Tonasket SD prepares to extend school day

TONASKET – The Tonasket School District continues to examine the feasibility of returning the district to a full-length school day for the first time in more than a decade, as Superintendent Paul Turner outlined at the Tuesday, Feb. 27, board meeting.

The final decision won’t be made until the Washington state legislature makes its final funding decisions, particularly in regards to Levy Equalization Act (LEA) funding. If the district receives close to its current LEA funding level of $762,000, Turner was optimistic that the district’s plans to return to a full school day will come to fruition.

“We are moving ahead with planning for next year,” Turner said. “We feel pretty good at this point. From what we know at this point from the state, it looks like LEA will be safe. Of course, there is no guarantee until the last gavel falls. As long as that’s safe we can go ahead and get lined up for next year.”

To accommodate adding about 45 minutes of class time to the school day from its current level, the district would need to add several staff positions in each building. Turner said right now the task is determining exactly what staffing needs there were to be addressed.

“We’re trying to identify a general education staffing number for each building so they can schedule accordingly,” he said. “Then we also need to determine which disciplines are needed in the different buildings above and beyond the basic ed number.

“The principals are working with their staffs to see where the areas of need are.”

Turner said that the district is lined up to attend four job fairs to attract applicants for when a final decision is made.

“Our fingers are crossed,” Turner said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to move forward and do this.”

The Tonasket School Board next meets Monday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m., as the meetings will be moved back to their spring / summer timetable.