School Board addresses Beaver Valley Property clarification and 6th grade wrestling

    From approving the Cascade jazz band overnight trip to addressing some voiced concerns from Plain residents, the school board had much to cover in the post Thanksgiving holiday school board meeting. Monday, November 26, the board gathered with a larger crowd than usual with guests such as Icicle River Middle School principal, Mike Janski and Cascade athletic director, Dominique Coffin.  
    Janski appeared to update the board on the the community's preteens current progress and achievements with the data dashboard. He presented the students that have passed through Icicle Ridge classrooms progression for math and english and language arts. Beyond the charts and numbers, he also pointed out several aspects of hands on learning and community engagement.
    "We've came up with the idea to increase student achievement through engagement," said Janski.
    Some students are involved in Paper Bridge Challenge and Earthquake Challenge whereas some 7th graders go to engage with local landforms such projects interacting with Ski Hill and Rattlesnake Hill.
    The meeting also touched on several key additions to the Cascade School District athletics. Christy Davies was tacked on to the coaching staff as the Cascade High School JV Girl's basketball coach. And after some initial struggle with finding a girl's basketball coach for the 2018 season and the coaching position hanging in limbo, Coach Dane Lewman agreed to return and the board approved his hire as well.
    "We got fortunate at the last minute when Dane Lewman expressed an interest to come back and coach basketball," said Superintendent Bill Motsenbocker. "We were really at a place where we weren't sure who was going to coach girl's basketball, so that was nice."     
    Cascade High School wasn't the only school with some tweaking to the athletic side of things - Icicle Ridge Middle School will now offer 6th graders the chance to participate in wrestling alongside the 7th and 8th graders. Coffin spoke to the board about the benefits and explanation of the 6th graders being able to have that opportunity.
    "It's something I think would be really good for us. Just to be able to have our 6th graders to be able to wrestle and with the new field house coming in we'll have the space and room for it. Wrestling numbers have kind of been down and this year it's starting to rise up," said Coffin.
    The WIA just passed the new rule and so after being presented the option for IRMS, the board passed this motion and the youngest members of the Icicle River family will be able to participate in this year's (2019) wrestling season. Previously, cross country was the only sport offered to 6th graders.
    There has been some tension surrounding the Beaver Valley property which was covered during the meeting.  "I think everyone's aware that we rejected the two bids that we received from Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue based on the fact that the play field that came from Mike McComas and his board years ago wasn't going to work for them," said Motsenbocker. "It's difficult, if not impossible, for a public entity to take dollars and put it into something that doesn't match their vision or their mission that their supposed to do. So we're going to start over again with that situation."
    The anticipation of the Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue purchasing the land has caused some rifts and a petition and a letter signed by 61 Plain residents. The petition came with various comments that Motsenbocker responded to during the meeting and deflected areas of concern with thorough explanation - aided with the property history references by Mike McComas, former school board member and owner of Leavenworth Electric and Excavation. Such as explaining that the request for the public to vote on the public entity who may own the property is not how the state conducts such business (i.e. Public entities are not required to have referendum when selling public property to another public entity).  
    "So in discussions that the board has had, they've decided that they want to move away from having someone else try to build the play field. We prefer that we develop the play field ourselves so that we can have control over its maintenance and the creation of it. And for our purposes, it would be best to keep that as close to the school as possible," said Motsenbocker.
    McComas also spoke on behalf of a couple that is looking to be a potential buyer for the property as well, but currently out of the country. The couple supposedly has a passion for the students in the community and want to put something forward to benefit the children.
    "They have quite a love for students and they have quite a goal thought process of what they would like to see the Plain property to represent," said McComas.
    Motsenbocker made the point that the primary goal for selling the property was to pay off the debt attached to the Beaver Valley School and property. Carrie Sorensen, Vice Chair on the school board, also reiterated the importance of the property along with caring about what happens with the property.
    "It vastly matters me what the bid is and what is intended to do with that property," said Sorensen. "Now if there's an entity that wants to partner with us, I'm thrilled to look at that option (for the play field). Now if we can also sell a chunk and pay off the debt, and do that to benefit our community and our kids. We do this because we care about the kids and our school district. But I can't tell you what I decide because I don't know what the options are yet."

Other business attended to during the meeting:
    •    Cascade High School jazz band will be traveling to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, February 21-24.   
    •    Approval of Policy 3241 regarding classroom management, discipline and corrective action.
    •    Discussion and approval over the Superintendent search timeline to replace Motsenbocker. The new Superintendent will begin July 1st.

 

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