This computer rendering shows the front exterior of Yelm Middle School. On the second floor, near the entrance, will be the school’s library and that first floor room will likely host a community room.

The following are actions and discussions by the Yelm Community Schools Board of Directors and district officials during the Thursday, Aug. 22, regular meeting at the district office. 

• Board members unanimously approved the 2019-2020 Yelm Community Schools operating budget. The budget includes an increase of roughly $3.7 million in salary and benefits; a special education funding increase; and $80.67 million in total expenditures. While the budget leaves the district in the red by nearly $1.8 million, Superintendent Brian Wharton and CFO Toni Bernethy expect the number to be less because the district is still wrapping up expenditures from last year. Overall, the school district is budgeting roughly $79.16 million in revenue, $80.67 million in expenditures with an ending budget of $7.53 million. About 82 percent of the district’s general fund is allocated toward salaries and benefits. 

• The board approved the hiring of 11 new individuals, which include teachers, nurses and a new dean of students. Wharton said six Yelm graduates were among the hires at a recent teacher orientation. The board also approved 10 resignations, three changes in staff and 12 waiver requests for teaching out of endorsement. 

• Wells Fargo Home Mortgage donated $2,750 to Prairie Elementary. 

• The board approved the contract of the new facilities complex site improvement project to A-Advanced Septic Services, in the amount of $408,212. The district will install a new facilities complex at Fort Stevens Elementary while the new Yelm Middle School is being built. Facilities Director Chris Hansen said the new building is expected to arrive Sept. 16. 

• The school board directors approved Yelm Middle School schematic designs as presented by BCRA Design and Forma Construction. Project Manager Kasey Wyatt and Principal Director of Preconstruction with Forma Drew Phillips said the project is currently on budget and on schedule. A gopher study with Thurston County is scheduled for Sept. 4 and construction officials will meet with the Nisqually Indian Tribe on Sept. 5. 

• With regards to the Lackamas Elementary rebuild, Wyatt said the district will need to install a 50-foot water tank on the premises to keep compliance with fire codes. 

• Safety and security upgrades are expected to go to bid this January, Wyatt said. Safety upgrades at Yelm High School, Ridgeline Middle School and Mill Pond Elementary will be fully complete by October 2020, with Prairie Elementary and Fort Stevens upgrades being finished August 2020, and Lackamas and McKenna Elementary upgrades finished October 2021. 

• Yelm Community Schools will likely go out for a replacement levy in February of 2020. No action has been taken by the board, but Citizens for Support of Yelm Schools Director Tracie Choate said they plan on forming a campaign to pass a levy. 

• According to projections, Yelm Community Schools is expected to serve around 5,800 pre-kindergarten through high school students on the first day of school. 

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