Re-elect Dale Rice for Vancouver School Board #1

Welcome

Dale Q. Rice and the Vancouver school boards of the past 25 years have provided high levels of support for educators, including teacher training and professional development opportunities, new and renovated facilities, modern technology, innovative programs, community partnerships and more.

This support has resulted in Vancouver Public Schools’ on-time graduation rate increasing to an all-time high as well as higher than expected student achievement given the ever-changing socio-economic profile of the local community.

Our challenge

For many students, poverty remains a significant barrier to learning.

Roughly half of all students in VPS qualify for free or reduced-price meals, 24 percent are from homes where a language other than English is primary, and approximately 800-1,000 experience homelessness in a single year. At some schools, the mobility rate, or percentage of students who don’t finish the year in the same school as where they started, is 40 percent. About 60 percent of all students’ families qualify for Medicaid.

To ensure that all students perform to their full potential under those conditions takes the dedicated and persistent efforts of an entire community.

Our solution

VPS has stepped up to this challenge by creating an “Opportunity Zone” that commits more district and community resources to schools serving the highest concentrations of poverty-affected children. Family-Community Resource Centers (FCRCs) in 18 schools help mobilize non-academic support through partnerships. Two mobile FCRCs serve schools without on-site centers.

Other strategies include specially focused programs to fill educational gaps for students, PBIS training to address student behavior issues and retain students in the system, digital technology in the classrooms (grades 3-12) to increase student engagement, magnets and programs of choices to capitalize on student interests and many other programs to advance student achievement.

Many of these programs have earned VPS national recognition and helped to extend success to other districts. For example, the mobile Family-Community Resource Centers, when introduced, received a National School Boards Association “Grand Prize” Magna Award. No other district in SW Washington has received that honor, ever.

Top 10 Reasons to Retain Dale Q. Rice

  1. The VPS on-time graduation rate has reached an all-time high of 85 percent, and the extended (five-year) graduation rate is projected to reach 89 percent.
  2. According to a recent Stanford University study, VPS provides higher than average educational opportunities and higher student learning rates in a single year than districts with a similar socioeconomic profile.
  3. The VPS board members and district employees are committed to excellence in all roles. Teachers, support staff and administrators are recruited, selected, trained and retained as valued team members with a laser-like focus on helping all students succeed.
  4. VPS offers a wide variety of high-quality choices for students, including Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, Vancouver iTech Preparatory, International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, dual language programs, career-technical education programs and more.
  5. VPS has 13 consecutive years of clean audits and a long history of low-interest bond rates, demonstrating wise use of taxpayer dollars.
  6. Nearly all school facilities in VPS are being rebuilt or renovated, providing future-ready learning environments – an investment of nearly $1 billion since Dale Rice joined the board.
  7. VPS provides every student in grades 3-12 with a digital device to enhance their learning and help ensure that they are well-prepared for their future.
  8. Through hundreds of partnerships, VPS reduces barriers to learning and builds school and neighborhood assets to level the playing field for poverty-impacted children and youth.
  9. VPS has more than 50 years of community support for levy and bond measures.
  10. As a parent of three sons who attended VPS, and as a member of the school board for 29 years, Dale Rice has the experience necessary to lead VPS into the future.

We have more work to do, together, in providing an educational environment that can accommodate all of our students equally well,

With your continued support, we will sustain the VPS tradition of excellence and produce even higher student achievement going forward.


ClarkCountyToday Questions

1.) Do you believe there is a statewide effort, including in the races for positions on the Vancouver School Board, by the WEA to promote and support union leaders to run for positions on area school boards? If so, how do you feel about this? Is it good for the school districts to have union supported individuals on school boards?
Answer:

The clear answer is Yes. You see not just teachers, but union executive board members running for election all over the state. While my opponent is not a union member, she is endorsed by VEA and that calls into question her independence. I am not backed or funded by any union. I would never accept money from them, or accept their endorsement. That would show potential bias to one employee group over another. Approximately half of VSD employees are teachers, the other half need equal attention as well. Favoring one group over another is simply wrong. A board member needs to represent the entire Vancouver School District; the students, the taxpayers and “all” staff members. It takes the whole system to serve our students in the optimal way. Teachers are not the whole story (my wife was one of them), but they are an important part of the story. Teachers still need students transported to them, the students fed, and their classrooms maintained in order to function. A board member should be advocating for all employees equally for fair and competitive wages. No one should be left out. The district spends 85 cents of every dollar on all the people that operate the system. When the district’s budget is exceeded, someone will lose a job to favor those who received the raise. Worse yet is that some services will be lost, class size will increase if teachers go, or support services for students will be lost by cutting programs designed to help students but are unfunded by the legislature. The pie gets divided differently, and some are cut out. This is Not a good way to run a district. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, but it has to be proportional for all to have the whole system be preserved and improved.

Vancouver Union members and Evergreen Union members all belong to the same state Union, WEA. Since the two large districts here in Vancouver are adjacent to each other they compete for the same teaching staff as well as other staff members. In short, if Vancouver teachers get a raise, then Evergreen teachers will soon get a raise with the next bargaining session. Both districts are competing with each other for staffing so salaries often move in a similar direction over time. Having union executives on school boards creates a conflict of interest. It is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.

2.) What is the key issue in your race?
Answer:

It is always about the students and student achievement. Preparing them well for the world after k-12 is the goal.

So, how are we doing? A recent nationwide Stanford University study shows Vancouver students are outperforming many students nationally. Stanford says our students are outperforming other students in the nation of the same socioeconomic group by 14% per year.

See Stanford University.

The key standard for any school system is not the various lower level grade score differences from one year to the next, but the high school graduation rate. Vancouver’s is at an all time high of 85% with its summer extend graduation rate of 89%. So, no matter where our students come from; poverty, newly immigrated or just your average wonderful regular student, we get them up to the State’s high school graduation standards and do it at an on-time basis no matter where they started in their earlier grades.

My opponent offers criticism of the educational system but no solutions. She has no experience with managing a large educational system. She has never managed an educational system with nearly 24,000 students, and 3,000 employees and fought the negative impacts of poverty and immigration in education. There are no overnight solutions when you are educating students from poverty with mobility rates of 40%( students that start the year in school but do not finish the year in school ) in some schools, or dealing with new immigrants that start with little to no English skills. She probably does not know it takes 4 to 6 years to catch these students up to grade level. And, when you test these students before they reach standard they will score poorly on tests. Her criticism focuses on the lower various grade level test scores, not knowing that these kids enter the system at various different grades though out the system and impact those grades adversely, until they are caught up. This is expected and it is being dealt with by our many intervention programs designed especially for these under-performing students. It takes time to bring these student up to standard. Without that time any system will look poor.

However our graduation rate for 2018 was 85%,which is above the state’s graduation rate, which is the only really important standard to meet. Students in the system that are 1 to 2 laps behind take longer to get caught up. Vancouver Schools gets them caught up. That is why our graduation rate of 85% exceeds the state’s average graduation rate, and we do it with more students in poverty and 24% of our students speaking a different language.

3.) Is there an issue you feel has not been covered in your race?
Answer:

Criticism by a politically motivated opponent is hollow without offering solutions. This shows a lack of deep understanding of the complexity within the K-12 education system. Our society has changed over the past many years and Vancouver has changed with it. The new societal composition and its education are not only the challenge in Vancouver but in the state and the nation.

The Vancouver School district is winning this race but it takes time for system modifications which are being provided by the many wonderful, dedicated, hard working employees of the Vancouver School District, and its outstanding supportive community. We have not built this system and received national awards for leading education in the country by accident. Do not let some new critics change the successful path Vancouver Public Schools is on.

I am grateful to the whole Vancouver community for their support, since it is their education system we operate.


ClarkCounty Today: Thoughts from the Candidates

(October 30, 2019, by Ken Vance, excerpt on the conflicts of interest within the WEA)

Dale Rice, incumbent, VSD Position 1: “The clear answer is Yes. You see, not just teachers, but union executive board members running for election all over the state. While my opponent is not a union member, she is endorsed by VEA and that calls into question her independence. I am not backed or funded by any union. I would never accept money from them, or accept their endorsement. That would show potential bias to one employee group over another. Approximately half of VSD employees are teachers, the other half need equal attention as well. Favoring one group over another is simply wrong. A board member needs to represent the entire Vancouver School District; the students, the taxpayers and all staff members. It takes the whole system to serve our students in the optimal way. Teachers are not the whole story (my wife was one of them), but they are an important part of the story. Teachers still need students transported to them, the students fed, and their classrooms maintained in order to function. A board member should be advocating for all employees equally for fair and competitive wages. No one should be left out. The district spends 85 cents of every dollar on all the people that operate the system. When the district’s budget is exceeded, someone will lose a job to favor those who received the raise. Worse yet is that some services will be lost, class size will increase if teachers go, or support services for students will be lost by cutting programs designed to help students but are unfunded by the legislature. The pie gets divided differently, and some are cut out. This is not a good way to run a district. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, but it has to be proportional for all to have the whole system be preserved and improved.

Vancouver Union members and Evergreen Union members all belong to the same state union, the WEA. Since the two large districts here in Vancouver are adjacent to each other, they compete for the same teaching staff as well as other staff members. In short, if Vancouver teachers get a raise, then Evergreen teachers will soon get a raise with the next bargaining session. Both districts are competing with each other for staffing so salaries often move in a similar direction over time. Having union executives on school boards creates a conflict of interest. It is the proverbial fox guarding the hen house.”

“Unfortunately, poverty presents real barriers to learning for many of Vancouver's students. But together, we are creating hope, opportunity, and transforming the students’ lives.”

- Dale Rice

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