The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

Administrators present yearend plans to School Boards


Last updated 4/26/2018 at Noon

The Lind and Ritzville School Boards participated in discussions involving the end of year plans for the local school districts. During the April 23 meeting, the board members also inquired about moving the Lind-Ritzville High School students from Ritzville to the middle school building in Lind.

LRHS Principal Ronanda Liberty said school administrators are working diligently to create a master schedule for classes next year. In the absence of the school counselor, a counselor team from Othello has agreed to assist the districts in creating the schedule and timeline.

Liberty said as the process progresses, a frequently asked questions (FAQs) list and answers are being compiled. After the majority of the scheduling work has been completed, the FAQs will be available digitally and as a handout as a reference for community members and parents who inquire about the relocation of the students to a different district.

Liberty explained on May 21, high school staff members will travel to Lind to meet with middle school staff. During the meet and greet, and staff members will communicate their needs in the classrooms, as well as work together to see what spaces can be shared by educators and where to locate each teacher’s classroom within the school building.

On June 5, the entire high school student body and staff will travel to Lind to do a practice run at the building. This will allow students to find their classrooms for the upcoming year, as well as find any previously unforeseen problems.

Superintendent Matt Ellis added the entire staff in both districts have been troubleshooting together, and working to create a master schedule that accommodates both middle and high school students needs and classes to help further their education.

Ellis explained the Lind Community Church is also interested in working with the Lind School District in order to provide additional learning space. Ellis said the ability to rent the facilities, which includes a fellowship hall and multiple classrooms, will provide the districts with added flexibility and potential to offer classes at a nearby location.

In the upcoming months, administrators are working to determine the layout of the classrooms, as well as traffic flow decisions, Ellis explained.

There will be a dedicated parking location for high school students, and also a discussion about the possibility of the high school students using a secondary entrance in order to better monitor the students entering the school.

Ellis explained there is also discussion about having two separate lunch periods for middle school and high school students.

He stated there are personnel from the Ritzville School District that will need to transfer to Lind for the upcoming year. Ellis explained a memorandum of understanding is being created for those individuals affected by the move.

Ellis said another priority is creating an exit plan and find ways to move teachers’ classroom materials out of the current building and down to Lind.

During the upcoming school year, the Town of Lind will have a large project, construction of a solar farm, being completed on the outskirts of town near the school.

Ellis said the Town of Lind staff have contacted the school about the use of the tennis courts for a break area for employees, as well as the option to use bathrooms near the football field.

Ellis said compensation or a rental price has not been discussed yet, but he hopes to create an agreement with the contracting company of the solar farm project.

Ritzville School District Board Member Marci Miller stated her uncertainty if the bathrooms and sewer system could handle the increased usage, as well as concerns regarding the potential issues with workers being in close contact with students.

Ellis said he will continue to work with the Town of Lind to determine their needs, and draft a potential agreement for the usage of the tennis courts and potentially the bathroom facilities.

Additional end of year projects are working on completing three audits. The Ritzville School District is having a financial audit, while the Lind School District is working on a food service audit. Both districts also have homeless students audit.

In terms of hiring for the upcoming school year, Ellis said the LRHS principal position deadline to apply is Friday. There are currently three candidates who have applied for the position.

Vacancies also include the superintendent’s position, with a search already underway, as well as high school English, math and Spanish position vacancies. Liberty explained the English position will be the first to fill, and they are planning to conduct interviews within the next week.

In all schools, students will be completing end of year testing during the next month. There are also multiple end of year events planned, including National Substance Prevention Week, law day, spring concerts and graduation/promotion nights.

The school boards also welcomed to new student representatives, who will begin their roles during the summer. Representing the Lind School District is Kierstin Witt, and Katheran Gingrich will represent Ritzville.

Gingrich made the decision to apply as a student representative because she is interested in politics. Witt said she believes it is a great opportunity to serve as a student voice to the school board, as well as be the liaison between the boards and the student body.

Hospital District CEO/CFO Gary Bostrom provided the Community Connection for the meeting. Bostrom provided an update about the East Adams Rural Healthcare facilities, as well as decisions the Board of Commissioners will be making in upcoming meetings.

Bostrom explained EARH is a member of the Columbia Basin Healthcare Association. Through the organization, the primary focus is to improve staffing and show employment opportunities for area students who are looking for employment in the healthcare field.

The District is also a member of the Rural East Adams Coalition for Health (REACH) where Bostrom said they work directly with local school administrators who also serve on the board.

Currently, Bostrom explained there is an individual who is interested in purchasing the former East Adams Care Center facility. The interested buyer hopes to use the facility for assisted living and dementia patient care.

The buyer is currently looking for an architect to review the building facilities, and Bostrom explained the District is asking $800,000 for the property.

There is the possibility the District would need to construct kitchen and laundry facilities if the purchase occurs, as they are still utilizing those services at the EACC property. Bostrom estimated it would cost $250,000 to build a new kitchen in an EARH building.

Bostrom also explained the Commissioners will be discussing the possibility of joining an ACO during their meeting on April 26. He added he believes this could be a great opportunity for the District.

Bostrom encouraged those in attendance to visit if they are interested in learning more about EARH.


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