Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

School board studies building repair financing

The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors met on Monday to continue their discussion about how they might fund improvements to their aging buildings, to hear a summary on the 2020-2021 budget, and honor one of their members who was finishing her term.

They began with public comment. There were only a couple visitors on Monday night, but one encouraged the board to listen to the public.

“People want to be heard, they want to have a voice. If you silence them, if you don’t listen to them, you are going to continue losing students and funding,” she said.

During new business, Superintendent Brent Freeman explained how Apollo Solutions, which the district has been working with as they look for ways to fund improvements to the school facilities, is hoping to conduct an Investment Grade Audit, which will cost no more than $70,506, and will pay contractors to come down and look at how best to turn $19 million worth of needed work into the $5 million grant that the district could potentially be awarded.

“If we don’t get awarded the contract, even if they come down, the language of the contract says we owe nothing,” Freeman said. “They only get their money once this contract is awarded through this grant.”

“We want to show we’ve tried every angle in going forward,” Freeman said.

The directors authorized Freeman to spend up to $70,506.

Freeman also said the district was still waiting for a new school bus with a special lift, which was being held up by supply chain issues, adding that it was possible that the bus may be ready in April.

Business Manager Shelby Garrett gave a summary of the budget for the end of the 2020-2021 school year. She said that the district started the year with a beginning fund balance of a little over $1.4 million, total revenue of $7.6 million, and expenditures of $7,622,000, with an ending fund balance of $1,398,000.

That meant an excess expenditure of $26,000, which was pretty good for a covid-19 year, Garrett said.

The board honored Director Robin Westphall who was ending her term, for her year’s of service.

The board agreed to hold an executive session for a personnel review at 4 p.m. before their regular meeting on December 21. They accepted Sara Tobin’s resignation as a covid testing specialist, and approved Joshua Miller as the new assistant high school wrestling coach.


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