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

School board hears election report, other business


February 20, 2020

The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met on Tuesday to discuss the bond and get an update on school business.

The school bond was rejected by 65.62 percent of voters last week. The final tally was 548 for, and 1046 against.

“It wasn’t the result we were hoping for,” Superintendent Brent Freeman said. “I think the clear message was that the price point was high. We knew that.”

“The work doesn’t go away,” he continued. “We’ve reached out to legislators. All three of our legislators have agreed to support some kind of offset along the lines of what South Bend and Toledo have done to get their communities money. There will be a point over the next couple months where we will be going up and settling on what that offset looks like and from there we will come out with another proposal. It’s safe to say we are not going to run in April. It’s safe to say we don’t know when we are going to run. Until we secure funds that are going to make a significant offset, it doesn’t make sense to run.”

“I’m optimistic that we are still going to get it done,” Freeman said. “I’m disappointed that we’re not building this year.”

Don Cox, who teaches history and government at the high school, was at the meeting to tell the board about an overnight trip planned for five students to attend a performance of The New Colossus, a play directed by Tim Robbins, at a theatre in Seattle.

Cox said the play is about the immigrant experience.

“Our hope is that we will be able to illuminate the courage, fortitude, and humor of all refugees and perhaps our own families,” Cox read from some promotional material.

“That’s why I’m doing this,” he added. “My focus for the past few years is what I call connecting students with their personal past. When this opportunity came along, I jumped on it.”

In order to participate in this overnight trip, the five students had to write a one page paper about an immigration experience in their family, or share a story about another person’s immigration experience that they found to be particularly moving. They also had to make a one minute video to be submitted to the Seattle theatre group that was sponsoring the event.

The following day, the students will spend a few hours at Saint Martins University in Lacey.

“Hopefully we can get these five students to see a different side to the world than they normally run into,” Cox said.

Freeman gave a quick update on the FISH Center, which will provide a commercial kitchen for students, as well as a fish processing center for the community. With dry weather, Freeman said, they hope to get the painting and floors completed, and the equipment installed by the end of March. The building and equipment were all paid for by grants.

Talk returned to the need for new scoreboards. One sponsorship of $10,000 has come in, Freeman said, and they are hoping to find more.

Last month, Freeman reported that the district might be able to purchase two new buses after another school district decided not to buy them. The two buses are in Spokane and are almost ready to go. The district wants to take advantage of a state depreciation plan to replace their aging bus fleet, which should save the district money in the long run.

The board adopted a resolution to extend the Transportation Vehicle Fund to $250,000 and another resolution to transfer $205,000 from the General Fund to the Transportation Vehicle Fund in order to purchase the buses.

The board also approved a temporary contract for Jamie Brown, who will teach a 4/5 class at J.A. Wendt Elementary for the remainder of the year. She will replace Shelley Quigley, who recently resigned.


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