SUNNYSIDE Partnerships and a “leadership vacuum” are among the items the school board plans to review with new Superintendent Kevin McKay.
During a workshop meeting last night, McKay shared “wonderings” he has encountered in his preparation to start work July 1.
He said they are not intended to be judgmental and stemmed from discussions with staff and community members.
“Many of these things may have good explanations,” he said.
The “wonderings” include the district’s work with Sunnyside United and Inspire.
“What connection is there (to the school district) and is it working?” McKay asked.
He said others referenced what they called a “leadership void” in directors making decisions that impact many.
McKay wondered, based on input he received, whether it was due to previous superintendent Rick Cole needing to spend time with his wife while she battled a cancer.
The disease ultimately claimed her life.
The student health center is also a focal point of some wonderings.
“I had many conversations within the school and other agencies about it,” McKay said. “What is its status? What is going on there?”
Other “wonderings” the district will review include elementary school boundaries and enrollment, as well as the number of out-of-district students enrolled in local schools.
McKay said there is room for improvement in student discipline.
“I heard a little bit of everything and saw things that made me wonder,” he said.
He said consultant contracts also need to be evaluated to “… see if they benefit the district.”
The lack of a home visitor program for non-migrant students also needs to be examined, McKay said.
“Why is there not a liaison to go to the home and provide services?” he asked. “It came about as a surprise that we don’t have it.”
Athletic facilities prompted community input, as well.
“I got a lot of feedback on this one,” McKay said.
“There’s a perception out there that the high school track is horrible.”
School board members agreed with McKay’s “wonderings.”
Commenting through a speaker phone, Board Director Sandra Linde said she has also wondered about many of those same items.
“It’s fabulous,” she said of his comments.
Another director, Michelle Perry, said she has seen those “wonderings’ in her own experience within the district.
“I’ve seen each one at one point or another,” she said.
McKay’s next steps include digging deeper.
“Hopefully, I can get some answers and help provide some direction,” he said.
The “wonderings” were part of the first of a three-phase effort McKay is undertaking to prepare for the 2016-17 school year.
McKay’s phase 2 plans start today and end July 1.
It will focus on continuing observations of the district and interviews within the School District.
From July 1 through the start of the 2016-17 school year, McKay is planning a third phase to focus on community partners.
He plans to visit local agencies such as the Port of Sunnyside and Police Department.
In action last night, the board decided to put a softball four-plex field back out to bid. The low bid reviewed last night was $3.4 million. The board had hoped for a cost under $3 million.
Accordingly, the board agreed to not require gravel under the field to help with water removal. The move is expected to save as much as $900,000.
The board also awarded a $153,003 contract to Bestebreur Bros. Construction for welding revisions at the local YV-Tech campus on Barnard Boulevard.