District appoints Susan Holmes to school board

Published on Thu, Sep 25, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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District appoints Susan Holmes to school board

By Jack Kintner

The Blaine school board appointed Birch Bay resident Susan Holmes on Monday to serve out the term of former member Pebble Griffin who resigned last month.

Both are retired professional educators and administrators who have worked in the Blaine school district and are also Birch Bay Village neighbors.

Holmes was the successful applicant out of seven who initially expressed interest, a list that was down to three by Monday’s meeting. The board interviewed Holmes, Bob Moffatt and Cliff Freeman and made their selection in executive session at the close of their regular meeting.

Holmes has worked in public education for 39 years. She was Blaine high school vice-principal from 1993 to 1998, and most recently served as principal of Custer elementary school in the Ferndale school district. She will face election in fall, 2009.

“I am interested in the ways Blaine, already a high-performing district, is working to raise student achievement to even greater levels,” Holmes said. She will be sworn in at the next regular meeting of the board on October 27.

In other matters, superintendent Ron Spanjer told the board that further cuts in expenditures may become necessary this year as projected enrollments may fall below original estimates. “Although right now we’re on target for the number of students we anticipated having,” Spanjer said, “the state pays on the basis of average annual enrollment, and we now think that our projections may be optimistic.”

Spanjer said that the difference between actual versus projected enrollment could be as high as 40 students, or about $200,000 in state income for the district.

Spanjer said it’s normal for Blaine to gradually lose students over the course of a year.

Of the 40 that may be lost to attrition, as many as half seem to have opted for online class work with increasingly popular internet academies.

These sources of online instruction are appealing because of their perceived flexibility, and are accredited by the districts that sponsor them.

Deb Cummings reported on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) results, saying that Blaine middle school has missed its annual yearly progress (AYP) goals for the second year.

Because of that the school has been moved into “improvement” status, something it shares with every other middle school in the county, Cummings said.

The target for the past year was to have nearly 60 percent of middle school students achieve goals in math, but less than 20 percent of Blaine’s special education students met the goal.