Category Archives: Delanie Meisner

Something Doesn’t Add Up… KSD Budget Cuts Affect After School Buses, Tutoring Availability, and Hiring for Next Year

by Delanie Meisner – Editor-in-Chief

As a consequence of underestimated revenues, overestimated expenditures, and other ‘converging factors’ over the past few years, on April 7, Kent School District instituted an immediate spending and hiring freeze for the rest of the 2016-2017 school year in order to reverse the proclaimed ‘budget crisis’.
Here, department budgets not only were reduced, but then frozen as curricular leaders tried to spend the rest of this years’ monies on supplies. In order to spend the rest of the money, leaders must justify how the money will be spent on student learning.
Not only were the department budgets frozen, decisions were made regarding programs the school offers. The activities buses that run on both Wednesdays and Thursdays have been reduced to Thursdays only. Curricular leaders and administration wanted to continue the Thursday activity bus so that students can still get extra help after school, clubs can continue to operate, and students can ride the bus after serving detention.
Teachers were also cautioned against food being thrown away in classrooms because the school is running out of garbage liners and will not be able to purchase more this year.
For a budget to work properly, expenses and income must match. There must be a comparable amount of money entering and exiting the district. However, this is not the case of the KSD budget. Mike Newman, KSD Chief Business Officer said, “Simply put, over the past several years, we’ve experienced a decreasing fund balance due to higher costs and lower revenues than previously predicted.”
According to the KSD website, approximately 40% of the budget shortfall is accredited to an overestimation of student enrollment. It said, “Like all school districts, KSD has to predict future class sizes using standard population forecasting – new building permits, housing starts, and new apartment construction. However, some of those projects predicted for the KSD service area did not materialize. In addition, there was an increase in the number of students participating in Running Start as well as a new local charter school. That combination reduced actual enrollment by some 500 students from earlier predictions.“
The district also puts partial blame on the State for some of the problems. It said, “Action by the Legislature to fully fund basic education (McCleary) would have assisted in providing the resources for the compensation increases.” Additionally, the district said, “Had the legislature replaced the “ghost dollars” (I-728, I-732, and the K-4 Enhancement) with real resources, those would have equated to over $35 million for students in the Kent School District.”
This 2016-2017 school year, the materials, supplies, and operating cost budget was cut by 20%. These actions were supposed to help the district to get back on track fiscally. On some levels, this worked, but according to the graphs provided by the district, there could still be a $10-20 million deficit if spending were to continue as usual.
Due to this potential deficit, the spending and hiring freeze was enacted. The spending freeze entails that, “Any materials, supplies, textbooks, and software that is not essential to completing this school year, will not be purchased. We are also placing a temporary stop on all overtime, extra hours, and special projects, much of our professional development that’s planned, as well as out of district travel not already approved.” Newman said.
All essential services such as transportation, food and nutrition, mandatory testing, and repairs will continue to be funded.
The hiring freeze means that for the rest of the 16-17 school year, all open positions will not be filled. All open positons will be up for review next year to determine necessity. As of right now, there are no plans to reduce the workforce, so no one will be laid off this coming school year. However, if the budget problems persist, a reduction in force will be considered in future years.
As a result of the budget deficits, students can expect to be in classes that are at full capacity. “In 2017-18, classes will be larger and more classes will be in overload–although no classes will be over the negotiated class size cap. In addition, in some smaller elementary schools, to best utilize human resources with reduced numbers of students, HR allocated for split classes in certain grades.”

Mr. Kentlake

Written, designed, and compiled by Delanie Meisner – Editor-in-Chief and Feature Editor

Photos by Lauren Killgrove and Nicholas Runyon.

 

Nik Hendrickson

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

I did it because there wasn’t enough people at the time, and I did it so we’d have enough money for prom and the prices wouldn’t be so high.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I think anybody can do it, really. If they want to do it, why not?

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

Why I think I should be crowned? I’m just hoping I can get enough people to like me as much as the others, if not more.

What is your strategy for winning?

Strategy? Trying to get the crowd to laugh and get them involved.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

It’s just something I’ve been teaching myself over the past few days, and I’m just trying to perfect it.

How would you celebrate?

I’ll obviously be excited, but I’ll probably just have family and stuff with me, or friends.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

It hasn’t been that hard. The hardest part has been like, just figuring out what I’m going to do and what I need to get for it.

Aaron Byrd

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

Not a lot of guys were doing it and I just kind of thought it was a fun way to, I don’t know, it’s just kind of a tradition.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I mean, I’m a senior, so that automatically qualifies me. So, I mean, I don’t know.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

I’m not going to say I should be crowned Mr. Kentlake, but I think my act is pretty fire.

What is your strategy for winning?

Make as much of an ass of myself as possible.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

I’ll be wearing a dress.

How would you celebrate?

I don’t know. Probably just go home.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

Well, the snow-pocalypse kind of ruined everyone’s plans for anything and now we’re trying to scramble and get everything all ready.

Brandon Jessup

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

‘Cause it was fun.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

‘Cause I’m super cool.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

‘Cause I’m super cool.

What is your strategy for winning?

I’ll just go up there and be like, ‘Okay guys, I’m the coolest guy up here, just vote for me.’ And everyone will just vote.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

I might possibly die, but it will be great. It will be huge. It’ll be tremendous.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

Annoying.

Chris Moore

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

It’s senior, and why not do something to make people laugh?

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I’m a funny guy who thinks he can make it as Mr. Kentlake.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

I’m doing it more not to be crowned, but just to make people laugh. So if I lose, I lose. If I win, I win.

What is your strategy for winning?

Make everybody laugh as hard as they can.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

I’ll bring the good old country-boy charm.

How would you celebrate?

Go have a bonfire.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

Listening to the songs that I want to be in my act, and then making sure I have all the costumes ready.

Niklas Henning

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

I decided because I kind of wanted to push myself, step out of my comfort zone.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I think I have a right attitude towards it, just have fun and stuff. And also that, I’m just there to have fun and also have some unique talents.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

I don’t know if I should specifically be crowned anything. I think everyone that’s competing in Mr. Kentlake is actually good, so I think whoever ends up going to kind of deserves it.

What is your strategy for winning?

Just to have fun.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

I think it’s pretty much all secret, though, some of my friends know what I’m doing. But other than that…

How would you celebrate?

With other people.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

It’s actually been pretty fun as a group. We started a group chat, just out there practicing and stuff like that. It’s pretty fun.

Alec Johnson

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

I decided to compete for Mr. Kentlake because not a lot of sophomores do and I just thought that I would have a good time and just make fun of myself all the time.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I think I bring some comedy to the table, I am all right at singing, I think I am a good singer, and I enjoy going out there and making a scene and making a big production.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

Because I’m a really funny guy, and I think I’ll show my heart out at Mr. Kentlake.

What is your strategy for winning?

My strategy is just to make the biggest fool of myself and go as hard as I can.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

It’s all secret.

How would you celebrate?

I would probably invite all the contestants to my house and have a big dinner or party or something.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

It’s been really stressful because I don’t know if what I’m going to do is funny, so I keep constantly thinking, ‘is this going to be funny with people? Is this going to be okay?’ And stuff like that. It’s been kind of stressful trying to figure everything out like that.

Kyle Combs

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Why did you decide to compete for Mr. Kentlake?

It was my senior year and last year it was really fun.

What makes you eligible to be Mr. Kentlake?

I think I am outgoing and a fun, funny person.

Why do you think you should be crowned Mr. Kentlake?

I don’t know. Because it would be a great honor and I would appreciate it.

What is your strategy for winning?

Make myself look goofy.

Can you reveal anything special about your act?

The fashion show, that’s going to be pretty funny.

How would you celebrate?

I would probably go out to dinner with my friends.

What has preparing for your competition been like?

Practices two times a week and trying to come up with new ideas. Yeah, Its been really fun, I enjoy hanging out with all the guys, and its great company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Series of Unfortunate Events” Bold Premier Flops

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by Delanie Meisner – Editor-in-Chief

The phrase “when something isn’t broken, don’t fix it” is advice that the writers of the Netflix rendition of A Series of Unfortunate Events clearly did not listen to.
The 13 book series, cherished as a childhood favorite by many, is dark, somewhat demented, and a reminder as to why Child Protective Services exist, while the Netflix’s version is bright, strangely optimistic and at best, cartoony.
The basic story thankfully stayed somewhat the same. (Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire’s parents die in a mysterious fire, their banker hands them over to a strange man who tries to kill them multiple times.) Each book is split into two episodes, and the first season covers the first four books Somehow, though, the Netflix series managed to make the whole situation seem less dangerous and psychotic. Sets in the series were bright and not nearly dark, dingy, or dirty enough to accurately portray the imagery from the original books.
Possibly one of the worst parts of the series is Patrick Warburton, most notably recognized for his role as Ken, (the man who is dumped for a bee in the classic film “The Bee Movie”). Warburton, looks like a knock off Jon Hamm, and sounds like every voiceover on a commercial. He is more like a used car sales man that the tortured, secret society member, Lemony Snicket described in the books.
While Neal Patrick Harris did not necessarily play Count Olaf exactly as written, he brought something new to the role. Adopting strange accents, whimsical clothing, and a constantly annoyed attitude, Harris made Count Olaf seem threating and harmless in the same stroke.
All in all, the show was a miss for those who enjoyed the book series. Those who haven’t yet read the series and just watch the Netflix series, will most likely enjoy the series though. Honestly, the only enjoyable part of the series for those who have read the books is Neal Patrick Harris in a dress and butt padding.

Dress code changes take modern standards into consideration

by Delanie Meisner Editor-in-Chief

Good news girls, you don’t have to wear Bermuda shorts to be in dress code. Your shorts now don’t have to be past your fingertips when you put your hands on your sides. Now you get to put your hands on the top of or behind your thighs. This does give a bit of leeway and deems more fashionable choices to be appropriate.

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Also, pertaining to the leg area, skirts can now be a dollar bill (6.14 inches) above the top of your knee. On average this actually permits shorter skirts and dresses than in the past. IMG_2532
Another change to the dress code was the hat rule. Students are now able to wear hats in the halls and in classrooms at the teacher’s discretion.

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Last but not least, ladies, gentlemen, and every gender on the spectrum, the dress code no longer singles anyone out. The dresses and shorts rule used to specifically use the word “her” to describe the individual whose shorts had to be past their fingertips. But now the language is gender neutral and encompasses all students, not just females.
While these changes are a big leap in this area, the dress code has only changed slightly. There is still the idea that showing a bra strap, or dare say a glimpse of upper thigh, is a learning distraction. This is an incredibly harmful complex of “change so that you don’t distract” that insinuates one person’s education is of more importance than the other. As far as school dress codes go, this amount of freedom is virtually unheard of. Most public school dress codes require skirts, dresses, and shorts to fall below the knee and are full of sexist language. Thanks to Mrs. Pizzalato, for recognizing that there was room for change in the dress code and taking initiative, we might not have to sweat our butts off come springtime.