School FYI

The Legislature raised the threshold for purchases and labor school districts can do on their own without having to seek competitive bids – the first such change since 1994.

Districts can now use in-house labor for building, improvements or repairs estimated to cost $40,000 or less, up from $15,000. Schools also can purchase furniture, supplies or equipment of up to $40,000 without bidding.

Purchases between $40,000 and $75,000 require competitive quotes, while purchases estimated more than $75,000 require bids. That’s up from $50,000.

The formal bid threshold for public works projects was raised from $50,000 to $100,000.

The changes give districts more flexibility on when to use their own expertise or seek bids, a process that takes time and money.

Snohomish officials attend Utah conference

Snohomish School District used more than $25,000 of Initiative 728 funds to pay the way for 21 administrators to attend a conference in Utah.

The Professional Learning Communities Institute talked about how school leaders can create an environment that encourages teachers to work together, build consensus and actively seek the best ways to raise student achievement.

I-728, passed by voters in 2000, gives schools money for school improvement, including professional development. For 2005-06, Snohomish School District plans to spend $371,204, or 14 percent of its allotment, on professional development.

The conference was held June 23-25 in the Salt Lake City area.

All but one principal and all but one assistant principal attended, along with five central office administrators, including Superintendent Bill Mester.

Edmonds School District principals take their posts

New leaders have taken the helms of several schools in the Edmonds district.

Lynne Behrendt was named interim principal at Beverly Elementary School, where she was an administrative intern last year. She previously was a learning support teacher at Maplewood school since 2000.

Behrendt takes over for Tony Byrd, who left after three years to be principal of Cedar Valley Community School. He replaces Gayle Everly, who took a job in Seattle Public Schools.

Shelley Habenicht was chosen principal of College Place Elementary, having served last year as an elementary assistant principal in the Renton School District. She previously taught first and second grades.

Christine Kessler is principal of Sherwood Elementary, replacing Richard Kincaid, who retired. Kessler was an elementary assistant principal in the Seattle School District the previous two years.

Greg Willis is principal of Oak Heights Elementary, replacing Craig Madsen, who retired. Willis was principal of Langley Middle School in the South Whidbey School District for 20 years. Willis also was acting superintendent of that school district for a time.

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