My wife and I came to Moses Lake in 1962 to teach in the public schools. We could have gone anywhere, but Moses Lake had much to offer. The town was growing and the schools were new. Elementary schools had P.E. and music specialists, librarians and the top beginning salary in the state. We liked it here. This became our home, where we wanted to raise our family.
By the 1990s our schools needed an update. Under the guidance of Ben Edlund, all of our schools were remodeled. We changed junior highs to middle schools and made the high school grades 9-12. In 1996 there were 1,736 students at the high school. Now there are 2,224.
Many parents, students and teachers know the difficulties that this huge enrollment increase caused. Classes are held from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., there are five lunch periods and the hallways are nearly impassible. Everyone saw the need to upgrade our facilities in order to give our children and students the best possible education.
Starting in 2016, the school administration, school board, teachers, parents and citizens met for many months discussing what must be done to provide the best possible education for our kids. After a lengthly process, a proposal was passed by the school board and placed before the citizens of Moses Lake. On Feb. 14, 2017, that proposal to construct a new high school, upgrade the current high school and build an elementary school, passed with a super majority vote of more than 60 percent. In politics that is a land slide victory.
Many people were elated and morale was upbeat at the bright future that lay ahead. The school board directed the school administration to move forward on the proposal. Unfortunately, the result was challenged by a few disgruntled people. The County Superior Court found against the challengers, but they appealed to the next level. While this court action took place, the school district wisely went forward with the plans the voters approved. Then came the school board election this past November. The makeup of the board changed. Elliott Goodrich won by 17 votes, just barely more than 50 percent. He joined with Dr. Stones and Vickey Melcher to change the direction of the board. They repudiated the vote of the people, and it appears that they have their own agenda. It behooves all persons interested in this important matter to contact the school board members and to attend the special “Meet and Greet” meeting January 9 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Columbia Basin Tech on Yonezawa Boulevard. Public comment is also open at the school board meetings on January 11 and 25 at 7 p.m.
I believe the school board needs to follow the desires of the voters. We need to build our much needed facilities. How can we have faith in our school board when they bait and switch? Our youth deserve the best we can give them, and that is a top notch school environment. It would be a shame if the effort of so many people goes down the drain and with it the promise of a bright future for our schools. Don’t let this new school board steal the election.