MLSD board trades harsh words with city, talks school supplies

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake School Board President Elliott Goodrich.

MOSES LAKE — The president of the Moses Lake School District had harsh words for the City of Moses Lake as part of the ongoing dispute over a possible site for the district’s next elementary school.

“My daughter is starting kindergarten, starting at Lakeview Elementary,” Elliott Goodrich said during the regular meeting of the Moses Lake School Board last Thursday. “Lakeview lost its library and computer lab (because of crowding), and we got the school sited to serve that community.”

“The city has decided not to help us in any way, and I am publicly expressing disappointment with that decision,” Goodrich said.

Goodrich was referring to a meeting last Tuesday of the Moses Lake City Council in which MLSD Superintendent Josh Meek came under a great deal of criticism from council members over the proposed location for the district’s next elementary school at the south end of 78-acre parcel at the intersection of Wheeler Road and Road L SE.

Council members said they were concerned that the site, which is zoned residential, is too close to the Moses Lake Municipal Airport.

Meek came under especially harsh criticism from Council Member Daryl Jackson, father of Port of Moses Lake Commissioner Darrin Jackson, who is also the owner of the Jackson Flight Center, a flight school based at the Moses Lake Municipal Airport.

The municipal airport is owned by the city and managed by a board of airport tenants, which includes Darrin Jackson.

Goodrich said the city has an obligation to make sure there are enough schools to hold all of the district’s children, especially if the city continues to promote house and apartment construction — especially on the east side of Moses Lake.

“Kids need schools, and we need schools where kids live,” Goodrich said.

Earlier in the meeting, Board Member Vicki Groff suggested the school board should “be polite when we are talking to the city.”

“I’m not making any promises,” Goodrich responded.

School board members also talked about creating a common supply list for the district, and finding some way of paying for basic supplies like facial tissue and classroom cleaning supplies.

“We are fortunate to be in a community that does a lot of giving in regard to school supplies,” Meek said. “We should partner with them so we can align their efforts to focus on the material on the lists.”

Meek said the district needs to work on a single master list of “essential supplies” for each grade level.

Given that there are families that have a hard time affording the basics like food and clothing, no one should be penalized for not being to fill a school supply list, board members said.

“A child should show up without ancillary things,” Goodrich said. “Clothed and ready to learn should be enough.”

The school board also said it will hold the first of five townhall-style meetings on Monday, September 30, at 6 p.m. at North Elementary School. The meeting will focus on safety and security across the MLSD and will be hosted by Board Member Shannon Hintz — who was named to the school board following the resignation of Eric Stones earlier this year — and Vice President Susan Freeman.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com

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