Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Principal Theresa Libby submits resignation effective end of the school year

The Board of Directors for the Wahkiakum School District discussed plans for a greenhouse and accepted Principal Theresa Libby’s resignation at their December meeting on Tuesday.

Libby will finish out the school year as principal for both J.A. Wendt Elementary School and John C. Thomas Middle School. She has worked at the school district for 15 years.

Director Robin Westphall accepted the resignation, but admitted she was reluctant to do so, having worked closely with Libby.

Superintendent Bob Garrett said he would post the vacancy sometime in January.

VoAg teacher Kyle Hurley gave an update on the logging on the farm forest before talk turned to a greenhouse project at the school district. The greenhouse is being funded by a federal Healthy Kids-Healthy Schools grant in the amount of $76,000.

Four thousand dollars has already been used to install two water stations at the school

According to Garrett, this particular grant can only be used to “replenish or repair what you already have.” In other words, the grant would not pay for an all new greenhouse, it would only go towards fixing or improving the structure already in place.

After being awarded the grant, the school district sent the project out to bid. The bids that came in were over $110,000, well over the $72,000 they had to spend, according to Garrett.

Since then, the district has been trying to figure out what to do.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to utilize the grant dollars,” Garrett said, “because they are going to be gone after June 30. We can’t delay too much longer before we get a concrete plan in place that we are gonna go with. And the biggest concern for me is the whole labor cost and how much community help can we get to get it done.”

The district cannot use the staff they have, Garrett said. They have to hire contractors.

They will be brainstorming ways to get the work done, whether they have to hire someone or community members step in to help.

Westphall reminded the board that the grant assigned the greenhouse to the elementary and middle school and that it was to be used to produce fruits and vegetables for children at school in the cafeteria.

Though the school district must meet these guidelines, it will not limit the use of the greenhouse.

After some discussion, the board agreed to move forward with their current plans to purchase the supplies and materials needed to put the structure up, and then go back and order the rest of the items they needed for irrigation or heating.

“We don’t have anywhere to put the supplies and don’t want to leave them out in the weather,” Garrett said.

The directors then approved a resolution to transfer $72,000 from the General Fund to the Capital Projects Fund in order to make payments for the greenhouse. WSD is not being given this money outright. According to the terms of the grant, the district must purchase the materials for the greenhouse and pay contractors for installation before being reimbursed, thus the need for an interfund loan.

“We’ll have the money July, August at the latest,” Garrett said. “We have to pay the interest that the money makes while sitting in the Capital Projects Fund and give the interest back in the General Fund.”

The directors approved the hire of Renea Freeman for a part time, $20 per hour position at the school funded by a federal grant from WorkForce to work with at risk students (an earlier posting of this story incorrectly stated 'WorkSource').

“This is the first year WorkForce has offered the high school itself the money,” Garrett said. “They felt like there would be a greater opportunity at the high school to actually get direct services to the students.”

“She is a great find,” Garrett said of Freeman. “She’s really interested in working with at risk kids. We recommend her highly.”

The directors approved travel for Wahkiakum students in the coming months. The girls basketball team will be taking an overnight trip to Friday Harbor to face the Wolverines on the court in January. Six students will be attending a CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) conference in Washington D.C. during the first week of February and three students plan to attend a 4-H Robotics competition in Victoria, B.C. in mid-February.

Garrett informed the board that an audit of the school district would begin on January 10.

Supplemental contracts for middle school and C squad boys basketball coaches were approved.

The next school board meeting will be held one day earlier than usual, on Monday, January 23, at 5:30 p.m.


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