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BSD Superintendent Lester ‘Flip’ Herndon meets the public — again
With communication at the top of his to-do list, Bremerton School District Superintendent Lester “Flip” Herndon held his second public forum in as many months Tuesday night.
Special guest, 23rd District state Rep. Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) also spoke at the meeting in the library of Mountain View Middle School.
“This is just another opportunity, another venue, for people to have the ability to engage in some conversation,” Herndon said.
The first question fielded by Herndon was on the subject of the school’s budget and the idea an additional $1.2 million would need to be cut from that budget.
“Another $1.2 million?” Herndon asked. “Well, I have not heard that, so I don’t know where that’s coming from.”
Herndon did acknowledge there could be trouble ahead if the state alters its own budget and cuts funding to schools, but he said cuts to K-12 are normally kept to a minimum.
However, Herndon said with stimulus funds being depleted and student enrollment still being relatively low, funding is a big issue for BSD.
“We still need to improve,” he said. “We’re still under ‘No Child Left Behind.’ We still have schools who have not met adequate yearly progress. So those are some of the realities we are facing.”
Rolfes offered those in attendance a bit of an explanation on the state’s budget to help put things into perspective.
“The governor is doing a supplemental budget,” she said. “So she’s doing a budget that should be released in early December that cuts another $2 billion from the state budget.”
After talking about the budget, a parent of MVMS students asked Herndon about the possibility of tutoring programs for BSD students, especially those at MVMS.
“Middle school is a transition time,” Herndon said. “It is such a niche time. I taught middle school and was a middle school administrator for a couple years, and the changes that kids go through are phenomenal. They come in as little sixth-graders and they can leave as really big eighth-graders.”
Herndon said while middle school is important, he wants to institute programs for all grade levels to give students the chance to achieve whatever it is they want to, even beyond high school.
“I feel my job is to take a look at this entire spectrum,” Herndon said. “I am talking about preschool up through whatever they want to do and beyond that.”
He deferred to some of the teachers and staff present to talk about the programs currently available, including the College Bound Scholarship, a program for low-income seventh- and eighth-graders to get their college tuition paid.
“We need to explore more community partnerships to offer more opportunities for our students,” Herndon said.