Two large decisions are on the table for Monday’s Longview School Board meeting: which facilities plan the district should adopt and whether to alter the district’s board spokesman policy.
A special study session to discuss facilities begins at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the district board room at 2715 Lilac St. The board’s regular meeting begins at 7 p.m., where formal adoption of a plan is scheduled, as well as discussion and adoption of board representative roles.
Until this point, the board has been deciding between two overarching facilities plans presented to them by a citizen’s facilities advisory committee. Both put priority on addressing the district’s elementary schools first, and both postpone making a final decision about whether the district will keep two high schools or build one larger one.
The cost of the options range between $50 million and $200 million. Even the smallest of these would be twice as much money as any bond proposal the school district has ever floated.
The difference between the two plans is that either Northlake or Columbia Heights would be replaced, and one of them would be closed. Choosing the plan that closes Northlake would leave the option open to build one big, 2,100 student high school on the Northlake/Mark Morris property.
The board is expected to formally adopt one overarching option during the regular meeting.
The board is also expected to adopt procedure regarding subcommittees and board liaisons. Discussion will also involve the district’s spokesperson policy. In a Feb. 19 editorial, The Daily News asked the board to reconsider a longstanding policy where the president speaks to the media on behalf of all board members, rather than each member representing themselves individually.
In an extended agenda packet, the recommendation from Superintendent Dan Zorn is that the board keep their policy the same.
“The policy represents a long-standing practice and is consistent with the WSSDA model policy and current recommendations by organizations that provide guidance on effective Board governance,” the recommendation reads.
“Expanding the spokesperson duties to all board members could cause inconsistencies in information that could lead to confusion in the community,” the recommendation continued. “It could also lead to the unintentional undermining of the President and/or the Board , which could become counterproductive to the business of the district.”