The Edmonds School Board Monday night welcomed a new group of high school student advisors and honored school nurses who recently received their National Board Certification.
Board members – down to four members with Gary Noble absent — also had an opportunity to involve the newly-sworn-in student advisors in a robust discussion about whether to change the way the school district describes synthetic turf when referring to the future replacement of the district’s athletic fields.
The district’s current use of recycled tire crumb rubber infill in its athletic fields has been a hot-button topic since last spring. That’s when parents of students attending the Edmonds Heights K-12 school on the Woodway Campus – as well as nearby community members – expressed concerns about possible health and environmental effects of the crumb rubber infill, which contains carcinogens, being installed as part of a multi-use sports complex next to the school.
Board member April Nowak, who was the lone dissenter in the board vote last May to approve the field installation, http://myedmondsnews.com/2015/05/protest-against-crumb-rubber-turf-fields-fails-to-sway-school-board/, presented a proposal at Monday’s meeting to change the term “synthetic turf” to “all-weather field” when describing future replacement of the district’s athletic fields.
Nowak’s idea was raised during the board’s agenda item to authorize a preliminary budget of $100,000 for the synthetic turf replacement at Meadowdale High School. The project that had been identified in the district’s 2014 Capital Construction Bond and had been approved by district voters in February 2014.
Nowak moved to amend the motion to change “synthetic turf replacement” to read “all-weather field replacement,” which was seconded by Board member Kory DeMun. Calling the use of the term synthetic turf “a lightning rod” for those parents opposed to the tire crumb rubber, Nowak said that changing the terminology would let the public know that the district was opening to considering new data about turf infill options as it becomes available. “We’re not locking ourselves into, ‘we’re always going to use turf, we not going to use anything else but crumb rubber, we’ve already made up our mind,’” she said.
Board President Diana White said she was opposed to the wording change, pointing out that the district is “always going to be responsive to looking at all these new things and we have been. We’ve looked at four different options on the turf infill and we’ll continue to do it and we know people are watching.”
When the vote was taken, Nowak’s amendment received support from DeMun but was opposed by White and Board member Ann McMurray, and due to the tie vote the amendment did not move forward.
At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, White conducted a swearing-in ceremony for the district’s new student advisors. They are:
Grace Mwangi, Lynnwood High School
Taylor Shoemake, Edmonds Woodway High School
Caitlin Yanos, Edmonds Woodway High School
Paxtyn Merten, Mountlake Terrace High School
Danielle Strohl, Mountlake Terrace High School
Alicia Verzola, Scriber Lake High School
Addy Davies, Meadowdale High School
Max Chase, eLearning
Nobu Goto, eLearning
And the district also recognized district nurses Leslie Buter and Cindy Goergen for achieving National Board Certification through the National Board for Certification of School Nurses. Only three district nurses have achieved Board Certification.
In addition, the board held the first of two readings to place a Replacement Technology/Capital Levy on the ballot in February 2016. The four year, $58 million measure will replace the 2012 voter-approved measure that is expiring in 2016. It will increase current levels of classroom technology for instruction and student learning, including the rollout of 1:1 Chromebooks for grades 3-12.
They also approved:
– $200,000 to replace the heating and ventilation system and $200,000 for window and door replacement at Mountlake Terrace High School.
– A $100,000 project and preliminary budget for roof replacement at Martha Lake Elementary.
– $200,000 for roof replacement at the Woodway Campus, which will be completed in summer 2017.
– The project and preliminary budget for the pavement rehabilitation project at Beverly Elementary, College Place Elementary and College Place Middle Schools, with construction to take place next summer.
In addition, the board voted to OK an agreement with Edmonds Community College for data-sharing purposes. According to the board agenda, the district and college will use the data to develop, implement, and assess interventions to improve instruction, advising, and student services. The idea is to track performance and improve success from secondary school through college completion. Both entities will comply with federal privacy laws to ensure the confidentiality of student records and information.
“I think it’s amazing that we’re doing this,” said School Board President Diana White, who noted that one-third of Edmonds School District graduates attend Edmonds Community College. “It’s great to build that partnership and this is the kind of thing that helps.”
The board also heard from an Edmonds-Woodway High School parent who expressed concerns about safety of the high school’s tennis courts, stating that they are in urgent need of maintenance.
The tennis coach at Shorewood High School stated he didn’t want his athletes playing on the courts because they are so dangerous, the parent said. Superintendent Nick Brossoit promised to address the issue immediately with District Athletic Director Julie Stroncek.