Unmasking the Truth

Demystifying Spokane Valley School Board Realities

The CVSD Kids First Team is here to clear up some myths…

Myth:

These Board members don’t have anything new to offer.

REALITY:

The Board hired Dr. John Parker as Superintendent who has instituted:

    • “I, You, We Belong” initiative
    • New alignment of District Leadership into three Learning communities
    • Emphasis on adherence to adopted curriculum

Together with the community, parents, staff and students the Board has developed a new strategic plan “Fast Forward CVSD” for 2023-2028)

The Board adopted:

    • Districtwide safety plan
    • New Math curriculum

These new programs have been initiated under the Board’s leadership:

      • Student and Family Engagement Center
      • Spokane Valley Tech
      • Spokane Valley Virtual Learning Center
      • JROTC 
      • Culinary Arts
      • BioMed Classes
      • Fire/EMT Courses

    The newly adopted Strategic Plan includes a specific task to review and update the course offerings at the high schools.

    Myth:

    The District teaches explicit sex education to all our students.

    REALITY:

      • CVSD has not, does not now, and does not intend to provide sex ed in grades K-3
      • Washington State mandates sex ed in grades 4-12
      • The Board adopted a very conservative sex-ed curriculum
      • The curriculum is science-based and age-appropriate
      • The district provides a time when every parent/guardian can preview the curriculum before it is presented to the students
      • Any family can opt their students out of any part of or all of the sex ed (less than 450 students of the 14,200 enrolled opted out in 2023)

    Myth:

    The District is in dire financial circumstances.

    REALITY:

      • The District saw the end of the COVID relief funds from the federal government
      • The District saw a reduction of State Local Effort Assistance funds of $ 5,000,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23
      • Discretionary spending for 2022-23 was strictly controlled, resulting in savings of almost $4 million
      • As a result of successful legislative work and lobbying the district has obtained additional funding for the coming year.
      • The 2023-24 budget will provide an ending fund balance of 3.8% after all expenses are paid
      • The District hired a veteran Finance Director in June 2023.
      • A review by ESD 101 found CVSD budget plan to be sound and appropriate

    Myth:

    The District had to borrow five million dollars from the bank to pay its bills.

    REALITY:

      • The Board authorized a five million dollar interfund loan from the District’s capital projects fund to the general fund
      • The loan will be repaid to the capital projects fund, with interest, by the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year
      • The District does not receive its funding from the State or from local taxes in even monthly payments
      • The loan was used to cover cash flow needs during months where the District funding was low
      • At the end of the 2022-23 fiscal year, the ending fund balance will be 3.8%
      • By the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year, after all expenses are paid and the loan (with interest) is repaid, the District will have a 4.17% ending fund balance, rising to 6+% thereafter

    Myth:

    Keith, Debbie and Cindy sued Rob Linebarger for exercising his 1st Amendment right to petition the government, costing him more than $250,000.

    REALITY:

      • Mr. Linebarger sued for the recall of these three board members

      • The Judge determined that the lawsuit was “intentionally frivolous,” “for the improper purpose of bullying the Board Members,” “for the improper purpose of assisting the election of another school board candidate,” “not well-grounded in fact and not warranted by existing law,” and was “in bad faith.”

      • The Judge assessed Mr. Linebarger and his attorneys $30,000 in sanctions for misuse of the Courts, ordering Mr. Linebarger to pay $22,500. Mr. Linebarger has appealed.

      • The District spent more than $200,000 defending Keith, Debbie, and Cindy in this intentionally frivolous lawsuit. 

    Myth:

    There is no transparency in the Board’s work.

    REALITY:

    The Board and Superintendent are open and transparent in all their work:

        • Board Meetings are live-streamed and recorded and posted
        • 2022 Telephone Survey rated the District  A (47%) or B (41.4%)
        • In 2022-2023, Over 70 community events held/attended by school board and Superintendent with approximately 1000 attendees 
        • In 2022-2023 Board held 6 Community Conversation/Listen Tour evenings
        • Community Information Forums 
          • Three in 22-23 school year
          • Two scheduled (September and October 23)
        • Resumed publication of the CVSD LINK 

    Myth:

    Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) is indoctrination of our children.

    REALITY:

    Social/Emotional Learning is necessary so that students are ready to learn  

        • CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, defines Social/Emotional Learning as the process for children and adults to “understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.”
        • SEL is not new in schools, it has always been present to guide students behavior to maximize student learning

    Myth:

    The Board is not transparent in explaining the District’s Budget.

    REALITY:

     The District Budget is much more complicated than a household budget

      • The District puts together a budget that is several hundred pages, to meet state and federal accounting requirements to account for every dollar it receives and spends
      • The District annually publishes a summary of the budget on its website, which highlights the sources of revenue and the major categories of expenditures
      • The Staff has made several presentations to the community at recent Board meetings, explaining the budget, the District’s financial resources, and necessary expenditures
      • The District has held two budget hearings, on July 24 and August 14, 2023, and no one has testified at either hearing or asked any questions of the Board during public comment
      • The District is required to have a balanced budget, reviewed by the Educational Services District, and adopted before August 31, 2023.  The District will meet those requirements