Tonasket School board hears transport request from Peaceful Valley Christian School

TONASKET – The Tonasket School Board heard a request from the Peaceful Valley Christian School at its Monday, Sept. 10 board meeting, which asked that a pair of students be allowed to utilize the district’s bus transportation.

The students live on Toroda Creek Road, outside of Wauconda. District transportation director Jeff Yeckel was approached by Peaceful Valley Christian School principal Jackie Jager, who asked if the students could be transported to Tonasket, from where her school would arrange transportation.

Tonasket superintendent Paul Turner said that the school could consider the request and that there were RCW statutes in place to cover such a situation.

Turner read through the stipulations outlined in the RCW:

- that the district would not have to alter any bus routes;

- rides would be on a seats available basis;

- the district is required to charge an amount sufficient to reimburse for the cost of transportation.

Yeckel said that the first two stipulations were already met.

One question, Turner, said, was how to figure out the right amount to charge for transportation.

“The average student per year is running about $1,030 per student,” he said. “The other possibility – that seemed like quite a bit — was milage. It was worse, almost $1,800. So there is some discussion on how that works, and I need to get a more formal opinion on that.”

Turner said that there were also some high school basic education requirements that came into play, though those might not apply as Peaceful Valley Christian is only a K-8 school.

“I don’t have a good answer for you at this point,” Turner said. “I need to get some better (legal) interpretation on what this means. I recommend we address it at the next meeting.”

After some discussion, the board agreed that further research was needed before reaching a decision.

The board also approved the resignations of Gretchen Vargas, Migrant Home Visitor; Billy Monroe, assistant tennis coach; and Kim Helleson, RN, who is resigning after 21 years “to become a full-time grandma,” she said in her letter of resignation.

The board approved Jill Wehmeyer to be hired to replace Helleson as the district’s RN, contracted to split hours between the school district and the ESD. They also approved certificated substitutes Ryan Frazier and Aileen Carrero Perez.

Following the meeting, the board convened into a work session to discuss details and prioritization of the capital levy, with final decisions to be made at a subsequent board meeting.

The school board next meets Monday, Sept. 24.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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