Tonasket School District capital levy likely to be delayed

TONASKET – Plans to run a capital levy for Tonasket School District’s facility needs will likely be delayed after a facility tour with an architect revealed issues that needed to be considered, said TSD superintendent Paul Turner at the Monday, Sept. 24, school board meeting.

Turner said he took an an architect from Architects West on a tour of the facility and said a number of things were brought to light.

“One thing he’s pushing, and that we’ve already filed for, is a survey process with OSPI,” Turner said. “It goes through the architect on issues with usability, feasibility, space allocation and so forth. It will also bring in some funds to help pay the architect.”

Turner said there were discrepancies with the square footage that OSPI had listed for the TSD facility, and that the survey would clean that up.

Also, he said, the architect had some different ideas on how to address the need for additional classrooms.

“I’ve been talking about needing new rooms,” Turner said. “He’s looking through an ‘outside lens’ and is looking at us not needing (to build) new rooms, as much as reallocating space and changing walls in our existing buildings.”

These processes, Turner said, will make it hard to have everything ready for a capital levy to be run in the spring.

“It’s obvious that this spring is probably not going to happen,” he said. “We’ll need to go into the summer or later. There’s a number of things we need to look at …. (including revisiting) whether or not to look into a bond to do it all at once.”

Also on the docket

A request was made by a parent to allow her child to enter kindergarten early, as her child missed the age cut-off by about one month.

The request had been previously denied by Turner and TES principal Jeremy Clark. The parent asked if, based on academic, social and economic factors, her child could be reassessed for readiness, and said that she had received conflicting information from the district at different stages of her process of attempting to get her child admitted.

The after some discussion, the board decided that the details needed to be handled in executive session after the primary meeting.

“The Board supported the administration’s decision,” Turner said on Monday. “They determined that we followed protocol (by not admitting the student.)”

A request submitted to the board at its Sept. 10 meeting to provide bus transportation for two private school students was approved, with Turner granted authority to work out the final details.

By law, the district may provide transportation to private school students if it doesn’t require any change in bus routes, if there are enough seats on the bus, and if the district is recompensed for its expenses by the party being transported.

Turner said he contacted OSPI to determine the proper method of calculating what the district should charge.

“We need to charge by an average per student basis,” Turner said. “That works out to $1,050 per student per year, and since they have two students that would be about $2,100.”

That amount would be pro-rated to exclude the portion of the year that has already occurred. Students would be brought to the Tonasket School District, with Peaceful Valley Christian School to be responsible for meeting the students and further transporting them.

Board member Ernesto Cerrillo said that he’d been asked by a community member why the school would charge for transportation when it is already paid for by residents’ taxes.

“We get allocated money for transportation on a per student basis,” Turner said. “Our funds are generated by the actual number of students that attend school.”

“Also, the law says that they have to pay for it,” said board member Catherine Stangland. “It’s as simple as that.”

New ASB representative Megan Beyers delivered a report on student activities during the first weeks of the year, highlighted by the FFA’s second place finish in horse judging and its submission of a restored Case tractor in to a national contest. FBLA, FCCLA, T-Club and other organizations have been busy selecting their officers for the year, Beyers said.

Likewise, high school principal Jeff Hardesty, middle school principal Jay Tyus and elementary school principal Jeremy Clark reported on staff activities, training, and data evaluation that has taken place over the first month.

The board, after a brief executive session, approved the hiring of Stephanie Bradley as a bus driver; Chad Portwood as assistant cross country coach; Robby Monroe as high school C squad volleyball coach; Pam Leslie as middle school C squad volleyball coach; Glenn Braman as seventh grade boys basketball coach; Jay Aitcheson as seventh grade track coach; and Jamie Barker as eighth grade track coach.

Other actions included the approval of a supplemental contract for music instructor Mary Liz Romano and an overnight field trip request by ESL instructor Tyler Graves.

The board also moved its regularly scheduled Oct. 22 meeting to Oct. 29 and officially canceled what would have been a regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 24, while scheduling a bill-paying session for Dec. 21.

The Tonasket School Board next meets on Monday, Oct. 8.

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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