Richland School Board to hold special meeting for W. Richland residents Monday

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldNovember 17, 2013 

West Richland residents will have the opportunity to comment on issues in their schools when the Richland School Board meets at Enterprise Middle School on Monday.

The special meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is primarily meant to update interested district residents about progress on projects connected to a $98 million bond, said board Chairman Rick Jansons. However, there will be a question-and-answer period with the board and Superintendent Rick Schulte.

Voters approved the bond in February to pay for a new elementary school in south Richland and a new middle school outside the city center, replacement of three central Richland elementary schools and of part of Jefferson Elementary School, a new heating and cooling system at Chief Joseph Middle School, safety improvements at Fran Rish Stadium and a new building for alternative program Three Rivers HomeLink.

A group of West Richland residents requested the board meet with them and others in September, presenting a petition signed by 265 residents.

Some have said they feel neglected by the district because the two elementary schools in West Richland are over capacity by a combined 85 to 90 students. A few have called on the district to build another elementary school in city limits.

The issue came up again recently when concerns were expressed over the rebuilding of Sacajawea Elementary School in north Richland.

Some people living near the school are upset about how the new school will be located on the property and have said the district should use money to build a new school in West Richland instead of in a neighborhood that currently has a lot of retirees.

District officials and board members have said West Richland residents have valid concerns but the current projects are needed to ease even worse crowding in south Richland and replace failing and inadequate infrastructure in the central Richland schools.

w Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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