The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Do your due diligence


February 6, 2020

To The Eagle:

I had the privilege to walk through the front doors of Wahkiakum High School in 1966 and leave through those same doors as a graduate 50 years ago this coming June. The school has undergone very little change since those days. The Mule Cafe (lunchroom) was a side entry and the CTE building did not exist. The main building, aside from a few bandaids, has had no remodeling or major upgrades in nearly 60 years. Well beyond its expected life. My sons both graduated from Wa-Ki-Hi, I worked as a substitute teacher for 15 years and the past four years I have worked as a paraeducator in the Special Ed program, so am intimately familiar with the building. The school now needs its arteries worked on to keep the heart beating. According to the architect/engineering team we can keep that heart beating for another 40 years with the identified upgrades at the elementary and high school.

It’s now your turn as a responsible voter, to spend some at the school(s). Take the tour, visit with the superintendent, Mr. Brent Freeman. He’s available through February 11, give him a call. Many of you have questioned the school board and superintendent’s lack of due diligence.

I have attended a number of meetings and discussed bond issues and questions with Brent. I believe they have done their due diligence and I know I’ve done mine, I ask that as responsible voters you all do your due diligence much like folks such as Howard Brawn and Kim Howell. If you don’t have the time, check out Kim’s post via Facebook, Cathlamet Area News, she offers a great perspective.

One last thought. Mr. Vik asked a good question about why we didn’t just vote in a levy. Well, we could. Currently the school district is collecting on a voter approved Operation and Maintenance levy to cover operating costs not covered by state funding. We could also vote in a two to six year capital levy that can be used to remodel school facilities. We would have to approve a levy for the full amount of the remodel, $35.4 million, because the state does not match any levies. That would amount to a rate of $11-12 per $1000, a “bit” higher than the estimated $3.37 per $1000 now. Or we could lower the rate of the 6-year levy and extend the project out in six year increments and take 18, maybe 24 years to complete at a cost in excess of $45 million. Doesn’t sound prudent to me. Time’s awastin’.

I vote we follow Howard and Kim’s example, do your due diligence and vote yes.

Steve McClain



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