators. After briefly looking at these horrendous test results the new highly paid Curriculum director Sherry Clark informed the board that these numbers were, “not that bad” to which the board all nodded in agreement. I was thinking are you kidding me? Are you reading the same numbers?!

When asked what could be done to improve these scores one administrator suggested that, get this, “the reason district test scores were low was because parents did not educate their kids well enough before they enter school at the Kindergarten level”.

That’s right, it’s not the Colville School’s fault it’s yours!

The most talked about “solution” at that meeting was, “the students are not getting enough sleep”. Yep, the parents fault again!

Not once was the thought brought up of the Colville School’s failing to actually educate properly, or how they might change the system that clearly is NOT working. That was it. Discussion over. Keep in mind there was more than a $1 Million worth of administration at that meeting and five Board members, and this was the best they could do.

What Can You Do?

1) Ask for a copy of the “Colville School District improvement Plan”, and ask to be part of the Improvement Plan process. This is a plan that MUST be developed, “With participation and meaningful input by building staff, STUDENTS, PARENTS, and COMMUNITY MEMBERS”

Here is a link from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI): http://www.k12.wa.us/StudentAndSchoolSuccess/SIPGuide/SIPGuide.pdf

Quoted from OSPI Web Page:

“The Washington State Board of Education in WAC 180-16-220 requires that each school district receiving state basic education funds MUST develop a school improvement plan or process based on a self-review of the school’s program for the purpose of annual building approval by the district. The self-review required by the state shall include active participation and meaningful input by building staff, students, parents, and community members.”

2) Ask for your own copy of test results. Ask for the “Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program (WCAP) report for Colville School District for the year of 2015/2016. This data will not be made public for some time, if at all, so if you don’t ask for it, you may never see it.

3) Come to the next Colville School Board meeting July 27 6:00pm in the Aster Elementary school building where the Board will adopt the 2016/17 $20 Million budget. (Additional meetings may happen so keep checking) Ask them what they plan to do different this year to correct the failures of last year.

Colville web page: for notice of all board meetings: http://www.colsd.org/

Colville’s, “Boarddocs” page for the Agenda of upcoming meetings: http://www.boarddocs.com/wa/colsd/Board.nsf/public

4) Ask for a copy of the upcoming 2016/17 budget.

5) Talk with the Superintendent and school board directors.

  • Superintendent Pete Lewis – pete.lewis@colsd.org
  • Board President Sid Green – sgreen@colsd.org
  • Board Vice President Sandy Moore – smoore@colsd.org
  • Board Director Rob Sumner – rsumner@colsd.org
  • Board Director Krista Ohrtman – kohrtman@colsd.org
  • Board Director Sarah Newman –  snewman@colsd.org

I know this post applies specifically to the Colville School District, however, every school district budget in Washington state is required by law to be presented over the next couple of months. Don’t let your school waste your tax dollars. Contact them. Get involved in your children’s future.

Upcoming Future posts:

  • What laws and policies Colville School District is NOT following and why.
  • How Colville School Board has passed over 35 text books and reading materials without any recommendation by the Districts “Instructional Materials Committee” as required by law including the new “Gender Identity” health Curriculum.

Please feel free to email me: colvilleparents@yahoo.com