It is truly an honor to be able to serve the students, families, and communities of Airway Heights, the greater West Plains, and the City of Cheney as the superintendent of Cheney Public Schools.
It is definitely an exciting time in our school district as we wrap up several capital projects, enter the second year of expansion and renovation at our high school, and continue to plan to meet the ever-changing needs of our growing district.
In February of 2017 voters approved a $52,000,000 bond to provide safety and security upgrades, and expansion and renovation at several of our schools. Included in this project was a secure entry way at Salnave Elementary, the addition of seven classrooms and a secure entry at Betz Elementary, the addition of ten classrooms, a gymnasium, parking improvements, and a secure entry at Sunset Elementary, the addition of eight classrooms, a multi-purpose room, secure entry, and parking improvements at Windsor Elementary, and a multi-year expansion and renovation at Cheney High School including the addition of seventeen classrooms (new science and math wing), new metal and wood shop areas, a weight room, wrestling room, auxiliary gym, 500 seat auditorium, commons area expansion, relocation of office spaces to improve security, and expanded and revamped parking, parent drop off, and bus loop.
Initially the district anticipated $2,200,000 in state matching funds for our projects. Following additional planning, it was determined that the district was eligible for $8,200,000 in state matching funds. In addition, the district applied for, and received, a $1,900,000 STEM grant which is providing additional renovations and creating new STEM spaces at Cheney High School. Finally, the district also received a $600,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation which will provide safety improvements to both 6th and 8th streets in Cheney. Overall, our projects from the 2017 bond (including grants and additional state funding) will total approximately $63,000,000.
Safety improvements and the expansion of our facilities is essential as we strive to provide the best possible learning environment for students. When I began as superintendent in July of 2016 we were discussing growth and meeting the needs of our 4,400 students. This fall we are anticipating that enrollment will reach 5,000 students and projections from the final report from Davis Demographics shows significant enrollment increases during the next ten year period. As a district we must continue to analyze the growth in our region and plan for ways to meet the population expansion that is occurring within our communities.
An important aspect of our planning will be the acquisition of property for future school sites. This past year the district began working with a realtor to locate potential areas for future school sites. Currently, we have a purchase and sale agreement in place on an 11.5 acre property in Airway Heights for a future elementary school. In addition, we continue to work on land acquisition for an additional elementary and a future secondary site. In order to do so, the district is running a two-year capital levy in November which, if passed, would provide funding for future school sites, a transportation site, technology upgrades across the district, and upgrades to maintenance fleet vehicles and equipment. The two-year capital levy will be presented to voters for consideration during the upcoming November election.
Our mission in Cheney Public Schools is to guarantee a safe and caring environment where ALL students learn at high levels and succeed with options for post-secondary pursuits. A significant factor in achieving our mission is having safe and secure schools, adequate learning space, a variety of learning opportunities (including CTE and STEM), and up to date technology. Thus, our ability to prepare for the growth of our district and region will be essential as we strive to provide our students with the highest quality education.
In closing, I appreciate the support of our parents, families, and community members. Cheney Public Schools is an excellent place for our students to learn and grow, and it is because of the outstanding support we receive. Thank you!
If you have any questions about any aspect of our school district, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office at 509-559-4502.
For our children, our community, our world, our future ~
Robert W. Roettger
Superintendent, Cheney Public Schools