As our community continues to grow, we celebrate that people have discovered our little corner of the world and the vast opportunities it has to offer.
Othello has long been known for its beautiful scenery, welcoming people, close proximity to recreation and high-quality schools. Over the past couple of decades, we’ve welcomed the energy and enthusiasm that arrive along with newcomers who recognize that Othello is a great place to live, work, learn and grow. But our schools are simply bursting at the seams.
The district has been a diligent guardian of our community’s investments, and our buildings have served us well for many years. Now, though, we have a significant need to address overcrowding: The Othello School District schools are at 120 percent capacity and our community’s growth is not slowing.
Over the past year, more than 500 people have participated in community discussions and surveys hosted by the district. The message we’ve received, from newcomers and longtime residents alike, is that it is absolutely imperative that we address the overcrowding in our schools as soon as possible, so we can continue to offer a high-quality education in schools where every student can thrive.
That is why the Othello School Board recently approved a capital bond resolution for the February 2018 ballot. If voters approve this plan, it will enable the district to create room for 700 more students in two brand-new schools — an elementary school for grades K-5 and a middle school for grades 6-8. It also will enable us to increase student capacity at the high school to 1,500 through a renovation project that will make the high school like new. Approval of the bond will also allow us to build a new 1,500-seat auditorium and add additional gym space to accommodate future growth.
Best of all, if approved, these projects will begin offering relief to the overcrowding in Othello’s schools within just a couple of years. We invite you to become involved and remain informed about this important school issue facing our community. Watch for flyers, mailers and notices about informational sessions where you can learn more.
Meanwhile, our staff and community will continue to do what they do best: teaching, caring for and supporting Othello’s students. True to our mission, we dream big, we believe big, and we dare to be big. We are Othello!
Please visit our website (www.othelloschools.org) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/OthelloSchoolDistrict) to see additional information about these proposed projects.
Kenneth “Chris” Hurst Sr. is the superintendent of the Othello School District. Tony Ashton is the vice-president of the Othello School Board.