School board hears variety of reports
November 19, 2020
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors got a quick update on school business at their November meeting on Tuesday.
Landon Luce, a student at Wahkiakum High School who was elected by the student body to be the executive liaison, will be attending meetings this year. He introduced himself to the board and thanked them for keeping the school open.
“It’s meant a lot to the student body for us all to get to come to school,” Luce said. “It’s been a little tricky for us to adapt, but I think we’ve adapted pretty well to it, especially with the hybrid schedule. I think it’s allowed kids to get that social interaction that we all strive to have, and it has really made a difference, especially coming from quarantine and not having much social interaction at all. I also wanted to touch on how it’s helped a lot of kid’s mental health, which really isn’t something that most would really think about, but having that social interaction and being able to come to school has really affected a lot of kids in a positive way.”
Superintendent Brent Freeman told the board that some trees had fallen on four of the district’s buses over the summer, causing significant damage to one of the older ones. The bus is still structurally sound and will be used for a couple more years before the district moves it out through the state’s bus reimbursement program.
The falling trees presented a different issue, and at some point he said they will need to hire an arborist to address the trees on the campus.
Directors approved the hiring of two new para educators, Kristy Gifford and Savannah Zimmerman.
Paul Ireland, who is in charge of technology at the district, gave an update on the ongoing repairs and upgrades to the IT infrastructure after the primary domain controller failed a couple months ago.
“I would say we are very firmly out of the woods and moving in a very positive direction,” he said.
Freeman said the school’s reader board had been down since September. The part they needed had come in that day, and Ireland was pleased to report that the fix would extend the school’s wireless footprint to the Farm Forest.
Mention of the property across the highway reminded Freeman that someone had poached an elk there over the weekend.
“It would be nice to have a camera to watch kids, to watch traffic over there,” he said, adding that an investigation on the recent incident, which also involved damage to a gate, had been started with the Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Department.
Freeman shared his continuing concerns about the much needed repairs and upgrades around the aging district and the different avenues he was exploring to solve problems and find funding.
“We’re not going to get a bond, we’re not going to get the $13-15 million legislative assist that we thought,” he said. “The state is looking at about a $4.3-4.4 billion deficit, so the legislature is going to be under a lot of pressure to reduce budgets and take money from this, that, and the other.”
He said that Apollo Solutions was returning this week to do an assessment, and spoke of reaching out to the three legislators who will represent Washington’s Legislative District 19 to make sure that they understood the challenges facing WSD.
“Covid is the song of the day, but we can’t lose sight of doing something to the facilities,” Freeman said.
The board discussed the community’s broadband issues before closing the public meeting for an executive session to discuss a personnel evaluation.