Richland school bond agreement

Richland school bond agreement »Play Video
RICHLAND, Wash. - Months of fighting to find a way to ease overcrowded classrooms and crumbling buildings in the Richland School District is now done. A raise in taxes is needed to build new facilities. Still, parents and the public have to get behind it.

Parent Amanda Stegen said,"We want a bond that will pass."

Key sticking points involved a plan to close Jefferson Elementary and use it for the Homelink program. That was a deal breaker. Now, that won't happen.

"We had a lot of good conversations with the board and the board listened." Amanda said.

Now all sides say they've reached a decision they can all get behind.

Jefferson would stay open as a kindergarten through 5th grade school. The oldest wing of the building, built in 1953 will be demolished and replaced.

The Homelink program will also get a new facility. It's just not clear where. One option would add it onto Jefferson to save money.

Marcus Whitman, Lewis and Clark and Sacajawea would all be replaced with larger buildings.

While the future of the elementary school campuses in the district took center stage there were a lot of other smaller ticket items that couldn't be overlooked.

Safety renovations for Fran Rish Stadium at Richland high.
Also, replacement of the heating and cooling system at Chief Joe Middle school.

Students evacuated from Chief Joe last week when smoke filled the vents. This work would also get done.

School board president, Rick Jansons said, "Democracy is messy sometimes. We ended up with a great result. This is democracy in action and we're better for it."

Now that both sides met in the middle getting the measure passed is their next fight.

Amanda said, "There's a committee that's actually working to market this bond and we're now getting on board with them, to work together as a team."

All this money for the future of Richland schools now to be decided at the ballot box.

The final ballot language is now being reviewed with the district's attorney. The board will officially approve the resolution next week.

Voters will make their decision on the bond issue in February.