Saturday, February 5, 2011
WALLA WALLA - The Walla Walla School Board is about a month away from knowing what direction to take on a potential bond initiative to improve the district's two high schools.
Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller has been conducting outreach this winter as part of his "Educate, Listen and Plan" campaign. Miller has been to district schools to meet with staff and students, and has also met with community groups.
The meetings have been framed around having a conversation about current facilities needs - specifically, improving Walla Walla High School and Lincoln Alternative High School. Both schools have been identified in recent district studies as the current most pressing facilities needs.
Miller explained to board members Tuesday during a regular meeting that he still has meetings scheduled as part of the campaign.
The board is looking at three likely proposals for a bond - if or when it is put to voters. The public may be asked to support either a small bond, of about $10 million, a moderate bond of $25 million, or a more comprehensive bond of $50 million.
Miller plans to make a recommendation to the board next month. At that time, the board will also learn the results of the Educate, Listen and Plan survey currently online on the district site.
Among the choices the district is facing is whether May is the right time, or too soon, to ask residents to support a bond. Miller also pointed out that if a larger bond is ultimately recommended, seeking it in 2012 would probably make more sense.
In the meantime, the district has been moving forward with the preliminary steps toward improving Wa-Hi and Lincoln.
During its meeting Tuesday, the School Board unanimously chose an architectural firm to develop a conceptual design for the two schools. The district is negotiating a contract with BLRB/USKH, partner firms based in Tacoma and Walla Walla.
On the web
The Educate, Listen and Plan survey is available online at wwps.org.