By Marcy Stamper
After a thorough evaluation of all the facilities at the Methow Valley School District—from buildings to ball fields to buses—the district’s facilities task force is poised to make recommendations about the most important investments to protect existing resources and prepare for students’ needs well into the future.
The 20 volunteers—community members, staff and students—on the task force have put together ideas in eight categories, including safety, ongoing maintenance, and equity, so that all students have what they need to succeed. Ideas include programs that will benefit students’ wide interests and needs, going beyond standard academics.
They are also evaluating needs in terms of fiscal responsibility, to spend economically while planning for the future.
The task force has been trying to balance “big, exciting visible things with things that are really important, but not that exciting,” said task force co-chair Sarah Brooks.
Many ideas stem from a view of the school campus as a community resource in addition to its primary role in educating students, said Brooks.
The task force has also been studying whether it would be more appropriate to present the final recommendations—which will require raising extra money—to the voters as a bond issue or levy request. Bonds are typically used for major capital projects, and levies for shorter-term expenditures, said Methow Valley Superintendent Tom Venable.
Some smaller projects could conceivably be accomplished through a grant or by volunteers, said Brooks.
The task force was expected to make its final selections on Monday (June 9), which will then be forwarded to Venable. After his review and opportunities for the public to provide feedback, Venable will make a recommendation to the school board. The board is expected to decide on what to propose at its June 25 meeting, with the possibility of placing the issue before voters in November.