Westfield Washington Schools Supt. Sherry Grate comments on referendum approval, next steps

By Anna Skinner

With an 81 percent pass rate for the Westfield Washington Schools referendum, Supt. Dr. Sherry Grate is already making plans for the school district’s next steps.

Steps include addressing the rapid growth within the schools. Grate said the district has hired a national firm for a comprehensive demographic study to prepare for projected student enrollment. A comprehensive facilities study has been completed to plan for maintenance for facilities throughout the district. Another step is discussing grade level configurations to explore use of space.

This was Grate’s first experience with a referendum in a school district she served as superintendent for.

“Not knowing exactly why people might have voted no, I would say perhaps it’s a possibility they weren’t necessarily completely informed or needed more information,” she said of the 19 percent who voted ‘No’ on the Nov. 8 ballot. “Concerns we did hear were about people not in favor in regards to tax increases. While this is a renewal, it is a reduction.”

The referendum renewal reduced the previous seven-year referendum passed in 2010. The referendum renewal lowered the previous 23-cent tax per $100 of assessed property value to 20 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

“Moving forward, we will continue to make sure we are doing as much as we possibly can to communicate not only with family but with all members of the community,” Grate said.

One way Grate plans on addressing all members of the community are five focus groups to be held regarding the future of WWS.

“We want to get these dates out to everyone in the community, not just school people and school family,” she said. “We want to ensure we are heading the voices representing the entire community. The focus groups specifically help us plan for the future of school district’s configurations or expansions or additions or any decisions addressing the rapid pace of growth and enrollment. We hope people will show up and share their thoughts with us.”

Attend a focus group

  • Nov. 28: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Westfield High School, 18250 N. Union St.
  • Nov. 29: 1 to 3 p.m. at Westfield High School, 18250 N. Union St.
  • Nov. 30: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Westfield Middle School, 345 W. Hoover St.
  • Dec. 7: 1 to 3 p.m. at Westfield Middle School, 345 W. Hoover St.
  • Dec. 12: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Westfield Intermediate School, 326 W. Main St.

To RSVP, contact Kim Zachery at zacheryk@wws.k12.in.us.