By Marcy Stamper

The Methow Valley School District has sorted through more than 100 suggestions from staff, families and the community at large about how to spend its money, with ideas ranging from a full-time counselor at the elementary school to a pep band, a world-language program in all grades, and a school nutritionist.

With a limited budget of $7 million, the district cannot afford all the programs and specialized staff it wants, so the superintendent and school board directors are looking for more feedback so they can finalize their list at the end of June.

The administrative team organized the suggestions by theme, creating wish-lists for teaching and learning, a flexible curriculum, and elimination of course and activity fees. Priorities identified thus far also include early-childhood education, family involvement, and programs that will help students become involved citizens in their neighborhood and around the world.

Some investments received the highest-priority rating and are already planned for the upcoming school year, including more staff at the Independent Learning Center, an expansion of the robotics program, and training for playground supervisors.

Almost all suggestions were for new programs, with only 10 recommendations for expenses that could be cut. Some cuts have already been made, based on suggestions from teachers about fees for programs that are no longer needed, said Methow Valley Superintendent Tom Venable.

The aim is to match expenditures with educational goals currently under development—also a result of a community-wide process—so that resources can be allocated accordingly.

Dozens of ideas are posted on the school district’s website at methow.org, and no decisions have been finalized, said Venable. The deadline for feedback is Monday (June 16). People can also provide input by e-mailing tvenable@methow.org.