ML School Board votes to put property on market

School Board meeting

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Oscar Ochoa, Moses Lake School Board, gives a hug to Moses Lake High School assistant principal James Yonko. Yonko attended the July 28 board meeting to thank the board for its professionalism during an investigation into misconduct charges.

MOSES LAKE — The Moses Lake School District will be selling property at the corner of Stratford and Harris roads.

Moses Lake School Board members voted to declare the property as surplus at the regular meeting Thursday. That’s the first step to selling it.

The 152-acre property was purchased in 2009 for $1.9 million. Board member Vicki Groff said the land was purchased with money from a construction bond, as a location for possible future school construction.

However, the land is outside the urban growth boundary for Moses Lake; state law requires schools to be built inside the UGB. Moses Lake district officials were among those trying to persuade the legislature to change that, but so far without success.

District superintendent Michelle Price said it’s not likely the legislature will change the law anytime soon. She recommended putting the property on the market at the July 14 meeting. The land must be appraised and sold at fair market value, she said. Proceeds from the sale must be used for capital projects, she said, and the district has two years to use the money before it must pay taxes.

Board members have been discussing a construction bond, and among the options is a new, second high school. Price said district officials are looking for land inside the UGB.

In other business, MLHS assistant principal James Yonko attended the meeting to thank the school board members for their professionalism in conducting a misconduct allegation against him. The investigation was closed July 27, with Price issuing a press release that said district officials had found no evidence to support the allegations.

Board members approved a revised policy on chaperones for out-of-district trips. The policy review came at the request of board members.

Field trips will require at least two adults in most cases, and can include parent or non-staff volunteers. Board chair Kevin Donovan said that could mean the district is paying their trip expenses. But, Groff said, the district has done that before.

In most cases there will be both male and female chaperones. Assistant superintendent Josh Meek said some of the changes could have significant impacts at the building level, so administrators will be working with building principals.


Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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