Levy, bond packages finalized

Tonasket ASB seeks to curb litter

TONASKET – Final revisions to the Tonasket School District’s bond and levy packages were approved at the Monday, Dec. 16, school board session.

The propositions will appear on a Feb. 11, 2014 ballot for TSD voters to decide, said Superintendent Paul Turner.

The changes to the propositions had been discussed in detail at the previous board meeting; with the packages already approved at that time, this vote merely approved the final written language.

Both packages replace similar funding measures that are expiring in the coming months.

With the bond used to construct the current school buildings in 1997 being retired this month (several months earlier than originally planned), the $6 million for new construction would be used to add four classrooms and office space to the elementary school; replace the Alternative Education building (near the tennis courts) that is nearing the end of its life span; adding four classrooms, laboratory bays and additional flexible space to the middle/high school complex; and add a permanent concession stand and provide funding to address long-term maintenance issues with the outdoor athletic facilities.

The M&O levy will replace the existing similar levy that expires at the end of 2014. Of the $640,000 of the $1.64 million is dedicated to increasing staffing as the district extends its school day about 45 minutes. The district has operated with a shortened day since the mid-1990s and has been attempting to return to the full day for several years; the state has mandated districts meet the full day requirement by the beginning of the next school year.

Other news

Turner said that the district’s negotiations with the Tonasket Teachers Association were completed and the contract approved during the school board session. He also informed the board that he is due to receive his superintendent’s evaluation next month.

ASB School Board Representative Trevor Terris reported that the ASB was trying to get a handle on litter being left around town by high school students. The high school has an open campus, meaning that students often head downtown and back during the lunch hour. Part of that included some clean-up of trash in the area around the Junction. Turner said the kids were surprised to find that a lot of the trash wasn’t from food purchased downtown, but rather brought down from the school.

“They know they need to do a better job with this,” Turner said. “I think it’s cool that the kids have taken it upon themselves to address it and are taking ownership of it.”

Board member Catherine Stangland arranged a meeting of numerous public officials – including the school board, Tonasket City Council, North Valley Hospital Board, local fire district boards, Okanogan County Commissioners, Sen. Brian Dansel, and Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short – to share information on the bond/levy package, discuss the various issues faced by the various entities.

That meeting was held Monday, Dec. 16, and will be covered in next week’s edition of the Gazette-Tribune.