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CKSD keeping close tabs on I-728 funding and its results

Linda Elman knows exactly where every penny from 2000’s Initiative 728 goes in the Central Kitsap School District. On Wednesday night, she shared her expertise with the school board during its regular meeting.

Elman, who works in CKSD’s curriculum and instruction office, told the school board the funds were designed to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through fourth grade, reduce class sizes in certain grades and subjects in grades K-5, for professional development for educators, for early childhood programs and for improvements to school buildings for class size reduction.

The money is being used for policies both district wide and a specific schools. In all, there is about $3.8 million in the fund, which includes carryover funds from last year.

“What we primarily did in 2000 and 2001 was continue programs we already had in place,” Elman said. The only way to assess if the programs are working is by tracking the Washington Assessment of Student Learning scores, but that information is not always specific enough.

Some scores, however, point to progress. At Olympic High School, for instance, there was a group of students who were identified as needing help with reading. The I-728 money helped fund a reading mentor. In 2003, 70 percent of those students met the WASL writing standard. In 2004, 72 percent of the students met the WASL writing standard.

In addition, of Olympic High School students who received help from a literacy coach, 67 percent met the WASL writing standard in 2003 while 71 percent of them met the standard in 2004.

Progress also has been made in several schools at the elementary level because of I-728 funds, Elman said.

At Jackson Park Elementary School, 17 fourth-graders were identified as needing after-school help. As a result of that help, 87 percent of those students met the WASL reading standard, 60 percent met the writing standard and 53 percent met the math standard after a year of after-school help.

For now, the school district will continue to monitor the programs funded with I-728 money to see if they are effective and will wait to see if the initiative will be funded in the future, Elman said.

In unrelated news, the school board approved about 30 requests for teachers to teach outside of their endorsed subjects.

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